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!