At some point – and I can’t quite pinpoint when – I have fallen in love with Germany. Obviously, I have always loved Germany – I chose it, out of all the places in the world, to make my second home – but I think prior to now, we have always been like the best friends who everyone knows are made for each other, but just need to figure it out for themselves. We’ve laughed together, gotten drunk together, told each other secrets. We’ve annoyed each other, fought, felt embarrassed the next morning.

But now, now it’s different. Now I’m seeing Germany in a whole new light. Now we don’t just love each other, I think we might be in love  with each other. It hasn’t been a sudden, dizzying bellyflop into moony, frothing-at-the-mouth love, the kind that would fizzle as quickly as it was ignited. I wasn’t blinded by bright lights and flashy nights, there was no sleek car and smarmy wining and dining. No scripts from The Game and indiscreetly waved credit cards.

No, the wining and dining was warm and comforting, designed to plump up and pad out because Germany likes me with curves (I have to tell myself this). The flashy nights were spent in little pubs, the bright lights are the ones reflected off the lake after sundown on the lazy Spring nights we spend beside it. The cars are all sleek, because it’s Germany, but I don’t drive one because in this fantastic little city, everything is walkable, bussable or, if you’re a true Muensteranian, bike-able.

This love is a comfortable one. A full, well rounded one. One that has its ups and downs, its frustrations and misunderstandings. We have our spats. We get impatient with each other. I hate its snow, its bossy cyclists. I poke fun at its steadfast love of rules. It teases me for my lack of punctuality, for my love of thongs and instinctive, Australian need, to see what happens if a rule gets broken.

But when we look into each others eyes, perhaps as we lie, hand in hand, in a daisy scattered park, enjoying this unnaturally warm Spring, there’s a sense of contentment between us. A steadiness. I know that, should I fight with my mercurial lover, Greece, or tire momentarily of its temper and constant need for drama, Germany will hand me a beer, give me a tug, and put the world back on its axis once more (and it won’t be the first time Germany will smooth over the damage my beloved Greece has done).

Germany and I have an understanding and to understand a country that is not your motherland, is a special thing indeed.