I haven't always enjoyed my time in Germany. The language and culture made it really hard for me to assimilate this time around. Being a SAHM meant I spent more time at home with my kids and caring for them than I did exploring and integrating into my new environment. Almost all the friends I've made are expats, as Germans are notoriously cold and difficult to get to know, especially in this region of Germany.
|Liam, with Daddy and Oma, when we first arrived|
This is where my second son, Nolan, was born. He has known no other home, and neither has Liam. They have grown here, taken first steps, made little friends, went for play-dates, said first words, ran in parks, went out for hundreds of walks, all in this little corner of Germany. Liam says quite a few words now, mostly in German even though we speak only English at home, and he seems to understand both languages equally. I would have loved to further explore his ability to be bilingual in this country.
They know where their toys are in our little apartment. They know their rooms. They have a routine. This is the only environment and surrounding they are familiar with, and it is hard for me to take these away from them, even though I know life will be equally wonderful, if not more so, in New Zealand.
While living here, we travelled to Lake Como, twice. We went to Milan. We visited Lucerne in Switzerland. Made countless of trips across the border to Strasbourg, France. We were able to spend some time with The Husband's family up in Rietberg in North Rhine Westphalia. We spent a Christmas with his brother whom we haven't seen in years. I was able to do a solo trip to Paris. We've had visitors from all over the world. We've had birthdays and celebrations and dinner parties and BBQs in the summer. We've had some amazing experiences and plenty of good times. We've made some wonderful friends, whom I'll carry close to my heart for always. Of course, I'm sad.
The next three months will be a period of uncertainty and upheaval for my boys, and I wish I could make the transition easier for them somehow. I wish there was a way to explain it, especially to Liam, who may be fine at first, but will be confused when he doesn't see his room and his toys and his friends at daycare for weeks and weeks, and have no way of voicing, of asking, of getting any reassurance, except to show it in his behavior and rely on us for comfort and security.
|Liam, Fall 2014|
I know that the boys are resilient. They will make new friends, they will adjust given time, they will learn to love their new home and environment once we've settled down. But a part of me is also nostalgic about the fact that they will one day forget the first home they've ever had.
So I am sad. BUT I'm also excited, and looking forward to spending some time with my family and friends in Malaysia.
And I'm so, so happy about building our lives in Auckland as a family. To introduce the sand and the sea to my boys. To watch them take in the crashing waves for the first time. To eat fish and chips and minced pies on the beach. To take them to vineyards (okay maybe that's just for me), and parks, and forest trails, and beaches. Teach them to swim. Introduce all sorts of food to them - Kiwi, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean, English, and not just German cuisine. Bring them up in a culture of diversity and variety, where people smile and greet you warmly, even though you've just met, where every second person you meet is of a different race or nationality.
Goodbyes are hard, and sad. But it's almost always closely followed by a warm, loving 'Hello'.
And that, makes it all a little easier to bear.