Tomorrow will be our 1st year anniversary of our time here in Germany. It’s been a roller coaster ride so far and talking to other ex-pat mums here that’s how life can be when you don’t speak the language and you spend a lot of time communicating mostly with a 3 year old. But there’s that famous quote I like so much:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
It’s a quote that I think a lot about because I am the only one that can make my rollercoaster ride more of a High Swing Ride. Tomorrow I’m back to school to start my B1 course of German as a foreign language and I am applying to jobs that I like the sound of. I know it will be hard giving up the time I have with my daughter currently – it’s such a luxury to be able to pick her up and take her swimming or watch her at her Bavarian dancing class – but as well as the financial benefit working will provide for our family there is the sanity of my mind and also the positive role model that I want to be for my daughter. I’m told that here in Bavaria a lot of mums don’t ever go back to work – I guess its hard when the school day finishes at lunchtime at most schools here – but if we want to stay here then it’s something I must do.
And that’s the million dollar question – do we want to stay here in Germany? One year in and my answer would be a resounding YES. I loved my life in Hertfordshire, and most certainly believed it was a great place to raise my child. However, now we are here I love the beauty of this country – the wide open spaces, the forests, the mountains and the lakes. I love that the children don their waterproof trousers and jackets and get outdoors whatever the weather. I love that it feels safe. I love that when my husband left his passport, kindle, iPad and wallet in a bag on a train the whole lot was returned to him. There’s lots to love. Yes, there are things that I don’t love. I don’t love that women seem to be expected to stay at home – but then again there is a great sense of community here and always lots going on, something that becomes more difficult when everybody works. I don’t love the fact that communicating can be difficult, but then I need to learn the language in order to make this better. I don’t love that they don’t teach any curriculum at kindergarten, but that’s just a different approach to education, focussing on play until the child is 6. It doesn’t worry me very much as I can supplement this and teach Bella myself how to read and write – something I’d have to do for her English anyway, and as she’s bright I’m not concerned. My husband is enjoying his job and asks me where else can you take your team 30 minutes away from work on a team bonding day and find yourself at the top of a mountain looking down on beautiful turquoise lakes? He’s right and so it’s up to me to make this work for me and my family.
Step one of our move is complete – Bella is happy at kindergarten, having made friends and is well on the way to speaking German fluently. We all have friends here and are enjoying our new life. Step two will be a new challenge – my re-entering the workforce, the challenge of childcare and becoming fluent in the German language. Bring it on! Prost!