Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009


Looking upward to 2010



Now that was a crazy year. I was unsure of how to write about 2009—I could easily complain about all the crap that we went through in Germany, or I could write about all the great stuff we have done, how much we have learned. I think the best way to sum up the year would be to give a little of both sides.

There is no doubt this has been the hardest year for me and Jenna in our 15 years together. It is strange to say that, because one of my long time goals and dreams came true this year—living in Germany. But that is the root of the problem, it was MY goal, and sure, of course, Jenna wanted to come along and experience it, but we diverged from helping get her closer to her goals, instead moving further away from them. We spent way too much money and time trying to adjust to life over here, and in the process we discovered that it was not the place for us.

I had envisioned that Germany would lead us closer to where we wanted to be in our lives—a more relaxed society, where people take public transport, and shop locally, and are aware of the outside world, and appreciate and value non-working time more. Basically, we would experience a better quality of life and live like a European. I dreamed of us being comfortable here, settling in, and staying for multiple years, maybe even long enough to get a passport-- the greatest gift we could ever give to Mayzie. I thought I was more European than American.

I was wrong. In the process of discovering the errors of my ways, I have hurt us financially, and certainly emotionally. In hindsight, I pushed too hard getting us here, pushing too hard to get us out of our comfort zone, and this is what happens when you force change upon yourself, rather than going with the flow. My need for travel and “excitement” has evolved from a passion, to an obsession, and the result has been not thoroughly thinking through important decisions. We are now in debt, have no money to travel like we wanted to do (actually, the main reason we wanted to live in Germany), and are not living in the present…we are looking forward to getting home to Portland, so that we can get back on track in all ways.

But, as readers of the blog, you know that it wasn’t all that bad. Without this being a recap of the last year…I am grateful for the chance to learn a new language, meet people that have never met Americans before, and live in 2 completely different German cities. I am grateful for the bike riding opportunities, the busses, the trains, the autobahn, the cheap beer, and the amazing and atmospheric architecture surrounding us on all sides. I am most proud of this opportunity for Mayzie—she really has grown to be a smart, observant, and confident little girl. The way she interacts with her German classmates and teachers is precious. I am very thankful for learning and integrating into a culture I thought I knew before, but really had no clue whatsoever about. It has opened our eyes to what we want in our lives and how to get there more efficiently.

Lots of things surprised us about Germany…the people, the language, the bureaucracy, the working environment, the attitudes. There are some great things about Germany and some things that irritate me so much I don’t even want to think about them. Same as everywhere, I suppose.

I am worried about going home. Its earlier than I hoped, and I am concerned that we won’t find the quality of schooling around our area for Mayzie, as we have in Hamburg. I am concerned about working too much and not having any vacation time. About getting into a rut. But I have always worried about these things, and this is the part I need to realize…these things will never happen to me, no matter where I live. For us right now, the benefits of going home outweigh these silly negatives. My neurosis are the only things holding us back. Friends and family are more important to me than I ever realized.

So we are coming back to Portland, to our house, in spring 2010. No plane tickets booked yet, but very soon. Of course, the blog will continue, so I hope I can keep some of you as readers about the goings on of We Three Wusz… (but it wont be nearly as exciting haha).  

We have no regrets, we tried our best to make this work, but I would certainly do some things differently next time.

2009 was interesting to say the least. I am stoked that we have 4 more months over here and then we will re- group, re-focus, and move on with our lives…who knows where or when or what will happen. That’s the best part. Prost!

3 comments:

DarrenDriven said...

What doesn't kill you...

Troy said...

Nick, I'm confident you guys will come out of this on top. Despite the challenges, you'll have gained memories, knowledge, and insight that you couldn't have attained with out trying.

Nick said...

true to both...thanks CUZ's!