In less than 24 hours, my "kid" brother, his significant other, and their combined five children arrive in Germany for a 2-week visit. I'm very excited to see them all and to welcome them to my new home and my new country.
But as I've been cleaning the house, shopping, planning day trips in the region, and otherwise preparing for their stay, I find myself wondering what my brother will think of my life here. What differences will he notice; what rituals will he find odd? How will he judge me and my life compared to what he used to know?
I suspect he'll find the scale of many things here - including our house and yard, to be much smaller than he expects.
Will he notice that none of the windows or doors have insect screens?
I expect my brother might be startled when we're sitting around the
living room in the evening and electric shutters over all the
windows roll down automatically and entomb us in secure darkness :)
Will he wonder why there are two buttons above the toilet for flushing (will he ask what's the difference between them)?
Will he be surprised that the towels, which we hang dry after washing, instead of using an electric dryer, are a bit stiff and scratchy - as opposed to the super soft-fluffy towels we always had in the States?
Will my brother miss breakfasts of pancakes and waffles and bacon, as we gather around a table of bread rolls and jams, cheeses, honey, and Nutella?
He already knows we now have only one car, rather than two, having ditched the mini-van before we moved, but will he be surprised when he realizes how much and how far we walk everyday? Or ride our bikes? What will he think that the kids ride trams and trains to meet their friends in neighboring cities?
When we head out, will be be surprised that we pay for use of public toilets? That we need to put a coin in the grocery cart? Or bring our own bags to the stores?
I look around at the life I have here, which is starting to feel normal and familiar, and wonder what will be strange about it to my brother?
But no matter how odd and out of place things may seem, one thing will be very much the same: I'm still the big sister and he's my grown up baby-brother :) And I can't wait to see him!