I’m writing this post from our rented couch in Brooklyn, sitting next to my daughter who is watching Inside Out for the 1 millionth time, and only one of us is dressed, guess which one? Anyway, life in Brooklyn, in NYC, has been exciting, difficult, and challenging.
Career-wise, I’m pretty awesome, not to brag. Ok, I’m not really but someone somewhere might consider me as a pretty awesome librarian. Firstly, because I can find any book anywhere and if not, I can put it on hold for you. Also, I do my homework when I do my storytimes; the amount of singing I do at storytime is astounding. Also, I don’t rat my coworkers out to the admin whenever they do things pretty horrible/wrong. I decorated the crap out the children’s space, and the children mostly like me (except the ones that play games on the computer and are exceptionally annoying— no not annoying, because they might internalize that, they are exceptionally loud, there!). Also, my boss seems to like me about 33% of the time, which yeah, is great considering he liked me exactly 10% of the time when I started.
Mommy-wise, I miss my child. I don’t enjoy our current situation with nanny-sharing and all that business. You have to pay out of you nose for someone you sorta-like (this is probably due to me not understanding her and her close relationship with the other mom in the share, who does not talk to me) to take care of your child— how much, you ask? About….. all of your salary. Now, I understand why she should make that money, totally I do. In fact, she deserves to make more, because being a nanny has got to be a tough job. But I cannot afford that. And I was unlucky in my pursuits to land a great daycare (how do New Yorkers— Americans do that? It is so much more difficult, and expensive over here). And she takes my kid out to parks, to sing-a-longs too. But she also calls my daughter Lily when her name is Livi, and that’s where the problems begin. But I digress, this is not a place to complain, it’s not lost on me how lucky I am to even be in this situation,
Living-wise, it kind of stinks. Germany takes the cake for quality of life, and cost of living. Groceries can cost a fortune, and I even became quite adept at couponing. My packages keep getting stolen, and the owners of the house kinda despises me, not sure why. I don’t do well when I have conflict at home, and I learned especially here in Brooklyn that I in a fight or flight scenario, I am the flight part. And that’s incredibly unhealthy.
And then add the recent events in the US to your constant thoughts and analysis, and you’ve got the makings of an emotional outburst. I work with Black Americans, I am of a mixed background, but I am considered a Black American, which I’ve accepted very early on in life. And my patrons are Black Americans, and last week, I had to answer a kid who wanted to know if getting shot hurts more as a black person because in movies, white people get shot all the time and live, but in reality, black people get shot and die. I’ll tell you, I didn’t answer that as well as I would have liked. Because how do you answer that 8 year-old boy?
And all of this is coming to an end as we round the final corner on our Brooklyn adventure. Next month we fly back, and Livi starts school. And I go back to trying to do something and somewhat failing at it. But you know what? Although I’ll miss the career, feeling useful and attempting to make a difference, I think I’m ready to go too. There is beauty all over NYC and Brooklyn, and you have the opportunity to have a great time and enjoy the city that never sleeps. But honestly, I’m really tired and I’m not that young anymore either; my knee hurts after I’ve gone up eight flights of stairs in 3 minutes, and my shoes are falling apart from all the walking, and I can’t order more because my packages keep getting stolen, and I can’t talk to my landlord about stating to USPS that no packages should be left outside because she despises me, and I can’t ask the nanny to be there because if she were, she wouldn’t answer the door because she won’t hear the door, because when she is home with Livi, she puts the TV on first thing despite my asking her otherwise. So really. I’m on my own.
The view from here isn’t bad, but it has changed with older, more experienced eyes looking on it. I know that I can see, and I can be, better than this, I just have to work harder.
Life has been……wow. Just wow. Really different kind of wow. Do we miss Germany? Yeah sorta. But we aren’t in a rush to go back just yet.
The first two months, Baby O (my nearly 2.5 year-old now) and I were flying solo. That crap was intense. I had all sorts of bad luck too. We caught the flu<—– something that hadn’t happened to me in about 20 years. O was so sick, I had to check her into the hospital for a few nights. It was an emotional, terrible time for us. I was also suffering from the flu, but there I was, sitting by my daughter’s side, like all mommies do, hoping she would finally drink something so we could get those darn IVs out and we could get out of there. We left there after two days, and she still had a fever! I have to say though— Germany takes the cake for hospital stays. I didn’t have a bed to sleep on, nor did I get food to eat. And when I nearly fainted, no one cared. Also, my wallet was stolen during this stay. Germany, you may lack customer service skills and sometimes compassion, but you are just so much better at providing services for families.
Anyway, I lost a week’s worth of money for that thing, not that it mattered at the time, because sick baby trumps everything. But I’ll tell you this: when you are solo momming, losing money really hurts. I don’t know how single-parent families handle it over here. I still had some money from the G-Man coming into my account, and we were struggling. And I’ll admit, I lost my hustling spirit at some point in the past 7 years.
Now onto one of my biggest struggles over here: nannies. We got here in January, which meant most of the great daycares were booked out till the end of spring. Now, there were some affordable options, but let’s be serious, I didn’t have the time to vet all these places and hope O would love it. It’s way easier and convenient to do the nanny route over here, especially when you are solo momming. And bonus: you only have to vet one person to take care of the single most precious entity in your life. So approximately 300 million interviews later, I found a nanny. Do I like her? I’m not sure because I don’t think she likes me.., thankfully, O loves her, so that’ll do for now. But there are loads of issues that have arisen- like do I pay for her metro card (I did), does she eat our food (yes), does she listen to all of my fantastic ideas of child care and local events that O might like to go to (eh no, not really), does she get angry when I get a day off (somewhat), does she see when O makes a food mess and smears it all over her books and toys and clean them (no, and that took a lot of time to clean up!), does she call out leaving me without child care (she’s a single mom so I get it, but she also lives with her Mother, sister and cousins in the same apartment building whereas I have seen my sister twice and O still hasn’t met her grandfather even though he’s in Boston…. but maybe I’m just a sensitive jerk and I need to cut her some much deserved slack….. at least sometimes.)
Anyway, this is just another part of Big City parenting. Everyone has nannies or daycares. I took O to the doctor and she told me, honestly, not to put O in a daycare because she will be exposed to more germs, and since we are leaving again, it would be good for her to not get attached to other kids and teachers since she was clearly (and still is!) adjusting to a new sort of life here in Brooklyn.
The G-Man has been here for about 3 weeks now, and that has been fascinating and great. It was hard letting go of the reins, and I still think he is a micromanager in our relationship sometimes, which drives me bananas, but I breathe a sigh of relief that’s he here. I can take solo showers! I don’t have to rush home to make dinner, then rush through cleaning up the house, then rush through spending time with O, and continue rushing through storytime, bedtime…. which was all for naught when she kept creeping out of her room and slipping into bed beside me anyway. Also, G-Man and I seriously love each other, so even on each other’s nerves, we still enjoy being together as opposed to apart.
One thing that I absolutely love about living in Brooklyn with our little family has been our weekend explorations. We never used to do this in Germany, and frankly, we really couldn’t sometimes. But here, we are adventurers. We pack O into a baby carrier (because of course she has learned to escape her stroller and often runs around like a maniac or gets too tired to walk after a while), we pack some diapers and wipes and baby stuff into a backpack, and we set off. We walk, we talk, we look, and we eat. O continues her love of good food, much like her parents, and enjoys a good bowl of ramen or pho, roti with oxtail+ rice and beans, lemonade with a blueberry doughnut, pappardelle any which way she can get it, corned beef, bagel with lox, black & white cookies, enchiladas, and dumplings of any variety. So this could not be more of a perfect food paradise for all of us. We went out for Vietnamese lunch/dinner yesterday, and to say she is wild about pho is an understatement. My heart is happy when I watch her slurp her noodles and when she takes just another bite of her fancy-schmancy blueberry poptart pastry while playing at a local kid haven where they have sing-alongs, loads of toys and kids to play with. Also, I took her to a gymnastics place one Friday afternoon, and all she did was jump on a trampoline for an hour and a half while saying “jump jump jump jump.” We all slept well that night.
Brooklyn is funky, stressful, amazing, chaotic, and such an awesome adventure for us. I’ve turned over a new leaf here. I’m changing into a new kind of mom: I look better, I dress better, I enjoy more, and I complain less. I’ve learned to shrug off life’s burdens with more ease, and I can stand my ground with more confidence too. I’ve even learned to clean the house in the morning before work, and make a baked good for us to share before the nanny comes. It’s not all sunshine and flowers, but it’s new, and it’s exactly what we all needed.
And as a working mom, I appreciate my time more with O, and I think she does too. Work is not the most fulfilling yet, but it’s fun mostly, and it teaches me new things to do with O. It also gives me so much to talk about with the G-Man, and we find that we have all these different interests that we didn’t know before.
We are ok being away from Germany for now. We miss our friends and family, but we’ll be back in a few months. We’ll have bunches of stories, and we will be slightly different people than before, but we’ll also be slightly better for it too.
So it’s a quick update, but I took a job as a librarian in Brooklyn starting next month, and the G-Man got a contract to work abroad too!! I don’t think it will be a permanent move to the US, it really depends on the G-Man (who I’m quite certain will never ever ever want to give up his awesome job and stupendous German benefits, and I can’t blame him, the benefits rock). But we will decide after 8 months what we’ll do. Now we’re getting all the pieces of the puzzle together; the apartment, childcare, making lists of things we need, making budgets…. there is a lot to get done in a short span of time. It’s exciting and happy, and also makes me a bit nervous; I haven’t had a professional job in years, AND I have never gotten to work my dream job either. So whoaaaaaa….. what an experience coming up!! I’ll still write here and there, probably still about Germany as it will most likely be our forever home. Please stay with me on this big ole’ adventure :-)
So my computer died back in June. It came into my world with a bang, and out with a whimper. It was the first computer I saved up for, splurged on, and never regretted buying although it rang in at a whopping $1800. But I was beginning my second year of graduate school, and my second year without my Mom. It was time to start taking care of myself and giving myself what I wanted (because I realized then that no one else would)<— some friends called that irresponsible. But hey, I couldn’t afford therapy after my mom’s passing (weirdly, just a few sessions cost a lot more than I imagined without insurance), but I could afford new shoes and some nice nights out for sushi and movies here and then. Anyway, that was almost 7 years ago. Fast forward to now, and the circumstances have changed quite a bit.
I’m married to a German, living in Germany, speaking German albeit more poorly than I’d like, with a dual citizen baby running around causing mayhem. If you would have told me then what my life would be like down the line, I would have scoffed. I had big, fat plans. But plans change, and so did I. I’m a jobless weirdo with curly hair in desperate need of a haircut that I’m too afraid to get, with no real disposable income to call mine and mine alone, and I’m not as fat as I used to be, but not as thin as I used to be either. I may not have the wrinkles, I definitely cannot pretend to know it all anymore (wait, did I ever?) and the world has left a mark on me that will not, can not, be erased but I’m learning to cope.
You ever notice that when you resolve to be the best you possible, people tend to remember the old, developing you and try to make project that back at you again? I remember one friend telling me she could read me like a book she read twice. Now, she wouldn’t even know the book. I reached out to a cousin to explain a problem we had in communication, and she told me that I’m a self-victimizing and drama-ridden dullard and she would not be contributing to my hysteria any further. I spent weeks obsessing over that. Am I self-victimizing? Gooooood question. I felt like I was from time to time. I fell into a pit of depression over the past few years and couldn’t remember that the sun could shine through the clouds. Every misstep felt like a failure, and every failure felt like I was incapable of ever reaching success.
Germany has taken a lot from me, and given it back to me in a very different way. My confidence was never up to what it should have been, but here? It’s almost non-existent. I started to run that 5k and left it midway because people were calling me names and made me feel worse about myself. I’ve been spit on, pushed aside both physically and intellectually here, and have not been strong enough to push back. I’ve questioned myself constantly, and wished to be less sensitive…. ultimately less me. See? THAT’S my problem. I could never articulate it properly. I don’t feel like I can be myself here and because of this, I have lost my “me”ness, my Allie-osity, my inner joy with the world. I don’t know anyone down here that looks like me, and because of the depression, any possible friends I may have made up north in Berlin that do have dropped me like a hot potato, somewhat deservedly too. And I don’t know many people here that are interested in a deep, meaningful friendship complete with absolute silliness and spending time together doing nothing special. Perhaps it’s the age now, or perhaps it’s because people already have their best friends and aren’t looking to add to their circle. I don’t know but I understand.
I lost a few friends back home, and although I miss their presence in my life, I don’t miss the intimidation I felt around them to not say something stupid, or the constant judgment and outright bullying. That was just another way that I wasn’t being myself to fit in. And I can’t do it anymore. It’s not healthy and it makes me uncomfortable.
But I do want best friends, I do want to fit in and belong. I want to sing and dance, and laugh like I used to. And I can feel it inside me, wanting to come out. It’s not Germany’s fault that I lost who I am, it’s my own for not being strong enough to keep myself from drifting away despite different surroundings, people, culture and language. Am I self-victimizing? I’m stubborn, overcoming depression, maybe a wee bit dramatic sometimes but only for laughs, sensitive, and exceptionally honest. But no, to be self-victimizing you would have to blame everyone else, the world, anyone but you for your own failures. You have to believe that the odds are always against you, and that you cannot control your own life. That’s not me. Weeks ago, months ago, I may have said yes because I wasn’t sure of who “me” was, and I would take just about any insult thrown at me and internalize it. But I have to be stronger, I have to be me again. I know it’s the path to my happiness. I’m not hysterical, not blaming the world from my problems, and I’m certainly not a dullard. No, I’m learning again, breathing deeply and pursuing the future with a new interest in what role and purpose I might choose to play in it.
Anyway, super personal post aside, thanks for sticking by me everyone while I worked this out. New posts should be exciting, and heeeeeeey new computer!
So. This will be a short and not-so-sweet but hopefully, relatable post. Here goes. I signed up for a 5k. Me, that weird, big black lady living in Germany. Because I wanted to take myself seriously, I wanted to reach new goals and feel good about myself. I wanted to exceed expectations, break the image of stereotypical fat people…. I wanted my daughter to be proud of me, my husband to see that I can do anything I set my mind to— but mostly, this was about me. And in every possible way, I failed and it fell apart. It’s ok to laugh about it, I’m honest enough to admit that I failed in fashion. I got a bag full of goodies the day before the run. It included a XXL shirt (I ordered that size hoping it would fit), vitamins, tea… my number and my chip. The shirt didn’t fit. Now in American sizing, I wear about a 14/16 top size, maybe an occasional 18. The XXL was a Euro size 44, or size 12 American, and the lady told my husband that the shirts run a size smaller, which means that the biggest size you can get is a 10. So that was off-putting to begin with, but I didn’t let it get me down, I mean who wants to wear a bright yellow shirt anyway, right? So I wore my own thing.
The night of, the family upstairs decided to sleep-train their child (the same age as O) with the cry-it-out method. Needless to say, everyone in our building and perhaps beyond was up from 2:15- 4:30, and then again at 6:30-7:30. Obviously, I felt bad for the parents, but was rather miffed about my own lack of sleep. Whatever. I spent the first half of the day thinking about the run to come. An hour before, I ate a half a sandwich, drank some vitamin water and ate a banana. I was ready to go. I stepped outside into the sweltering heat and was like, yeah, this isn’t ideal but I can still do it. When I got to the area filled with runners and family members, I noticed the stares. The looks of pity. I went to an attendant and asked if there was a locker for my stuff. She smiled politely and told me she didn’t understand the question. Well, ok. No problem, I could carry my stuff. Turns out, one of the moms for Mother’s Group was there and told me to drop my stuff with her husband. Task completed. The time was winding down and there had to be maybe a 100 ladies, but I really have no idea. It was packed. And almost everyone was in good shape; only three (including myself) were not wearing the t-shirt. One of them was a lady in a sports bra, mohawked with wireless headphones, so she was legit. And of course as soon as the run started, she took off like a cheetah through a herd of gazelles. I was the only walker. Yes, there were nordic-walkers all around me, and yes they hit me with their sticks. Also they too laughed at me (I’m not even kidding), so I let them pass. I was alone at the end. I held my head up high and tried to jog a bit, but I got too distracted by the jeers and laughter by a group of teen boys. People were watching me, a lot of them looked at me with a look I’ve experienced my entire life: the knowledge that I don’t belong there. Now, this is where you are probably thinking that I’m overly sensitive and maybe prone to social anxiety. Perhaps you are right on both counts. But I’m also extremely honest, and I know when I’m the brunt of a joke, every person who has ever been on the outside does too btw. I made it a third of the way through before the stares, the laughter, this guy calling me a pig, and the anxiety of putting myself in the spotlight caught up to me.
Now, at the beginning of the race, I stashed my phone in my sports bra because, well that’s a safe place for it. I pulled it out much to the surprise of a few elderly onlookers and called my husband.
“I can’t do this. They are all staring at me. I’ve never been so humiliated in my life.”
Tears were threatening to splash the cobblestones underneath my staggeringly fast walking. My mouth was dry from the heat and embarrassment. Don’t let people see you cry, you hold your head up.
I zipped up my sweater— yes I was wearing a sweater because I’m really shy about my big flabby arms, even in the heat— to block out of my running number so maybe that would stop people from noticing me. That’s what my life has come to. Would I do it in the US? Probably not. But here I’m usually one of the biggest people around. And in Germany, you have to accept that people are going to stare at you if you are only a little bit different. And I am a whole lotta different (say it like Foxy Cleopatra!). I met my husband and daughter, and I nearly collapsed into them. I dry sobbed. I wanted, at the moment, to get into a portal with them, and live a life of solitude on a lonely, tropical island in a beautiful beach shack never to see or be heard from again. The Island Life. We walked the long way home, so that by the end, I really did do a 5k and didn’t feel like such a failure. The Husband was a supportive beacon of light as always. These last few weeks I’ve been rather depressed, and to say that this was not the outcome that any of us wanted is an understatement. I had resolved that when I got home, I would give myself time to sob about it; to come to terms with one of my personal nightmares becoming a reality. But instead, here I am writing about it. Because I know I’m not the only one who has done something like this. I know people can relate. I know some of you will get it.
My husband kept repeating that he was proud of me for doing something that is totally outside of my comfort zone. Sure, I didn’t succeed but I tried. It wasn’t the exercise, it was the exposure. I could have done that 5k. I know that with my heart. I’ve been training for it; I’ve been really trying to meet my goals even and especially through the depression. Then he, The German, said something that made me stop. “In the US, you would have had other people walking next to you, cheering you on. The same level as you. You would not have been alone. But they don’t do that here. They are afraid, wouldn’t have the courage to do it. They wouldn’t even try.” Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s the same as when you ask a German to speak English and they say no, no I’m terrible. And then eventually they speak and it’s perfect. Maybe it is the same. But I won’t be trying a 5k again. It’s not who I am. I can achieve goals in my own comfortable way. Whether it’s more challenging work in pilates/yoga or jogging, or if possible, tennis (I love tennis!). I failed, and I’m embarrassed. And I’m disappointed in myself. But I will get through this. It’s just another part of life, right? Thanks for reading….
For giggles, written in the perspective of my18-month old. If you don’t like kids or you only want to read about living abroad, this post is not for you!
Baby’s Log: Nearing Month 18. Life in this world is a routine, but mostly fun. The day begins with either Dada (think that’s his name) or Mommy (love her!) coming in to hear my delightful morning scream, which they don’t seem to enjoy for some strange reason. And that’s if they haven’t spent the night sleeping next to me. I know this seems selfish, but I’m also keeping an eye on them while they sleep to make sure that they are ok too. I am nothing if not thoughtful. Then they dress me, which I protest for a bit, just to show them who’s boss. Then müsli, which I insist upon feeding myself very messily. After all that, and a nice sippy cup of water that I MUST drink on someone’s lap while I pinch their necks, I get to watch some cartoons. I don’t actually enjoy tv, but I really like hitting it to get some attention. And now that they’ve realized that I just don’t dig it, they do some fun animal game on this large phone thing. I like this thing, I’m quite certain it’s mine and that I don’t have to share it with anyone, or hand it over when asked. Plus it has taught me to make weird noises and the word pig. I like to say PIIIIIG and then oink, especially at older women at the grocery store who tell me I’m a cute boy even though I’m wearing sparkly pink shoes and coat. Whatevs. After a very boring hour of entertaining myself because I don’t want Mommy to play with me, but I also don’t want her to do anything other than watch me play (I really want her to relax too), Mommy decides to take a shower. I could give her some space and privacy but I really enjoy draping myself over the bath tub with my arms and head down letting the water soak my clothes and flood the floor. Sometimes she pulls me in and then I’m really happy; I love taking a nap on Mommy’s shoulder during shower time, and bonus, she can’t do anything in there besides hold me! After that, we get dressed to go outside. I’m excited by this because I never know where we will go! For about twenty minutes, Mommy runs around collecting sippy cups and snacks (sometimes I take one of the sippy cups out just to mess with her) and then finally, we go outside. I like being outside unless it’s really sunny or windy. I hate the wind and will stagger cry loudly at random intervals until it’s over; it’s important to me to express my opinions. Sometimes we go to a play group, sometimes the park, sometimes shopping, sometimes to a breakfast buffet. I enjoy all of these things for a while until suddenly, I hate it, I hate everything, and I will throw my juice at anyone in my near vicinity (usually mommy). Then Mommy looks sweaty and shaky, and she takes me home where I can take a nice nap with a bottle of milk, while she lays next to me (where she belongs!) reading some thing. And then nap time is over, and I announce my excitement to continue the day by giggling loudly until I’m picked up. If I don’t get picked up at any point during the day despite my directness, I will shriek as if someone is murdering me. For the remainder of the day, we do various things after lunch like: music class (love it!), playgroup, the park, shopping, play date or have an epic dance party. Mommy starts to look haggard by this point, especially when she tries to clean and I undo everything she does just for fun. She doesn’t laugh about it though, so I kiss her to make up for whatever she seems “upset” about. (I’m quite good at this trick, and I use it with Dada whenever he gets grumpy about me taking off his glasses and throwing them). Then when she’s cooking, I crawl between her legs and try to get into things I shouldn’t just to keep her on her toes. Then while dinner is on the stove, I might (I’ve only done it twice because it’s really hard to escape Mommy’s gaze) sneak into the kitchen- while Mommy picks out a book to read, and turn off the stove. I have no idea why this is so fun, but it usually elicits some reaction from her. When that situation has calmed down a bit, we read a book while listening to classical music. I’m only half interested in this because I’m getting tired and hungry. So this is what Mommy calls “The Terrible Time” where I scream off and on for a half an hour. Say what you want about it, but I feel like screaming is extremely therapeutic before dinner. The Dada’s home. I like that for all of 15 minutes and then I remember that he clips my nails, gives me a bath and puts me in my schlafsack, and I don’t like him again. We eat dinner together, which is loads of fun because I get to fling food around. I see that I have my own plate of food, but I’m quite certain that Mommy’s is better than whatever she gave me. Therefore, I will not be content unless I eat her food. After this, Dada and Mommy spend a lot of time cleaning me and the floor. I try to run away but they always catch me. SO unfair. Then we dance, read another book and when Dada walks off, I know it’s bath time. I do NOT want to take a bath, so I jump on Mommy and wrap myself around her head to the point where she might have difficulty breathing. While in this position, Dada and I have a conversation about bathing. He makes some compelling arguments and then I agree to go. After a few moments in the bath, I remember that I LOVE baths. When it’s time to get out, I’m rather grumpy about it and try to kick Dada. After I’m all ready for bed, I see Mommy coming down the hall with a glowing, mesmerizing bottle of warm, delicious milk. To make her hurry up, I say mommy, Mommy, MOMMY! This usually works. And then I lounge against her, drinking my milk when sleep takes me to pleasant dreams about fountains of milk and rainbows. You know, typical baby dreams. But just to make sure they don’t forget me, I wake once or twice at unbearable hours. —————————————————————————————————————-
That’s my life right now. I hope this made you laugh a bit and wasn’t too tedious. Before I had this delightful child who definitely marches to the beat of her own drum, I never thought seriously about a Stay-At-Home-Mom’s routine or life. Now that I’m living it, I have so much respect for all Moms. It’s hard work, and although sometimes it seems harder doing it in another language and in another country that doesn’t always feel like home, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts! Thanks for reading and sorry if this put any of you off. Until next time,
Parenting is all-consuming, at least for me it is. I love it absolitely, but I wish I had more hours in my day to reply to emails, talk to friends, take time out for myself, shower…. but slowly little pockets of time start to combine into a newfound freedom that I’m exhilarated to use and experience. At 6 am on *most* days for the past week, I’ve got a good half an hour to myself. At first I used it to browse Facebook, get connected to the world again in somewhat useless way. Facebook drives me crazy sometimes and I’m quite convinced that no one is truly as they seem there. Anyway, now I write on little personal projects and I’m able to get some quiet happy time. Well as quiet as I can get if only the little boy upstairs would stop dropping his toy from 5am-7am nonstop over my head. Ugh.
But this is not the only improvement in my life; I’ve begun exercising like never before. Trying to get into shape, taking time to myself to feel healthier and better. And I owe it to my girl H over at Pilates Studio Nürnberg! If any of you are in NBG and like pilates/yoga/exercise, go check her out! I’ve had about 5 physical trainers in my life, and she is by far the only one that makes me feel like I can do it. I’m a chubtastic lady, and while I know I always will be, I’d like to shed some of my fluff, not only for health and all that jazz, but because buying clothes in Germany sucks unless you are thin and have normal sized thighs.
Germany is…. ok. It’s weird. On one hand, raising my daughter here is/will be awesome. So many benefits, good education and all that. But on the other, neither the G-Man or I feel like this is our home. Maybe it’s because we don’t have a house we can paint or a garden to run in, or because we just feel like Bavarians are a wee bit cold. It could be all of those reasons and more. But we want to settle down soon and find our little spot in the world. That’s the plan. Find somewhere in Germany to love, and failing that, think of other places to go. I’m hesitant about going back to the US and I know that’s strange. I’m just not sure I can guarantee that O will get as many life goodies there as she does here. Here, she could walk herself to school, travel more, be exposed to all sorts of foreign languages, see her parents more too, and we can afford that life! There, she’ll get an American childhood (which, hey! I had and I’m alright!) that we’d both be working through, and our vacations would dwindle down to what? 2-4 weeks vacation a year? We get like 8-10 weeks here. Cost of living is lower here (where we are now), quality of life is higher, and I can dedicate a lot of time to my own creative pursuits. I’m just so torn about it. There is NOTHING wrong with the US, well there is, but it’s not like Germany is without faults either, you know what I mean?
I just want O to have the best, and I know somewhere inside of me that this isn’t dependent on where we are but rather how we are, but still…. it’s hard to think big long-term when you are making decisions that affect someone else, also known as parenting. I need to feel like I can give her things I never had. Believe me, I’m already succeeding based on the amazing amount of Lego DUPLO littering our floors (those suckers are sharp eh?). But yeah, we were poor growing up. Second hand clothes here and there, rice with butter for dinner, food stamps, welfare…. you name it. It was my mom raising us while harboring a disability from a stroke, and man, she was a strong woman! I’d like to think I’m strong like that, but I doubt it. I need to— I want to, take it easy in life. And when you are given the opportunity to live a life where you can travel 8 weeks a year, you get money to raise your kids regardless of your income, and you feel like the government works for you, it’s hard to turn away from it. But then, will I ever be a working librarian? Wouldn’t she be proud to see me as a librarian working after school? Can I only do that in the US? Achhhh!! Thoughts are driving me crazy. Where is best? What is best?
Gotta think BIG. I have to make decisions! We need to find our home! What do you guys think? Am I just waxing-poetic? Were you lucky to find a place to settle in, and you couldn’t imagine being anywhere else? My dream place would be a village outside of a city, where there are plenty of parks, loads of nice, smiling, friendly people, the sea, good schools, and it’s not too cold! Where is that?!!