Regular readers of this blog know that we are going back to Germany this summer. After 5 years in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. Regular readers of this blog also know that I made a promise to you: I promised I’ll take you along on my moving back journey. This means that I need to write about
everything a lot of things that happen, that I think about, that I’m feeling. The Highs. And the Lows. The Ups. And the Downs. So this is how I have been doing recently.*
Moving back to Germany is hard. Already.
Our big move is still months away, no packing, no saying-good-byes, no final dates. Yet.
But it’s everywhere.
My flood gates are open. I get all teary during the most random moments: the school theater play in which my daughter doesn’t even participate, watching my son dig in the sandbox with his best friend, seeing the cherry and magnolia blossoms in full bloom when I look out of my home office window, reading articles on friendships (like this one), listening to people making plans for August, September, October.
My husband and I talk about the move every single day: an endless list of things to do, organize, decide, buy, handle, get rid off, sell.
The kids talk about it a million times a day and ask even more questions: is our house in Germany bigger or smaller? Can we stay with Oma & Opa all by ourselves? Is there a garage? Will we be in Germany when I’m in 7th grade? Is there a school bus? Can we ride the train? Is there a beach? Do German kids play with Shopkins?
People ask me about the move wherever I go: have you started packing yet? No. Are you going to have a good-bye party? Yes. What do you do with your flowers? Have you told the kids? We absolutely have to get together to do xyz – which day would work for you? Followed, of course, by the inevitable question: Are you excited to go back?
My answer? Silence – no – pause – not really.
And my very dear friends back in Germany text and call me, telling me how much they are looking forward to seeing me again, being closer to me, finally living in the same time zone.
My answer? If they get one at all, it’s often only a simple: :-)
Why can I not say “Yes, I’m excited to move back to Germany”? It’s my home country after all! Why do I not write “I’m so excited to see you, too!”? These are my dearest, oldest, very important and closest friends!
Well, I know why. My answer to their question is not short and simple. Because us moving back to Germany involves so much more than happy, exciting, long-awaited reunions with friends and family. But do they really want to hear my reasons? Won’t my answer hurt their feelings?
How I don’t know what life in Europe or Germany is like nowadays? I haven’t been back to Germany for over 2 years – I’ve forgotten a lot of things. And Germany has changed while I was gone. A lot. Or how I don’t know how to be a proper German Mom? How is it really like to be a Mom of not only one, but two kids? Do all German Moms work? Full-time? Part-time? Do they send their kids to an all-day school or do they prefer the traditional school day that ends at noon so that they can cook lunch for them? How I’m worried about how the move is going to affect my kids, our family, myself? How I’m also worried that I will only look into pessimistic, unfriendly faces at the grocery store or the corner bakery (while the shopping cart is pushed into my heels because I don’t pay and pack my stuff fast enough)? How I’m nervous about meeting old friends only to realize that all we have in common is our shared past? How the weather, the long dark winter, the rain, the cold is going to influence my mood? How I’m already tired of creating a window of me-time? Finding my niche – again, figuring out what to do with my time, how to make an income – again, blogging, writing, online networking – creating those hours that are so important because they energize me, making me a better mom, wife, friend?
I have always known that moving back to Germany would be hard. I have always known that I won’t be able to stop thinking about it, worrying about, talking about it because of who I am. I think, I worry, I talk. A lot. Always.
Sometimes I wish I could turn off or at least pause my thoughts. Just for a day or two. To be present and enjoy the moment. But that’s not possible.
Right now, I’m not fully here anymore. The countdown has already started. There’s no way that I can get the whole moving thing out of my head.
And of course I’m not “there” yet, nor will I be any time soon; the way to getting “there” is a long one.
But do you want to know a good thing? At least I’ve come to terms with what and where “there” is. And if I take one step at a time, I will get there.
And I’ll take you with me.
So stay tuned. There will be more posts on going back to Germany soon!
*FYI – The headline is a reference to this book.