April 3, 2014

The View From Here: One Way Streets Are Lonely

This week's View is coming to you all the way from Germany!

Deanna Hermann is an expat blogger and freelance writer. She writes today about something I could relate to after we relocated from California to Washington. It's hard to leave people you love behind, but they don't need to make it harder.

One Way Streets Are Lonely

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?

I know my answers to that question evolve as I grow and change. Never would I have thought that one day, the answer to that question would be that I want to become an expatriate.

I got my first taste of Germany when I lived here briefly from 2008-2010. During the end of my stay, I met my husband. I had to return to the states and a year later he followed. We went through the immigration process, married and had our first child all pretty quickly. Like, in the first year, quickly.

As much as we both thought a life in the states was what we wanted, we longed for the simpler life we could have in Germany. We wanted our son to be near family, but also experience that same lifestyle. In addition, I suffer from a chronic neurological disease and you just can’t beat socialized health care. So, in May 2013, we returned to Germany and started our lives over once again.

A decision that big, doesn’t come without some expected fallout. My family, of course, all live in the states. For my mom, especially, this move takes away her only grandchild. We are now approximately 5,500 miles away with a nine-hour time difference. For the most part, my family has been very understanding and supportive, but it’s difficult; small, yet passive aggressive, jabs happen.

And this is where it becomes frustrating.

Often, people make it seem like we have no right to complain about how hard it is when we made this choice. “No one forced you to move”, they’ll say. While there is truth to the statement that we chose this life, it’s no different than anyone else making choices for their family.

For instance, whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a work-outside-of-the-home mom, it’s hard. You are constantly making sacrifices and while the details of those are different, the reasoning behind them is still the same: you want the best for your family, your children. In Las Vegas, my husband and I have a great network of friends, we have my family, we both have career opportunities, but neither of us can accept raising our son there when we have options. I know kids grow up in Las Vegas, but ours doesn’t have to, so we made a choice.

We decided to give up what may be easier for us, what may be better for us, for what we know is better for him.

It’s not that we don’t have family or friends here. It’s not that we can’t both have careers here. Germany is lovely or we wouldn’t have wanted to return, but even the most lovely place can’t mend your heart when you miss your family and close friends from your “other home”. So, sometimes it’s hard and we want to complain when we feel homesick. Mostly though, we just want people to reach out instead of it always being a one-way street. We may have been the ones who left, but that doesn’t mean we have to be the only ones to stay in touch.

In the end, you have to make choices in your life. The decisions are always yours whether you believe them to be or not. Only you can live life the way you want.

We are coming up on our one-year anniversary here and we still believe in our decision, but a little reciprocation would be nice. There’s even this thing called Skype (or Face Time) that makes it easy and free. Try it out sometime, would ya?

Yeah, my mom had a hard time with our move too. And honestly, now that my children are growing up, I can relate to never wanting them to move too far away from me. My daughter sees commercials for St. Jude's and says she wants to work there when she grows up. I tell her there is a perfectly good children's hospital in Seattle!

On the other hand, Deanna is right, we all have to make choices based on what we think will be best for ourselves and our families. Most of the time, things that are necessary, aren't easy.

On the other, other hand, no one should feel like they're allowed to make you feel bad for the choices you make.

It's a touchy thing!

Please leave Deanna some comment love and then get to know her better at her blogs, From Casinos to Castles and My Muted Voice.

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