“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.