The Other Side of Exciting
“You’re moving to Germany?! That’s so exciting!!”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten this response when telling people that I met the love of my life on Twitter, quit my job, got married, and I’m now moving to Germany to be with him. And it is very exciting. I’m even taking a few months to fulfill a big dream by traveling for 4 months before trying to find a job in Germany. But it’s also scary as hell.
I absolutely love Andy with all my heart. He is the most wonderful, kind, funny, loving guy in the world, and I am extremely impatient for us to start our lives together. I just wish leaving here was as easy as going there. Moving to Germany DOES sound exciting. I’ve dreamed of living in Europe for years, and being able to experience that with Andy makes it even better. We’ll be living in the middle of hundreds, if not thousands, of years of history, among a different mix of cultures, and with easy access to dozens of other countries. I’m also getting the chance to learn a third language (I speak a decent amount of Spanish, though not fluently) and try out a new career path.
As easy as it is to see all the good things in my future, it’s hard not to focus on the things I’m leaving behind. My parents live about an hour north of Atlanta, my brother and his family are just a 2 hour flight away in New Jersey, and even though my best friends live on the other side of the country, I have lots of close friends right here in the Atlanta area. I’ve even made some friends through Twitter who live in the Atlanta area and are travel enthusiasts as well. I’m comfortable here. I can get in my car and get great Mexican food within a few miles from home. (Germany does not impress me with their attempt at Mexican food.)
I’ve spent the last month going through my belongings. Some went in the trash, some went to Goodwill or to friends, and I sold most of my furniture and my car. I got some special governmental seal that Germany requires to recognize our marriage. I’ve cancelled various accounts, changed my address on countless items, set up mail forwarding, dealt with banking issues, had last lunches and dinners with friends. I’ve also done lots of packing in preparation for my flight on July 8th. Aside from these practical things, I’ve cried at least a little almost every day. I’m in the process of changing every single thing in my life. It’s an overwhelming concept. Sometimes I even have trouble absorbing the fact that I’m really moving to Germany. Like one of these days I’m going to wake up to find that it’s all been a dream, and I no longer have a couch to sit on or a car to drive. But it’s not a dream, and I’m not packing for just another trip. With each piece of furniture I sell comes a sigh of relief and a slightly panicked deep breath, the satisfaction of a lightening load and the heavy feeling of fear and sadness. It’s really happening.
I will learn German. I will make new friends. I will try out every Turkish restaurant in town to replace my addiction to Mexican food. I flew to Europe four times in six months to see Andy, so I know how easy it would be to do the reverse if I feel homesick. I will be back to visit, and hopefully some of my friends will come to see me in Freiburg. So I’ll keep trying to remember that I won’t lose my friends because of a change in geography. I want to live in Europe, and I want to spend my life with Andy. I know that the life I’m about to begin is totally worth the life I’m leaving behind. Even if it means leaving behind good Mexican food.
July 3, 2011 @ 11:15 PM
It will all be worth it. But there is something to be said for mourning what you are leaving behind. Just because you get everything you want doesn’t mean that you can’t want for it all. Take your time, allow yourself the emotions, and then move on to the exciting bits!! Cheers!
July 4, 2011 @ 12:13 PM
I’m definitely mourning what I’m leaving behind, that’s for sure! Thanks for understanding!
Caroline in the City
July 4, 2011 @ 1:35 AM
I’ve found some okay Mexican restaurants here and even some okay Southern food. It’s hard to find, but worth it when you do!
July 4, 2011 @ 12:14 PM
Good to know! I’m probably going to try to make my own salsa. Maybe someday I can replicate Nuevo Laredo’s salsa….
July 4, 2011 @ 8:46 AM
I was going to say that “moving can be scary!” and see you’ve said that exact thing in the longer title 🙂
You’re right — this is not preparing and packing for a 2-3 month or even year long trip. This is a proper move! And on the other side of that coin with all of the excitement of sharing a life with Andy are the things you’re changing and leaving to move toward excitement.
Best wishes Ali — you’ve got the love and support of so many people!
July 4, 2011 @ 12:14 PM
Thanks Heather! Let us know if you ever end up in Germany!
July 4, 2011 @ 8:52 AM
Good luck and be excited that you CAN make this change in life. I left everything 12 years ago to move to Atlanta. And, yes, tears were present often and I did make many trips “home” that first year. However, it was the best decision I have ever made. Life-changing. And, you are making a life-changing decision with the one you love. Make the most of it. Enjoy every second. And, as you said, you can always take a quick plane ride back.
July 4, 2011 @ 12:17 PM
Thanks Deb! It’s always nice to hear that other people did something similar and that it was the best decision ever. I am really looking forward to starting my life in Freiburg!
July 4, 2011 @ 10:53 AM
Totally understandable that you’re nervous, you’re making a major life change. And to be honest, I can understand your upset about the Mexican food. Good burritos can be hard to find 🙂 You just need to keep reminding yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing and remember that no-one who ever got stuck in a rut was ever happy, so although major change is scary it’s also starts a wonderful new chapter in your life. Of course you will make new friends and find a love of new foods, because if you weren’t that sort of person you wouldn’t have fallen in love with a great guy that lives in Germany in the first place 🙂
July 4, 2011 @ 12:20 PM
I was definitely due for a big change to get me out of a rut, and you’re right, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with Andy if moving over there wasn’t something I’d be willing to do in the first place. Thanks Julia!
Kent @ NVR Guys
July 4, 2011 @ 11:14 AM
Hmmm, I don’t know about leaving behind Mexican food 🙂 Seriously, though, can’t wait to follow your journey!
July 4, 2011 @ 12:21 PM
It is a bit traumatic to think about not having good Mexican food. Thanks Kent!
July 4, 2011 @ 1:52 PM
Ali, I am so proud of you for doing this. I know it will be a good thing for you to break out and be yourself in a wider world. The best part is that I get to be your partner and go along with you as you take this big step.
We will figure out the mexican food thing. Just have to find the right ingredients.
I can’t wait to see you again, my love.
July 4, 2011 @ 9:37 PM
Thanks Andy, I can’t wait to be there!
July 4, 2011 @ 4:52 PM
Change IS scary! But as you say, you’ll be fine and you can always fly home if you’re feeling homesick! Good luck and congratulations! 🙂
July 4, 2011 @ 9:38 PM
July 4, 2011 @ 6:54 PM
Almost a decade ago Dan and I sold our cars and most of our belongings and got on a plane to Prague with six suitcases and no jobs. Exciting? Yes. Scary? Yes. But, it was the right decision at the right time. Sounds like this move to Germany is the same. You’re leaving many things behind, but you aren’t disconnecting yourself from your family, friends and everything else. And you’ll develop new routines and habits in Germany and grow in different ways. Although, don’t expect decent Mexican food – that’s darn hard to get in Europe!
Good luck and enjoy the journey! And, congratulations!
July 4, 2011 @ 9:39 PM
I love hearing other people’s succes stories with moving overseas. As for the Mexican food, I’m going to try to make my own salsa. Thanks Audrey!
July 5, 2011 @ 1:02 AM
Hi Ali. It is totally normal and healthy to mourn the life you are leaving- it is a good life! Cry and cuss and do whatever you have to do. It is hard to walk away from a good thing, even if you are walking towards something better. But I do belive it will be wonderful. My love to you and Andy.
July 5, 2011 @ 1:08 AM
Thank you Kim, you’re so sweet!
July 5, 2011 @ 10:47 AM
Be brave Ali – you won’t regret it. Besides, Turkish food is amazing!
July 5, 2011 @ 3:19 PM
Thanks Liv! Yep, I like the Turkish food I’ve had there so far!
July 6, 2011 @ 12:49 AM
Just go for it! I left everything I had behind in the UK – friends, family, an apartment, a promising business career – and upped and moved to South Korea. Sure, it was scary – but it was totally worth it. I couldn’t be happier than I am now.
The fact that you’re moving with your husband is even better – you’ll have someone there to comfort you when you inevitably get homesick, and explain to you that what you just said to the waitress wasn’t an order for German sausage, but a dirty, dirty word.
Congratulations, enjoy yourself, and try not to overdo it on the kebabs (easier said than done 😉 )
July 6, 2011 @ 1:05 AM
HA! Thanks Tom! I think I am ready to just go. It’s been weeks of saying good-bye and getting ready to go, and it was (still is) exhausting. I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying your new life in Korea! And yes, I’m sure I will make some amusing language mistakes along the way, but it’ll be good for a laugh. Thanks for stopping by!
July 6, 2011 @ 6:42 AM
I love the story of how you guys got together. I’m sure you’re going to love living in Germany, even if it is a huge adjustment. At the very least the Turkish food will make it worthwhile. 😉
July 6, 2011 @ 10:40 AM
Thanks Andrea! Scary as it is, I really am looking forward to it.
Lorna - the roamantics
July 6, 2011 @ 1:02 PM
what a beautiful honest post ali! i’m really excited for you, but also really understand the weeble-effect that changing so many things in your life at once can have. be extra kind to yourself in this time. it’s a big shift but i’m sure one that will bring so much love, learning, and adventure. hurray for you! 🙂
July 7, 2011 @ 12:49 AM
Lorna, thank you for such great advice! It is exciting & I’m sure it will be great. I’ll definitely try to go easy on myself as I make this adjustment.
July 6, 2011 @ 1:50 PM
You know I’ve been crying just as much as you! I’m sure some of it will be a hard adjustment but you’ll do just fine! I’m so looking forward to meeting up with you again on the road! Have a wonderful move!
July 7, 2011 @ 12:52 AM
Thanks Val! It might sound weird, but it was kind of nice knowing someone else who was out there crying about a somewhat similar life change at the same time. Looking forward to Tomatina!
July 6, 2011 @ 2:13 PM
Ali – I think this is a wonderful opportunity for you. When I moved to Japan in 2002, the social media aspect was pretty much non-existent, and it was much harder to keep up with friends. I sent a lot of e-mails!!! But with your wonderful website already established, your friends will love hearing about your new life and be keen to keep in touch. You will probably even strengthen a few friendships, as odd as it sounds! Mexican food is tough to replace, but I think Turkish food sounds like a wonderful new fix. I’m really happy for you and excited for this new chapter in Ali’s Adventures! Woo hoo!
July 7, 2011 @ 12:54 AM
Thanks Shanna, you’re so sweet! It’s encouraging to hear you were able to maintain & even strengthen your friendships.
July 7, 2011 @ 2:53 AM
It will SO be worth it girlie! And you know what… the one thing I am so sad that I left behind is good salsa (the kind you get is mainly TexMex and doesn’t really exist in Mexico).
Can’t wait to hear about your updates on learning German!
July 7, 2011 @ 1:33 PM
Thanks Erica! I’ll have to have a salsa update on my blog or something as I experiment with recipes 🙂
July 13, 2011 @ 8:34 PM
I know we didnt really talk when we worked together but I think it is great that you are doing or by now have done this. So many times people follow their head and not their heart, In this case you did the opposite and I admire you for that. I wish you all the luck in the world. Enjoy your time traveling and especially enjoy your life with Andy.
July 14, 2011 @ 10:03 AM
Thanks Becky! It was a scary decision to make, but I’m so glad I did it 🙂
July 21, 2011 @ 9:49 AM
what a fantastic way to tell your children how you met 🙂 It really is brave what you are doing and it’s true, not a lot of people would do it!
Cheers to your new adventure!
July 22, 2011 @ 3:52 AM
Dani | Globetrottergirls
July 26, 2011 @ 5:33 PM
I can understand that it must be overwhelming for you to move to a country where you don’t speak the language and don’t know anyone but your husband. And Germany is VERY different from the U.S. Jess moved to Germany under the same conditions, even to a small town where literally nobody speaks English. It took her a long time to adjust and to feel ‘home’. She also is a huge Mexican food fan and had a hard time living (almost) completely without it. Being from Germany myself, I never knew about ‘real’ Mexican food until I visited the U.S. and haven’t set foot into a Mexican restaurant in Germany again ever since 😉
There are many awesome things about Germany though – as you mentioned, the Turkish food, and pretty much everything from the bakery, chocolate cream cheese (!!), all kinds of chocolate products ;-), so many countries just around the corner, Freiburg is so close to the Alps, and wait til December comes around and the Christmas markets open 🙂
July 27, 2011 @ 3:57 PM
I am glad to be in a bigger city where I can usually find someone who speaks English if I really need something. I’m starting German classes on Monday, so that should help some too. I really think eventually I’m going to try to make own Mexican food. Thanks for the encouragement!
July 29, 2011 @ 3:20 PM
My friend Lena moved here from Germany a few years ago to be with my friend Richard as he finishes his doctorate. Now they’re married with a little one, Lora. It’s truly amazing what you are capable of doing in the name of love. Wishing you the best!
August 7, 2011 @ 12:56 PM
Thank you Jenni! I’m glad everything worked out with your friend!
July 31, 2011 @ 7:27 PM
Wow! That’s great! I wish you a happy marriage and have a nice life in Germany. It’s really great in Germany, lots of places to visit, great friendly people and lots of things to do.
August 3, 2011 @ 6:18 PM
i’ve never had turkish food, but every culture has it’s own delicious meals. learning german? moving across the world? that’s just awesome. i hope you have the time of you life. good luck.
October 7, 2011 @ 11:00 AM
I can definitely relate, and I went through similar emotions when I was packing up to move to Germany. Though I realize by now you are already here! 🙂 I’ve been here almost two years now, and there are still days when I miss my old life and my old house with a physical ache.
And all is not lost with Mexican food in Germany – if you ever make it up to Mainz, in the Frankfurt area, there is one shining beacon of a Mexican restaurant called Mexico Lindo. They are from San Antonio and they know what they are doing. Only their chips still suck. Otherwise, I’ve learned to make flour tortillas by hand and I can kick out some bad-ass fajitas. In fact, we’re having a Mexican food party tomorrow night for some friends. 🙂
Let me know if I can help you with anything as you settle into Germany. 🙂
October 8, 2011 @ 11:05 AM
Jen, thank you so much for the encouragement! I’m sure I’ll just keep making adjustments when I get back from my trip. I’m hoping to figure out how to make my own salsa. Andy & I will have to meet up with you sometime & maybe try that Mexican restaurant. Thanks for the link, I’ll definitely check it out!
January 16, 2012 @ 4:59 AM
Did you find work there? I am trying desperately to find a job in Germany so I can be with the woman I love.
January 18, 2012 @ 5:31 AM
I haven’t started looking for a job in Germany yet. I need to learn German first. But I think there are some job boards if you search around. Often it’s easier to find a job if you’re already in Germany. It’s taking a chance, but they’re more willing to take you seriously if you’re already in the country instead of applying from abroad. Sorry I couldn’t be more help, but good luck!