Old Country/New Country
The nuclear family has been reunited since May and back in our humble Kansas abode since August. We’ve painted a couple of rooms, cut down a ton of trees, and hunted a squirrel out of the attic. Ahhh, the joys of home ownership.
We miss Germany–all four of us. Greta and Dale miss it perhaps more intensely than Ingrid and I do, but even Ingrid asked me today why we weren’t doing New Year’s Eve in Leipzig again, since we had so much fun last year. We miss the slightly slower and more sane pace of life in Germany, even the fact that stores are closed on Sundays. We miss our friends. We even miss the challenge of doing everything in an environment that is a little foreign, in a language that is not our own. Germany is a big part of our lives, professionally and personally for Dale and me. When I hear of other families going to South Africa or to Antigua or to Australia for vacation, I wonder if that will ever be us, since the thread connecting our lives to Germany is more like a rope these days, with a constant tug at the other end.
A new country is being added to the mix, though: Canada. Dale leaves for his new position at the end of January. I’m selling the house here and spending the rest of the academic year with the girls. Solo parenting again. We’re all a bit anxious, for a variety of self-interested reasons. Greta is bummed that she just got back to Kansas and now has to go to ANOTHER FLIPPIN’ COUNTRY and has let us know that it is ALL OUR FAULT. Ingrid is concerned about missing her “favorite friends,” and I have to say that I am 100% with her on that one. I am not only going to miss my friends terribly but have the added uncertainty of not having a job in (or near) our new locale. I’ve applied for one position, so the odds are stacked against me as far as employment goes. Unemployment is fine for the short term, since we’re calling the next year a “husband-funded sabbatical” for me. Book manuscript, here I come.
It is not all anger and anxiety, though. Secretly, Greta is looking forward to another challenge. I think Kansas is a bit of an anticlimax after Leipzig, in terms of new experiences and cool things to do. And Dale and I anticipate (perhaps a bit optimistically) a return to a country with a more tightly-woven social welfare network. Plus, there will be ice skating, the possibility of back-yard hockey rinks, lakes and rivers and waterfalls, more snow, cross country skiing. And moose burgers. I hear moose burgers are awesome!
Ingrid and I need new passports; we need to have the mother of all garage sales; and I need to break it to the kids that the spelling rules in grade school are about to change.