Yesterday, was Tuesday, January 31, 2017. Which means that we have been back in Germany for exactly six months. It’s not only this very specific mile marker of our repatriation journey (repatriation generally refers to the process of returning back to your country of origin) that made me reflect on the past six months. It’s also this statement that I heard from an expat wife and mom who just moved back to Germany at the beginning of 2017:
“All I’m doing right now is survive.”
This sounded so familiar… You just moved back to Germany and now you are stuck in a temporary apartment, living out of suitcases. Or you are surrounded by ceiling-high piles of moving boxes in a new house that does not feel like home. The kids are with you 24/7 because they don’t go to school yet. They cling to you – you are the only stability in their life that has been turned upside down. Your husband is absent, expected to sit in his office, tackling new, maybe even exciting challenges at work. Every day you put a smile on your little ones’ faces. You keep them happy, you keep them busy. Because this is what moms do. You take care of as many things at home as you can so that your husband can focus on his job. Because this is what you did as an expat wife, too. Right?
But what about you? Your life has turned upside down, too! And now it’s back to square one. If you want to or not. What about you? Your dreams? What’s going to happen to your plans and your future? When will it be your turn again?
Alle Jahre wieder schreiben die Kinder sorgfältig ihre Wunschzettel an den Weihnachtsmann oder das Christkind. Und während wir Mamas die Wünsche unserer Kinder bequatschen, wird Jonna von den Expatmamas und mir plötzlich klar: Wir haben auch einen inneren Wunschzettel. Einen ganz besonderen. Nicht unbedingt fürs Christkind oder den Weihnachtsmann. Aber an Unternehmen, die Familien ins Ausland schicken. Und an Personalabteilungen, die mit zukünftigen Expats den Expat Vertrag aushandeln.
Aus unseren eigenen Erfahrungen heraus wissen wir: Viele Wünsche von Expat-Familien bleiben unerfüllt. Bedürfnisse werden ignoriert. Anliegen werden nicht gehört, weil sie oft unausgesprochen bleiben. Und so wie die Kinderseele sich einmal im Jahr die Sehnsüchte von der Seele schreibt, machen wir es dieses Jahr auch. Vordergründig mag es bei den Kleinen wie bei uns (auch) um Materielles gehen. Im Kern aber reden wir davon, Familien nicht allein zu lassen mit ihren inneren Bedürfnissen.
Hier ist also unser Expatmamas-Wunschzettel!
Hello Germany! Here we are – in our new home, our new life. Today is the second morning that I have a couple of hours to myself. The kids are in school and day-care, my husband is at work. And I finally feel like writing again and telling you a little bit about the past weeks and months and the process of transitioning to Germany. But where do I start?
This is it: we moved out of our house yesterday, packed our bags and are ready (while also being totally exhausted) for our summer vacation.
I’m sitting at the dining room table, surrounded by moving boxes, watching the movers carrying my life down the stairs to the shipping container outside. The driveway is covered in toys, boxes, furniture. It’s a crazy house! Of course today is not the time and day for deep thoughts and beautiful writing. But I can’t stop thinking about our moving day 5 years ago. The day that my blogging journey began with my first ever blog post for our private family blog, read only by family and friends. Oh the places we have seen since then, the people we have met, the experiences we have made! And how far we have come in those 5 years! But there are also so many similarities between moving day 2011 and moving day 2016, almost identical thoughts and feelings. So please scroll down to the first blog post (in German and also in English) I ever wrote: