Guys, we're going home.
Yeap, I've kept it kinda hush hush (well unless you're a Facebook friend, in which case you're probably like shut up about Auckland already), because there were just too many uncertainties, too much to go through/apply for/process, before it could even become a reality, that I really didn't want to put it all into words on this blog.
I wanted to keep an open mind and be flexible through the entire process, so I wouldn't be disappointed should something not happen at a specific time or place, should things fall apart or go awry somehow. I carried my hope with me, silently, wishfully, and went through the physical motions of everything we needed to do to make our way back, one step at a time, without putting too much of my mind on it, although my heart was all in.
But now, NOW that my residency has come through, that The Husband has secured a job, that plans have been made and we're selling our furniture and deciding on flight tickets, I guess there's no turning back - The Mahons are heading back to the City of Sails!
There is so much to be done, and if I let myself dwell on how seriously complicated it is moving overseas with two little children in tow, I will jump into the nearest hole and never want to come out again. As it is, we're tackling things one day at a time, checking items off our (my) to-do-list and trying not to jump too far ahead into the future, while ensuring that yes, we're actually going to have a place to live in once we get there, which is as you know, kinda important when you have mouths to feed and all that.
You would think after moving internationally for the eighth time in the past 15 years that I would be used to this chaos and sense of uncertainty by now. In a way, I am. I know we have much to arrange and plan and organize, but it's a good kind of busy as I know all the energy is going into making our dreams come true. But I've never had to do this with two little children, and I have to admit that the responsibility of taking care of them through this transition, ensuring that their comfort, security and stability is not compromised while we uproot them from the only home they've ever known, worries me.
Nolan will be okay, I think. At the moment he still sleeps anywhere, he doesn't need much except for his milk, some play-time, sleep, and me. He's very, very, clingy to me.
Liam, my dear Liam however, is quite another matter. Not only do we have to make sure his extensive medical file is up-to-date and transferable, we need to ensure all his tests and check-ups are up to date before we leave, that we have medicine on hand for the two months the boys and I will be in Malaysia prior to moving to Auckland, that he won't be too affected by not being in his daycare or in regular contact with other children for a few months, by not having any therapy until we have their residency status sorted once we've in NZ.
He is very much a creature of routine and doesn't do well with the slightest change to his schedule. This will be akin to a tornado coursing through his path. He will be in three different continents and timezones in a matter of months, meeting all sorts of new people, being in new environments over and over again. Until we find a permanent home in Auckland, we'll be staying in short-term accommodation, so we can't really even settle once we get there. It will all take awhile to sort out. I can only hope that my little trooper, who's developed so well over the past half a year, will embrace the changes to come, and that it won't cause any regression in his development or behavior.
|Saying goodbye to Karlsruhe, Germany|
So the process of saying goodbye to Karlsruhe, this small, German city that's been my home for the past 2.5 years, the place where we received our firstborn's diagnosis of Williams Syndrome, where we gave birth to our second son, where I've met some lovely people who I know will always be a part of my life... the process begins now. And it will be bittersweet. Germany's been really good to us despite all the challenges we've had thrown our way.
We've had plenty of wonderful times and memories even if I don't particularly feel any love for the city. I've enjoyed my exposure to the many German festivals, I can now read a menu entirely in German, my thoughts and conversations are peppered with German words and phrasings, our son has been well cared for by the many doctors and therapists who've come and gone even as we were still coming to acceptance of his diagnosis and what it meant for us, I've had plenty, PLENTY, of wonderful German wine and food, experienced a snowy winter again after eight long years, and oh, the magic of Christmas markets. I think I will miss that the most.
The boys and I fly off to Malaysia mid-December, arriving just in time to celebrate my 32nd birthday and Christmas with the family. I'll stay on with the little ones to spend some quality time with loved ones and friends whom I haven't seen in years, which I'm really looking forward to. The Husband will return to Germany to finish up work, finalize the packing and selling of our belongings, before meeting us in Malaysia again, and we will all head to Auckland sometime towards the end of February.
The next few months will be a whirlwind of events. There will be moments where I'll want to give up. There'll be times when I'll think we're crazy for doing this, again, with two little babies. There'll be some tears. There'll be lots of wine and late night scotch to get me through the day. But there'll also be plenty of fun and laughter. Of hugs and hellos. Of having family and friends in our lives again that we had to say goodbye to four years ago. There'll be new adventures and memories to be made. At some point, Liam will stop saying 'nein' and start saying 'noi', with a Kiwi accent. Our boys will grow up by the oceans and beaches, running on the sand, eating Fush n' Chups and Mince and Cheese pies. There will be new friends. I can start working again. We can adopt a dog.
It is crazy. It is risky. It is letting go before we even receive. But you know what? Every time I've moved, every time I've chased a dream, even when people thought I was being silly because I didn't know what laid ahead, or because I was leaving a good job, or because I wouldn't be earning as much money, it has always worked out in more rewarding ways than I could ever imagine. Yes, even our unplanned move to Germany, which has enriched my life deeply. Because at the end of it all, life isn't a game. There's no winning or losing. No wrong or right.
This journey we're on, this endless discovery, all these experiences, good and bad, they only make you more whole as a person. You can't know what you want until you've experienced what you don't want. You don't always appreciate your health until you know what it's like to be battling cancer. You know that life is too short for regrets. You know some things, like running with your children chasing the waves, are worth much more than having more money by staying later at work.
No matter what happens, no matter where we've been or where we end up, it's been an amazing ride. It IS amazing. And I'm so, so thankful for all I've been through... and all that lies ahead.
|Saying hello to Auckland, New Zealand|