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A lot has happened since being a member of Watermark and parting ways with Katja, Melissa, Cristina, Jim, Ben and Bryan.  Sometimes it’s hard to believe that the seven of us really did live in a van for a year, and that we were in a new city or country every other day, and that we used music to tell thousands of kids that Jesus is the Rock of our lives.  We parted ways in August of 2006, and I’ve seen a few of the members since then, and I’m still hoping for a reunion with all of us some day.

I last saw Katja almost four years ago to the day.  After graduation from college I stayed with her for a couple of months and visited Melissa on my way back home.  This visit was rich with memories.  Once again we went through the scrapbooks she made after Team, calling to mind the people we met along the way (remember that guy Ralph?  None of us could understand a word he said.  Wo ist Falk?) and the places we’d seen.  (  No, we were in TWO prisons in Germany.  I really thought I was going to die that one time in Romania.)  It was wonderful to see Katja again, get a taste for her lifestyle and meet the people who are important to her.

Like my other trips to Germany, this visit wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to my favorite German family, the Wittenbergs.*  The first time I met them, the children were aged 5 and 3.  It was such a shock to see Laura descending down the stairs as a beautiful 13 year-old.  The last time I’d seen her, we’d been working on the colors in English.  This time, she was able to have small conversations with me.  Their home always makes one feel zuhause and zufrieden, and I regretted that I was only able to stay with them the one night before leaving for Munich.

Being back in Germany made me realize with greater force just how much I’m missing out on by not being able to converse with the people here in Russia.  It was such a relief and pleasure to go into a shop, hotel, train station and post office and be able to fearlessly and easily get my business done, get my questions asked, and exchange a little cheerful banter.  I felt like I could just relax again.  I could also hear the faults in my speech (I would have placed myself in an upper-intermediate class) and considered (half seriously) just forgetting about going back to Russia and just staying in Germany forever.