Bear Canyon hiking trail

We are back in Montana where the people and dogs are as friendly as the characters in a Walt Disney made-for-tv special. After two years in Berlin, Bozeman feels like an old, familiar friend, one that we’ve outgrown a bit, but a comfortable place nonetheless. We don’t yet know how long we will be here, but our goal is to make a longer term move to Berlin next summer. Family issues called us back to the States, where we’re getting used to burgers and root beer floats instead of brezels and bratwursts.

Keeping our connection to German culture is high priority while we’re in Big Sky country. So on Sundays we’ll switch from our intermittent chatter “auf Deutsch” to communicating only in German. We did quite well this past Sunday, especially during the arduous climb up the Bear Canyon hiking trail outside Bozeman. I learned the word for steep (“steil”) which somehow never made it into my vocabulary while living at sea level in the vast, flat expanse of Berlin. In between heavy gasps of the fresh mountain air, the kids chattered away about soccer, their old friends, and the upcoming school year.

As much as I miss Berlin, I see this next year as a chance to reflect on and process the many changes in our lives over the past two years. I may have fewer blog entries, but I hope to move forward with a memoir and plan to do some public speaking about our experiences in Germany. My program “Germany’s Efforts to Confront the Legacy of the Holocaust” will be available through the Montana Humanities Speakers’ Bureau and I’m looking forward to giving presentations on “The Revival of Jewish Life in Germany.”

We’ve been back in Montana for just over a week, but further wilderness adventures will have to wait. Tomorrow Deutsche Welle arrives in Bozeman to include our family in a special broadcast on German Jews in the diaspora. Stay tuned for the full story.