Life has been chugging along. Busy, monotonous, fulfilled, empty, noisy, lonely, exhausting and rewarding all at the same time. We've just been to visit my family in Malaysia, which was so good for the soul, as well as enjoyed a lovely short holiday in Koh Samui, Thailand, where Liam had his first encounter with the sea and loved it.
Now we're back and facing my second fall season in Karlsruhe. The leaves are falling, the world is in beautiful shades of orange and vermillion, and in my heart I'm already dreaming of snowflakes on my face and a white, white world where all that's lacking is buried beneath the powdery scent of winter.
My baby boy is growing, not so much physically, but in his movements, awareness, connection with people and willingness to try new things. He crawls like a champ now, and is trying desperately to stand, but being vertical is still a developing skill for him. Our days are still up and down. Whenever I think I've accepted his diagnosis, a new fear comes along, a rage from nowhere at the unfairness of life, a deep sadness. And then my boy giggles at something silly on TV and he's just a kid once more - my sweet, funny, beautiful, very challenging almost 20-month-old. And I know, somehow, we're going to be okay.
Oh, and some of you may know this although most won't, but Liam is going to be a big brother. Yeap, we're expecting Baby No. 2 sometime in May next year, and I'm equal parts excited and nervous about this new development in our lives, but more about that another time. At the moment I'm simply trying to cope with being pregnant and incredibly hormonal, dealing with headaches/nausea/heartburn on a daily basis, and feeling exhausted to the bones while taking care of a toddler-who's-really-still-a-baby without any break or help and it's tough.
And amidst all that, I've also been spending a lot of time thinking. Which is, you know, kinda what you do when you're an expat SAHM whose life revolves almost completely around your kid. Also, I've always been naturally introspective and melancholy. I think too much about things best left untouched. I remember too clearly, even though I pretend not to. Usually I'm able to put it down in words, and it makes me feel better. But when I can't, an hour on the piano always helps. Moon River has been my music accompaniment for the past week.
But I digress. Lately I've been contemplating life - more specifically my life and its meaning, its purpose, and the consequences of actions, of fate. Does something happen because it was meant to be? Or is it a chain of reaction that is fluid dependent on your thoughts and actions? Did I end up here because it was my fate? Or have every choice and decision I made in the past, led me to this very point and this very place? Can I turn back somehow, make different decisions that will lead me to the path I want to be on, or will every twist in the road inevitably take me to a place that's pre-destined for me, whether or not I want to? I've never been afraid of making choices. My godma once told me it's better to choose something, right or wrong, than to not choose at all. But these days, all I have is fear, because there is so much at stake now. It is not just me anymore. I can't take off and fly to New Zealand to start anew like I did back then, just because my heart wanted it.
A year and a half ago, I had never heard of Karlsruhe, Germany. And yet, today this is my home. My life. A place I have no connection to or feelings for in any way, where everyday I live feeling almost like a ghost. A place I have to somehow fit into, make work, for the next few years. I'm incredibly lonely here. I flit around, invisible, and just like that, another day has passed. I don't work, we don't have any family here, there is no club/society/organisation that I am or can get involved in. I don't speak the language. They don't speak my language. Some days I hate everything German, even though my husband, my child and my next child are/will be German citizens. There is no ocean. All I have is my husband, my children, my little invisible life with dreams and longings that can only be fulfilled when we go, and some days that is just not enough. Will I spend the next five years being half a person?
And at the end of it all, was it a choice or was it fate? We came to Germany because we had to. Is it still a choice when you're not really given an option?
Some days, the whole nature of life catches me off guard. A single word, yes or no and it changes the course of your journey forever. A decision to move to a foreign country. Sometimes, the inability to make a decision. Choosing to wait for another five minutes, a month, or not at all. Writing that letter, and sending it, or not. Choosing to forgive, to turn back, or to move on. Cause and reaction. Action and consequences. The Michigan snow, the smell of the ocean in Auckland. One decision, and it's a different path in the road, a different man, a different life. And that, is mind boggling to me.
We think so little of our actions when we are young, and yet, every step you take has a meaning. It changes the course of your life, even though you don't know it then.
Today, Kerouac's 'On The Road' is burning on my mind.
I'm thirty, married, with a little boy and another baby on the way, and only just beginning to understand how little I understand.