My wife Marion grew up in Grossposna, a small village a few kilometres outside of Leipzig in the Eastern part of Germany. Twenty-five years ago, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, she left everything she knew behind and persued a new life in Canada with her young son Johannes, and un-born daughter Isabel. Tuning a new leaf, she left behind her roots and entire family. Her sister, mother and two brothers still reside in Grossposna.
I grew up in England on the Welsh border, an area famous for farming and breeding Hereford cows. I have an older sister who left England to work in Canada in the 70’s. Shortly after, with a drive for adventure and life experience, I enlisted in the British Army. At the time the Cold War was at its height, Western countries had large military units in Western Germany and I eventually ended up posted in Germany.
It was funny, the media was always telling us “the enemy is poised to strike the West, be alert.” In reality, we spent weeks, maybe months, painting things, like the rocks around the parade ground square just to keep us occupied. The best times though, were when we spent time on the infamous East German border. We watched the “deadly enemy” behind the barbwire and landmines, and they watched us as well.
In 1988, I decided to leave the Army, and I went to Whitehorse where my sister and her new boyfriend had opened a restaurant.
In the fall of 2009 I met Marion, and from the first moment I saw her I was hooked. She was German, and had two children that were similar in age to my girls. Somehow we got past the first date and she decided to keep me around. While sitting down one night we discussed our past, she was from East Germany, but was hardly the evil monster that the media had painted her out to be. When I told her this she replied that their news system had always been telling them that the evil Westerners were going to invade and destroy their way of life.
She had moved to Whitehorse one year after me, and had run a daycare centre, which coincidentally was only a few minutes from where I used to live. Marion’s daughter was the same age as my youngest daughter, and we soon worked out that they had both been in the same class all throughout elementary school. We had both attended lots of functions at school, but up until that first date we had never met each other. While watching some of Marion’s home videos, I was dumbfounded to have spotted my daughter, who had been on sleepovers at Marion’s house.
The world is a very small place, we joke that our lives have been running in parallel for close to 24 years on two continents. Whitehorse is a small town and I worked for 12 years in a shopping mall that Marion had spent a lot of time at, but again we were like ships in the night.
Marion visited her home once or twice, but I had never gone back to England, even though I still have family there. I was fortunate enough to have given my mother away when she re-married before I left, yet I strongly regret not going back and spending more time with my family.
With some of our children still in school, it has been difficult to take the time to visit. Marion worries about her mother’s hour-glass, and there is still so much we want to reveal about each other’s pasts. I am writing this essay so we can potentially make this trip our honeymoon, maybe take a trip to kiss the Blarney Stone and spend time with our loved ones that we so rarely get to see. – See more at: https://whatsupyukon.com/contest-entry-view.cfm?ContestEntryID=185#sthash.qbRVxuXT.dpuf