Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Moving Sucks but I'm not going to be a Grumpy Cat about it

I guess we've finally entered that period where it's time to start saying the goodbyes. This weekend we left our apartment and moved into the hotel on post. I said goodbye to my Women's Ministry friends today. The countdown to America has officially begun.

Leaving our apartment had its share of tears. As I walked through before we left, every room had a memory. I thought about the day I arrived in Germany after our wedding and how Fionn carried me across the threshold. I remembered teaching myself to embroider in my craft room, trying to fill up oodles of spare time with something, anything productive. I thought about the days spent battling my German washing machine, inventing things in the kitchen, and time spent drinking tea with girlfriends in my living room. The joy of finally making friends!

One thought that really struck me was how much my experience in this place has changed. If you told me in 2012 that I would be in tears when faced with leaving my Bavarian village in the middle of nowhere, I would have laughed in your face. I would have been elated to get the hell out of Dodge. Moving was hard, and I let myself get bogged down by a lot of negativity. Pretty much, I was the human version of Grumpy Cat.

My goal for our next move!

When I first came to Bavaria, after the newness and excitement of getting married and moving to a new country wore off, it seemed pretty bleak. It took me ages to make friends. I was rejected or just ignored from every job I applied for. I had tons of free time, nothing to do, and lots of people asking me, "What do you do all day?"

In the darkest times, probably about 8 months into my move abroad, I often dreamed of just going back to the States. I wondered if my situation would ever change or improve. I wondered if I should give up hope. I wondered if I would feel this way forever.

Whenever I worried about things as a kid, (which was pretty much every night), my mom would tell me, "The best and the worst thing about life is that nothing lasts forever." That phrase has been on repeat in my brain as I face the daunting prospect of moving to a brand new place, making new friends and a new life, and then (most likely) picking up and moving again later and starting the process all over again.


I'm not going to lie, I'm scared. Scared of all the work it'll require, scared of going through that "period of suck" that everyone endures when they move to a new place, and most of all scared of the what if's.

What if I'm lonely? What if I don't make friends? What if I can't find a job? What if we get sent somewhere I really don't like and I'm miserable?! Oh man, what if we get Alaska??

I'm scared of all these things. But then I think about 2012 Shannon and how much she hated Bavaria and how that girl morphed into 2014 Shannon who ugly cried when she gave up her apartment keys. I think of 2010 Shannon moaning that she was going to be alone FOREVER and just needed to get her brood of cats already because she'd never meet the right guy and how that girl became 2011 Shannon saying "I do." Or how about 2009 Shannon who cried on the train to Paris because she was convinced she'd never live in Europe again or see any of the international friends she'd made that semester ever again. If only she could have seen me a few weekends ago meeting my best friend from that semester for a drink in Berlin.

My point is, despite my fears, I am going to try to embrace two things this year: hope and patience. Life changes and we despair. We get stuck in that moment and refuse to look ahead. But around the corner, sometimes just days or weeks or hours away, is something great. Something life changing. Something hopeful.

Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof - Life is not a Pony Farm

Moving sucks. No doubt about it. But as I prepare to move again (and possible again and again), I'm reminded that moving means a fresh start. I don't know what the future will hold for me. Maybe I'm a few weeks away from meeting a friend who becomes like a sister to me. Or maybe I'm a few opportunities away from the job of my dreams. Maybe I'll be one door over from the neighbor who inspires me to do life better. Who knows?

Yeah, I'll have bad days. Frustrated days. Woe is meeeeee days. But I hope that once my pity party is done, I'll remind myself that being a Grumpy Cat won't help anything and I need to embrace some hope and patience.

Cause the best and worst thing about life is that nothing lasts forever.

(Thanks, Mom.)

18 comments :

  1. So excited to hear where you get stationed! Good luck.

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  2. I love how things parents say when we're young come back to us at the right time. Goodbyes are so so sad because we just never know, but I think you've got a great perspective on how things work out.
    Also, so impressed that he carried you over the threshold. When we got to our flat after getting married, we were so tired that we completely forgot. Romance, hey :)

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    1. haha I was adamant! We were so tired and jetlagged and I was like, YOU MUST!! Not so romantic, but I loved it anyway! :)

      I've really tried hard to work on my worrying this year. Sometimes when I look back at my darkest moments I have to laugh at myself because a few weeks later things totally changed and got better! So I'm trying to avoid giving in to the despair and negativity.

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  3. I found your blog through Deanna (From Casinos to Castles) - and I'm so glad I did! I was a Army wife and newlywed in Germany in West Berlin in the early 80's before the Wall came down, and now my oldest daughter (born in the American hospital there) is seven years into her Army career. I'll enjoy reading of your adjustment to life in the States again, and scanning some of your past posts about life as a military wife in a foreign country. It's unique and special, and the friends you make are family - you'll keep in touch long after the assignment together is finished. I hope your PCS goes smoothly!

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    1. Wow, that must have been an incredible experience! I wish I could've seen Germany before the Wall came down. You're right though, the Army family is really strong when you're abroad. I've made some amazing friends and memories here. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. I love the "Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof"-Sign. Where was that taken? I wish you all the best for the move and your life back in the US!
    Greetings from Nuremberg,
    Jasmin

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    1. Thanks! The picture is from a cafe in Berlin called St Oberholz. I love that German expression :)

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  5. That's a great quote from your Mom and so true

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    1. She certainly seems like a wise woman! =) Good luck as you wait to hear about the next official step. Life's an adventure, no?

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  6. I know that this sounds strange since I only know you through this here keyboard and screen, but I'm really happy that your moving about the same time I am. It makes me feel like I have someone to go through it all with and who understands how terrifying yet exciting it is :)

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    1. Me too!! It's daunting and I'm glad I'm not the only one. Plus we can commiserate about reverse culture shock together ;)

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  7. found you through C2C. I'm a Canadian living in Germany and I found this post so encouraging! Wish you all the best as you head back to America :)

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    1. Thank you so much! I see you're a fellow Marburg lover :) I studied there in 2010. Do you know Erica (http://thebartlettsabroad.blogspot.de)? She's also in Marburg!

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    2. oh I don't know her but thank you for the link!! always glad to meet a fellow Marburg lover :)

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  8. Good luck with the move.
    Your mum is obviously a very wise woman :-)

    ~Bevchen

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