All in a Month

It’s been a month since our big jump across the great blue pond. We experienced two weeks of quarantine, lots of binge watching great television, doggie walks, and lots of learning curves. My curls are a hot mess; my kid has yet to start school; and I’ve spent way too much money on brezeln and brötchen. I’ve opened up a bank account, gotten new phone numbers, and tried to figure out the innerworkings of DHL.

On the whole, communication has been easy here as a majority of Germans speak English. They see you struggling and so change to English. This is both relieving, but frustrating as I’d rather be corrected in order to work on my nearly non-existent German (and they want to work on their excellent English). That being said, my goal for this month is to work daily on my German. I’m determined to learn this language!

We have found our “permanent” house, and cannot wait to get settled in it. Friday, I received my drivers license. Trish and April have been kind enough to lend us a car until mine gets here. Things are slowly, but surely, falling into place here.

Tristan seems to be settling better. He, of course, has been enjoying the fact he hasn’t started school yet; and why not? It means more gaming time! I, however, am not altogether pleased with this, but it’s hard not having our things here yet… especially his bike. We try to remind ourselves to be patient in this aspect of the process. It takes time, especially considering COVID and having to contend with the holiday’s.

I’ve certainly had moments where I miss being home in the States. Sadly, I miss running through the Starbucks drive thru near my house. And even though we don’t see each other much, I miss being only 15-20 minutes from my long-time best friend. I miss my co-workers. And while I don’t necessarily miss the crazy busyness, I miss the familiarity and regularity of working there. A fear of the unknown has long since been an emotion that I struggle to contend with. While I struggle, though, I know that this is a normal reaction to beginning a new job, especially in a new place. I have met many of my new co-workers in the month that I’ve been here and have every confidence that this is a welcoming and amazing team that I am joining. I’m honestly eager to get back to working on the floor with patients. I miss helping mama’s bring new life into the world. I miss the challenge of laboring a stubbornly positioned baby and feeling relief and excitement when all of the techniques I’ve learned are successful. I miss interpreting fetal heart strips and working through inadequate contraction patterns. And, I miss holding those sweet, squishy, fresh newborns.

It also breaks my heart that COVID still runs almost completely unchecked all over the world. It increases the feeling of isolation for everyone, not just Tristan and I. Germany has instituted a stronger lockdown until, at least, the end of the month. Many areas are restricted to 15-30km from their homes. Masks must be worn, not only inside buildings, but outside them too (for example: in parking lots). Here is yesterday’s report from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). And here is an overview of what the lockdown rules are. In order to read German articles (or anything on the internet that’s in German), I use Google Chrome and activate the translation feature. While I have found that the Germans tend to follow the rules, there are still those, as there are in the States, that flout the rules as well.

I hope that soon my family and friends will be able to travel here to visit and fall in love with the place that I have fallen in love with. I want to take them to the grocery store, and backerei, and show them all the wonderful things about this place. I want to show them the castles, and the absolute deliciousness of döner.

It seems crazy that I chose to do this in the middle of a pandemic, especially knowing that my friends and loved ones wouldn’t be able to come visit for a while, if ever. But isn’t that the excitement of such an exhilarating decision? Isn’t that the point of stepping outside of your comfort zone; to spread your wings and fly? Is it crazy to want to experience life outside of what you’ve always known? to immerse yourself in another culture? to immerse your child in another culture? There are risks with every decision we make, big or small. We have to decide what we are willing to move aside, give up, or postpone. We must experience discomfort in order to grow, to learn, to expand, to evolve. My discomforts down the road will be but mere hills on the road to self fulfillment. I have been given the skills to cope with these discomforts as they come and will smile with endearment when I think of the time I was able to spend living abroad.

The mere thought of it now, makes me smile. Someone I know once told me that I should be “asshole proud” of the hurdles I’ve found my way around, thus accomplishing other hurdles to arrive where I am now. And I am. I’m proud that I’ve arrived where I am. Never did I think this life was possible; but here I am. And I am going to make the most of it.

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