Can you hear it? Because I do, and it's loud and relentless….
Time. Ticking. Away.
My life as I know it will monumentally change 12 days from now and I am feeling its enormity.
After 19 years in the paper industry, my husband is changing careers. He's leaving a dying industry to become part of a growth industry, joining a company that manufactures, among other things, hyper pure polysilicon.
Which tells 99% of you absolutely nothing, eh?
The simplest explanation is it's used in solar panels and microelectronics, and the plant here is sold out through 2015 although it won't even open for production until 2013.
Which is why MY life is changing: Tad's training will take place in Germany while their local facility is under construction.
Ummm, wait…I just did….
So, on January 31 I will join him for about nine weeks as he makes the transition to Burghausen, Bavaria; our boys will stay home under the care of family and close friends. I'll return in April to finish out the school year with them; Tad will make his first trip home in May, and then we'll all go back for the Summer while friends house sit. What happens next school year is still undecided; Thomas will be a senior and that complicates decision-making.
What I DO know is this opportunity is a precious gift on multiple levels; when I allow myself space to contemplate that aspect, I can barely maintain composure–
- Tad has had his eyes open for the right opportunity for a number of years; this position allows us to remain in the place my children consider home, less than an hour away from my daughter's college.
- The opportunity for travel throughout Europe while we have a home base there is INSANE! Burghausen is on the Austrian border near where The Sound of Music was filmed. DO YOU REMEMBER HOW BEAUTIFUL THE AREA IS?! We'll be 80 miles east of Munich, within driving distance (or a train ride or cheap flight) of Italy, France, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, the UK.
I will gladly give up food for travel. Lose weight + see the world = WINWIN
- We'll get to reunite with my first cousin who lives about three hours away. She's lived in Germany over 20 years; I cannot believe our placement is so near, allowing us to get to know each other as adults.
- Personal development. We're going to be immersed in a new culture in a far-away country, challenged to learn a new language. I'd say the odds are good we'll come back different human beings.
- Intercultural awareness. I cannot wait to break the barriers of preconceived notions and stereotypes as we experience the truth that people are just people, the geography is just different. Plus, we get to act as unofficial U.S. Ambassadors; for some, we'll be the only Americans they ever meet!
- Metric. I'll finally learn it. Do you realize the United States is the only country in the WORLD (with tiny exception-I-can't-remember-right-now) that uses Imperial measurement? WTheck is wrong with us?
- Professional development. For Tad…he's a great manager of people and processes and I'm over-the-top THRILLED for this opportunity for him work for a 21st Century company.
- Moving beyond comfort. Without going into detail, I've lived in a spiritual desert for a long, long while. But all the while I've had a sense of peace, believing in spite of my doubt or drought or whatever, that God was accomplishing a work of His choosing in me. Over the past several months he's begun to awaken me from my spiritual slumber, gifting me with a desire to worship Him and read His word, which I assure you, is a gargantuan shift. The timing of this job thing coincides perfectly; to move me out of my comfort zone and beyond the familiar…well…I have a sense that what has come before has prepared me for what lies ahead. I have no idea what that means, but my soul, she's a'stirrin', with expectation and anticipation.
So. What do you do 12 days before you move to Germany?
You pack up everything you think you'll need to live in an apartment a quarter of the size of your current house. It's a guessing game you hope you're close to winning.
You obsess over the illogical. Because my friend Neal (who works for a German company and has traveled there often over the past 20 years) told me to prepare for my trip by using sandpaper to wipe, my current obsession is toilet paper. I've bought 48 rolls so the boys will be taken care of, and the same amount for me and Tad. I also keep binge-buying snacks for their lunches.
You realize you aren't moving to a Third World Country and they actually have super markets, but you can't stop worrying about freakin' toilet paper.
You start talking on the phone for the first time in years. Mercy…I forgot they worked for something other than texting and taking pictures!
You squeeze in good-bye visits but suddenly realize you haven't done a good enough job of planning that kind of thing.
You finally work on your New Year's letter, having forgone Christmas cards because you knew this was coming in January, to let everyone who doesn't read your blog know what's going on. You can't afford that number of stamps.
Every time you look at your kids, you look at your kids. You have eyes to see what was formerly imperceptible, and your heart floats to the center of your throat and you can't speak or you'll fall apart.
s n i f f …
I'm sure much of my writing over the next year will involve sharing our experience with those who care to follow. But, I also plan to finally finish my parenting series, and I'll continue writing for (in)courage, Simple Mom and Therapon, and curate great content for Story Bleed. I'll also continue writing for Vicks VapoRub through March…it is the cough and cold season, after all.
If you have interest in following our Bavarian adventure, now would be a great time to subscribe in a reader or by email; it would mean a lot to me to know you're virtually holding my hand, praying for us before and during Tad's assignment. When I'm with him, I'll be homesick for my babies; when I'm with the children, I'll be missin' Tad something awful. When we're altogether we'll probably be clawing each other's eyes out.
Feel free to chime in with your thoughts on where we need to go and what we need to see; I'm working on our European Bucket List and we'd love to learn from your wisdom and experience!
The Year of Living Dangerously
How exciting for you! I’ll definitely follow along on your journey, even if it *is* going to be from the comfort of my home. Blessings!
Robin, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts from across the sea!! Vat a hhckhhappy oddvehenturrrre avaits!! (Sorry, I don’t know German.)
THANK you!!! 🙂 I've lived from the comfort of my own home forEVAH; it'll be nice to have you nearby to remind me what that's like if I have a sinkin' spell.
Rebecca, now THAT made me grin! B u t, I've been told fake German is a no-no (i.e., altering the sound of English to make it "German"). But mercy, me…when I try to speak the language? Well…I'm sure it'll amuse my soon-to-be-new neighbors :).
You will have an amazing adventure! Good Luck!!
Karmyn, That's what my "One Word" for 2012 is (and what my bracelet says): "Adventure." Cause, I'm pretty sure that's what it's going to be…….
Robin, Sounds exciting!! Best wishes and keep us posted on your journey:)
The toilet paper is just fine, believe me! And everything you may need will be on hand too. And maybe, just maybe, you can pop over to Engelberg high in the Swiss alps above Luzern and I can meet you? I am back and forth from the UK to my sister’s home there all the time. This will be an amazing time. One of my wonderful blogging friends, Susan http://swissfamilyolson.blogspot.com/ lived in Switzerland for a few years and has just returned to the States. Perhaps you could visit her blog and get some info from her. She knows Germany well, and speaks German too! She will know more about what you may need to know. I have met her and she is a delight!
I lived in Germany for 3 years back in the late 70s. You are going to have such a wonderful time. I don’t know if things have changed (probably have) but my advice is eat lots and lots of doughnuts NOW. While there were bakeries on every corner with tons of good pastries, there were NO DOUGHNUTS. I came home for a visit when I was 6 months pregnant with my first child and ate 18 doughnuts one morning. I wish I could tell you I was exaggerating. I am not.
I am insanely jealous that you will be living in the homeland of my ancestors. I am dying to get there, and I’m sure I will . . . one of these days. (I’ll be in Italy this summer, but on a missions trip, so I don’t think I can bop up to say hello.) Anyway, I will be so excited to read every word you have to say about life in Germany. It’s going to be great!
I’m laughing at the small world we live in. Linds, above, wrote about Susan at Swiss Family Olson. I’m blogging friends with her too! I LOVED reading all about life in Switzerland. She’s great, and I’m sure she would have lots of good information for you.
And speaking of Switzerland, if you’re looking for an amazing little village for a getaway, let me know. I know just the spot! Seriously!
I have been reading your blog for a couple of years – but have now subscribed by email (is that the proper verbiage for my action????) My mom was president of a company in Dusseldorf for 3-4 years in the nineties. She lived in an apartment for a month or two at at time, returning to California for 3-4 weeks in between. The main observation that I remember is that the apartment was very small! I’ll try to find out some more tidbits from her experience too!
Thrilled for you – life-changing experience!
Well thankfully i’m already subscribed and i’m looking forward to sharing in your adventures. My sister’s husband was stationed there and I would have asked if you wanted to talk to her in regards to what to expect, but i’m guessing a cousin who’s been there 20 years will know a lot more.
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but from my sister’s experience and my mom’s tales of her visit to said sister I guess you can expect fresher food that actually rots when it should, stores closing at a reasonable time; which may be too reasonable for us Americans, farms and all the scents that come along with them, men shamelessly relieving themselves on the sides of the road and beauty that many only get to see on television. I guess my mom’s shutter finger got a good workout.
I wish you all the best and for God’s light to shine on you and reveal a deeper sense of what His will is in your life. I’m pretty sure unforgettable memories are about to be created.
Oh. Wow. Amazing!!!!! I’m brand-spankin’-new here, but I can’t wait to see what happens next.
And it’s funny, but I’ve had the same kinds of feelings . . . like what has come before is the ONLY thing that could have come before, in order for God to really manifest His will and prepare me to work a work that has just barely begun to unfold. It’s thrilling . . . and humbling . . . and wonderful. I’ve long wanted to stay in various countries (Spain, Korea, England, Scotland, France, almost anywhere in South America, the Philippines . . .) for months and really learn what they’re like, so I’m super-excited for you to be able to (even though you wouldn’t know me from Eve on the street). lol
Have a wonderful time . . . and always make space for Him. When you put Him first, really and truly, He’ll always make sure that the most important thing comes in a super-close second.
crazy! We are hoping to move there by the end of the year with my husband’s company. I am really intimidated at how my 3 boys under 3 will handle it. good luck to you!
I just came in from (in)courage and noticed that you are moving to my neck of the woods! Wonderful! I live in Munich for 3 years now. I know all about the excitement and craziness of seachange. I can assure you, when you trust God and take that leap, you will be so surprised by the way He hosts you in another part of His created earth.
You have to visit Munich. And you have to visit Salzburg. It is truly beautiful. Go take the Sound of Music tour, the hills and lakes region is STUNNING. Don’t forget Neuschwanstein, and the salt fortresses along the salt route in Austria.
Oh, if you drop by Munich, happy to sit down for a tea in one hand and a breze in the other.
You MUST sit on the lawn of the Eiffel Tower one night with a picnic meal and a bottle of wine and watch the lights on the Tower come on. Then stay for the twinkling light show. Magical.
you will be missed…but not forgotten.
you will be prayed for.
you will be loved on from afar.
I lived in Germany for three and a half years and LOVED it! I do not recall sandpaper toilet paper but my ex was a military officer so we used the base and could buy american. Everyday get out and sightsee even if it is in your own town you will be surprised at the wonderful things you discover. All germans speak English although some will pretend not to! There are great outlets all over,such as crystal dirt cheap and villary and boch. The food is fabulous too!!
I am so excited for you, Robin! I look forward to reading about your adventures.
My father is from Germany, so I’ve always felt a connection to that place. I’ve been privileged enough to visit Germany twice, and oh how I loved it! The castles, the food, the mountains, the scenery, the streets and houses… It’s a lovely place.
I’m unable to travel anymore, so I’ll be living vicariously through you. 🙂 Have fun!
12 days before moving to Berlin i shipped 1 ton of stuff that turned out to be completely unnecessary.
But I was younger and am sure you’re making much better decisions…
What a wonderful invitation to trust – on both sides of the ocean. I love seeing Him draw you into deeper relationship – and that you are so incredibly open.
Prayers for all these last days of familar to go smoothly and the transition to be FUN!
Did I read you are leaving your children home? are they grown or what am I missing out?
Thank you for your comments & keep ’em comin’! I love learning travel tips.
I’ll be replying to each of you soon, but for now have to check a few things off the list. THANK YOU in advance for your understanding!
Robin, Hi from Munich, Bavaria! I’m ahead of you by only 5 mos, moving here last Aug. Once the craziness is over..you will love it-God has you on a grand adventure! A few ideas for packing; 2 wall clocks (found mine for $4/ea at Target) then you can quickly tell the time in the USA & Germany. Also..as someone else mentioned, the t.p. is just fine here! 😉 Instead, here’s what I filled a suitcase with on my return trip from Christmas in MI; organic mac n cheese-about 12 boxes, choc. chips, plain canned pumpkin-10 cans! (My favorite muffins are pumpkin-choc. chip, and the only place to buy canned pumpkin was at an “American Heritage” store for about equivalent of $7/ea!! I bought’em tho cuz I was desperate for the muffins…but insane right?!), confectioners sugar, EmergenC & a few Reese Cups. If you bake a lot grab a box of baking soda & baking powder b/c typically these only come in little packets here! My hubbie got me an iphone here which I mostly use for “Google Translate” & as a GPS-total lifesaver! I bought a nice wicker basket here that I take to the grocery about every other day…yes you shop a lot because a) the fridges are tiny and b) you can’t carry a lot! I gave away about half my wardrobe b/c closet space is at a premium. But wow..it was SO freeing to clear out closet clutter. The things you think ‘someday I’ll wear this’ but you don’t-gone! Love it. Plus excuse to purchase cool european clothes at 3x the cost 😉 Not sure how your lifestyle will be, but mine changed drastically from mini-van suburban mom to euro-urban-walking-subway mom. I have the answer to this life-change in one word: DANSKO. Buy a pair, or 2 or 3 😉 Ok…those are the tips on the top of my mind! Good Luck & looking forward to seeing this thru your eyes in the next year.
Just now saw this post…can I just say how insanely jealous of you I am right now? Germany is one place I’ve always wanted to visit. (I’m also insanely excited for you and am already anticipating your blog posts to come!)
Also…just for fun…my first thought when I read “hyper pure polysilicon” was: “Cool!” I’m a dork like that, I guess…I like polymers!
I am JUST NOW getting caught up with you girl but very very excited for you and your family. This is such an incredible opportunity!!!!!!! Can’t wait to follow along. I have never been to Europe. You must take tons and tons and tons of purdy pictures (I know you will.)
Robin, came over from a Tweet & read this post! Wow, lady you are in for an adventure. I wish you the best & can’t wait to see your tweets and hear about all the fun things you will see. Have a wonderful time, hope you get to Italy! My fave place in the world!
We just moved to Germany in April of 2011 and it was a bit of a shock. Life here is different from the States….not good or bad….just different and takes some time to adjust to. Just take it slow and enjoy the time you have here….especially the travel. Have a lovely adventure!