Friday, September 26, 2008

Onward to Europa!?

It seems weird that I am actually typing this (I have had this plan in my head for almost 2 years now), but in six days, on October 1, we (I) will start applying for jobs in Germany. I would like to use this blog for all of you to follow the application process, details on how and why we are doing this, and hopefully follow the three of us as we make the move over there. Since leaving London in 2002 we have wanted to move back to Europe again. We were able to live in England because of their nursing shortage--Jenna got the work permit and was stuck at her job (the permit is bound to one employer--if you wanted to change jobs you would have to apply again form the US). Now it is my turn---Germany is in dire need of engineers, I will be getting the work permit, and I will be stuck at my job. I cant say that engineering is even close to being a passion of mine (anybody have a job opening that involves beer, music, and travel???) but if I can use engineering to live abroad, than I will do whatever it takes.

I have been using an engineering, 3-Dimensional software package called CATIA for the last few years at Freightliner. This is our ticket to Germany. Almost all the automotive companies use this software and coupled with my engineering degree, this makes me valuable to the car design craziness in Germany. Many of the companies that I may work for are in Southern Germany, near Stuttgart and Munich. We have visited Munich a couple times and it is beautiful. Alps, beer, and a great quality of life. There are jobs in the north of Germany and in Holland and Sweden, so based on availability we shall see where they need me. We are trying to stay flexible but I think the Munich area would be ideal for us--a larger city, close to the mountains, and easy to get to anywhere in Europe via plane, train, or AUTOBAHN. Oh--I am sure many of you are wondering about the language issue. English (luckily for me) is the business language over there, but of course we will be needing German at the supermarket and bank. Sad but true, we are lucky to speak English since many Europeans know it, although it is sad that we know no other language. I always felt that being forced to learn is the best way, so we will see how that pans out. Mayzie will be picking it up before we do probably.

What about our house? We will be renting it out. We love Portland and Oregon is the only place in the USA we want to live, so we will keep it. Plus the housing market sucks right now, so that's another reason. Plus, we are nearly finished completely with the basement and we need to enjoy that in the future for sure. We will rent a storage facility for all our crap, I mean stuff. we will probably do the rental management company thing but those are details we have not worked out.

Will Jenna work? no!! That's a great thing about this, too, is that I will make enough money for Jenna to stay home. We hope to get Mayzie in a school as soon as we get over there so that will give Jenna lots of free time, which I know she is very excited about. I suppose if she becomes fluent in German she can get a job, or maybe down at the Hard Rock Cafe waiting tables (hahaha). I feel good about this because Jenna has always pulled through when I am jobless and she makes more money than me, so I always felt I had her to fall back on, so now I can take care of her and Mayzie LIKE A REAL MAN (but don't get used to it Jenna, there will be a time when I need you to WORK LIKE A DOG haha).

Mayzie? This will be an amazing experience for us, but especially for her--i am so happy that we can do this for her--there will be some adjustment, for sure, but I have no doubt that she will thrive. The hardest part will be being away from her grandparents and cousins, which makes me sad but I hope they understand why we are doing this. Maybe they don't even realize why. I hope they do.

What about the dog? Oskar is coming too! We got his microchip in, we got his rabies shots updated, all the paper work done, he's good to go. Hopefully we can find an apartment with a garden for him to do his bizness.

How Long? The plan is to stay over there for 2 years.

Why Now? This is hard to explain, but it feels right. Jenna and I do not like to get comfortable. When I say comfortable I don't mean a nice big LazyBoy recliner, we do like that, but we realize how easy it is to get bogged down with jobs and the garage filling up and material things keeping us from doing what we want to do, to be free. When everyday is just like the last, it is time to do something different. This is where we are at. I usually am ready to make a change in lifestyle and geography after about 1 to 1.5 years. Jenna is ready at about 3 years. We are at 2 years right now since buying our house so I guess we compromised! There is never a perfect time for a big lifestyle change... WHY ARE WE DOING THIS? I didn't write this, but this is so perfect:

When I spend any length of time somewhere — whether it's two months in Paris or an hour at the side of the road waiting on a bus — I can't help but wonder,"what would it be like to live here forever?" Giving that question a bit of thought almost always leads to the same conclusion: It would be great to live here, wherever here is, but what about that town just down the road? If there's a downside to vagabonding it's that there just isn't enough time.Everywhere I go I end up thinking, I should spend more time here, I should live here... I should know what it's like to work in a cigar factory in Leon, fish in the Mekong, live in a floating house on Tonle Sap, sell hot dogs at Fenway Park, trade stocks in New York, wander the Thar Desert by camel, navigate the Danube, see the way Denali looks at sunset, the smell the Sonora Desert after a rain, taste the dust of a Juarez street, know how to make tortillas, what Mate tastes like, feel autumn in Paris, spend a winter in Moscow, a summer in Death Valley. I should be able to not just visit places, but inhabit them.There is, so far as I know, only one short life. And in this life I will do very few of these things. Sometimes I think that's very sad, but then the bus comes and you're on to the next town, free to start the dream over again.

We have to keep challenging ourselves, avoid the rut, and try as many new things as possible. I realize that with age, house, dog and kids this is becoming more and more difficult, so it takes a huge push to up-root and move forward. I am lucky to have a wonderful wife who goes along with me and a kid who is super flexible. I can still have my dreams:


Steve said...

Sounds like an awesome adventure! Good luck and have fun! We're going to make an effort to come out there and visit.

Anonymous said...

Right NOW I'm just too sad for words, but I'm sure I'll get over it sometime, I just wish I knew when? We will miss you soooooooo much especially my Mayzie!!!

Troy said...

Oskar will also probably learn Deutch before you.

I'll be keeping up on this blog. Looking forward to visiting you in Germany...

"Dude, don't wooooooorry about it."

Marius said...

Good luck pus!