So much has happened. We've made ourselves a little home in the town of Durmersheim in Rastatt, Liam has started kindergarten at a school for children with developmental delays, and Nolan is a chatty, confident and very cheeky 2.5 year old whose German language skills is rapidly expanding everyday.
Over the past few months, we've finally settled into a routine, had a few visitors from overseas (always a much welcomed distraction from the routine of day to day life) and Liam finally had his ear surgery done. I even managed to spend a wonderful week on the beautiful island of Crete in Greece with my best friend from University, which I hope to share here one day!
My parents arrive on Friday and will stay with us for three weeks, where the children will bask in grandparental adoration and plenty of attention (and gifts). It means so much to me to be able to have them here with us at this time of year. I often feel sad when I think of my children growing up without knowing their grandparents or being able to see them often, but I feel blessed that we get to spend time with each other at least once a year, and it's always such a special time.
It's been a challenging, interesting and exciting year to say the least. To think it was only ten months ago that we were making our way from New Zealand back to Germany, embarking on our lives here for the second time. Finding a place to call home, while navigating all sorts of conflicting emotions.
Thankfully, the emotions are mostly positive now. I still miss New Zealand everyday. I miss the beaches, the culture, the language, the people, the food, and the lives we led there. I expect a part of me always will. But I'm no longer resenting my life here the way I did before. Things that used to annoy me, especially my inability to communicate expertly, do not annoy me (as much) as they used to. I find myself able to be more understanding when miscommunication occurs. Able to let things go. Able to let myself feel lonely and accept that, or challenge myself to be in uncomfortable situations and accept that too.
That acceptance, which was never there before, is huge, because it means I can now move forwards. It's still not easy, and progress is often one step forwards and two steps back. But I'm also learning to be patient with myself and with the people around me. I'm learning that (some) things don't happen overnight. That it's okay to feel excited, or sad, or frustrated, or lonely, or happy, sometimes all in one day.
I'm learning to find joy in the simple things, like being able to order at a restaurant in German, or watching my children who are happy and confident in their new surroundings, or going to a Christmas market and having a Gluhwein, or feeling snowflakes on my face, and that is enough.
The little things.
It's been a hell of a year, but we're ending it surrounded by the people we love, with plenty of blessings, and our hearts and souls still relatively intact after everything we've been through - and with that, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, or Frohe Weihnachten, and I hope to see more of you in the New Year!