Starting over

We've been in Germany for nearly three weeks now, and while I'd like to say that we're having an awesome time (and in many ways it certainly is awesome to be back in Germany), the truth is, it's been a really difficult and trying time for us as well.

I count my blessings everyday that after what's happened in New Zealand, we still have the opportunity to return to Germany and start over with the help and support from our family. And yet, this is by far THE most difficult move yet, in all my 15 years of moving all over the world.

Not only are we adjusting to this change and trying our damnedest to built a life for ourselves in Germany again, we also have two little humans who rely on us every minute of everyday to provide them with a safe, comfortable, and stimulating environment, which is really hard to do when you're living in someone else's home without any structure or routine to your days.

We can't enroll them in school temporarily as we have no idea how long we'll be staying here, we can't really kill time with traveling around the country in between job interviews, neither is it an option financially to constantly go to places that provide some entertainment, like zoos, indoor playgrounds, theme parks and such, as we're living off our savings and have no idea how long we'll have to continue to do so.

Everything we know and have held on to, the foothold in our lives that keeps as steady and secure, like having a career, an income, friends, a routine, daycare, a home, has been stripped bare and left us with nothing but each other to hold on to. We are left living out of suitcases and forced to make one temporary home after another as we move from place to place on this epic journey, which is far from over. The boys are seemingly coping well with the constant changes, but I worry about how this is affecting them internally, in the places we can't see or reach. On some level they must be confused. They must be wondering where grandpa and grandma is, who we spent three weeks with in Malaysia and whom they adored. They must be wondering where their toys are. Why their living and sleeping arrangement change every few weeks.

We're trying our best to remain positive and upbeat. We plan simple outings to different playgrounds, or  to the local park every day. The Husband takes the kids for hour-long bike rides in the bike trailer we've been gifted by his brother. They still wake up at 7am and have their naps and go to bed at the same time each day, which gives them a little bit of structure. The rest of their time is up to us to fill up, and some days that's easier to do than others.

But through all of this, I'm also feeling kinda lost. I've never been good at waiting and being patient. I've never been good at not knowing. Or not having a plan. I make lists. I plan. I have backup plans. I've always known where I was going or where I wanted to be and how to get there. But for the first time in my life, I'm completely helpless. I don't really know what the next step is. I don't know where to turn to and what we're waiting for or how long this wait is going to be. Stay in the present, I read in my motivational books. Enjoy every moment, people tell me. You'll get there eventually, I tell myself.

And yet. Yet.

There's a part within me that's restless and agitated. I'm bored. Angry. Stressed out. Worried. Impatient. And another part that is trying its hardest to fight this ennui I'm slowly sinking into. Keep busy. Read. Take pictures. Go for drives. Write. Cook. Play with the kids. Play with the kids some more. Stay fluid. Be flexible. Believe. Have faith. Have hope. Stay calm. This will all be over soon. You'll have a place to call home soon. The kids will be able to go to school soon. You'll be able to focus on your own work soon. Life will start again. Soon.

I chant these to myself like a mantra every night before I sleep, even as I'm simultaneously weeping into my pillow at all the uncertainties that still lies before us. All the work that still needs to be done even when we do finally find a place to call home. The unpacking. The buying of furniture. The enrolling of kids in schools. Finding a doctor and therapists for Liam. Starting German classes. Learning my way around a new area or city. Meeting new people and building up a new network of friends.

This isn't easy. Moving within the same country isn't easy. Moving to a different country is difficult beyond doubt. Moving with two little kids to a different country when you don't know where you're moving to or what tomorrow holds, is a challenge on an epic level. This takes everything we have. It's taken everything we have.

And the only thing I can do right now is keep breathing in and out. Keep writing. Keep taking photos and capturing moments that remind me of pleasure and beauty and everything good. Keep out the darkness. Keep moving forwards. There has to be light at the end of the road. This is only the beginning.



  1. Oh I feel your stress. I get anxious every time I think that at the end of this year we will also be homeless, living with my parents with no jobs, furniture or cars. It's scary and stressful. I think it's ok to cry and be angry and it sounds like you are doing a great job keeping up and focusing on the positive.

  2. I only found your blog this morning, so am new to the NZ dramas and having to move. You show guts and determination and as such those boys of yours will grow with great resilience. You've just got to hang on to the constants that will be with you wherever you are - your boys, your husband, writing, photography. Your blog will become a favourite of mine no doubt, on our quest to become a multicultural family. Thinking of all four of you, all the way back in little NZ.


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