This is it. With each day that passes, I am feeling sadder about having to leave now in just less than a week.
It’s been so wonderful being home with family, as I said in my last post. It was nice having Tobias here with me for several days last week, too. Now he’s in NYC until Friday, and on Saturday we are heading to Virginia for a family gathering to see Gram & my dad’s side of the family.
It feels so strange here. Like this is where I belong, here with my family nearby.
But…I belong in Hamburg, too.
I’ve built up a life for myself there. Giving up Hamburg would also be incredibly sad for me, but that doesn’t make it any easier to leave here and say goodbye to my family and friends again.
My husband is open to living in the States for a few years, but if we did, he would likely have a really hard time finding work. My future is in Hamburg, or in Germany at the very least, and that’s a little strange for me right now to think about. It’s so permanent. When we buy a house, it won’t be close enough to drop off the kids for the weekend at their grandparents’. We won’t even be buying a house. It’ll be an apartment, and that’s home, too, of course. But it’s such a different life than what the rest of my family is living out here. And it’s strange to reconcile that with my lifestyle.
I love so many things about my life in Germany. The opportunity to speak a language that’s not my own and improve those skills. Taking advantage of public transportation and not having to drive to work every day. The availability of soft cheeses that are banned in the States because they aren’t pasteurized enough. (I joke that one of my top reasons for staying in Europe is the cheese! But I’m only half-joking!)
I don’t have any insight, any wisdom that would make someone in my situation feel any better. This is not easy. But I know I’m not the only one feeling these conflicting emotions about home and family and living the expat life. We just do what we can, we live day to day, and we take all our vacation days at one time to fly halfway across the world to visit family, fight through jet lag and then say tearful goodbyes a few weeks later. We look at the positives, we get back into the daily grind of life abroad. We make choices that make sense to us to get by however we can.
I’m going to enjoy my last week here. Soak it up as much as I can.