May 9, 2014

When Life Hands You Moving Boxes...

Scene from our move to Germany in 2011...

Yesterday morning, D and I had our first of 2 moving inspections. Someone from the moving company contracted to handle our move comes to the house and estimates how much crap we've got (hint: A LOT) and they plan the amount of boxes and crates and manpower they'll need to pack us up and get us out. A very simple process…we've done it many, many times before. Happy to have D home to help me deal with it this time (I typically have to handle these inspections on my own), we woke up at 6:30am…preparing for the guy to be at our place anytime between 8am and 10am. We sipped coffee, got ready, and shuffled a few of my organizational piles around to make a path for easy inspecting. We even made the bed, to keep up civilized appearances, of course. Naturally, the inspector didn't arrive until 9:55am (the frustrating timing that all people in the service industry seem to operate on)…but that's neither here nor there. He had us walk him through our cluttered war-zone of an apartment, showing him what was going, what was staying, and what things we wanted extra care and protection for (the alcohol, TV, and wine barrel, duh). He spouted off instructions for the days the movers are here…all familiar and stuff we have prepared for. As he left our apartment, we let out a sigh of relief. One more check mark off the moving "to-do" list. One less thing to worry about.

Normally during this part of the process, I start to get sad and mopey. The whole moving thing gets REAL. As if the junk piles weren't already real enough, the weight of the process becomes heavy and tangible the second strangers start entering your home with tape measurers. You see the boxes, you hear the packing tape screech across the cardboard (like nails scratching a chalkboard, that stuff), you watch your personal belongings go into wooden crates that you won't see for 60 days (or more) and you essentially become homeless. Most of the time it feels depressing to me. Stressful and depressing. During our move to Germany, I was sad to leave my family and terrified of moving to a foreign country. Although, if you ask my family and friends, they'd say they couldn't tell it. I put on my best brave and happy face and trucked through that move like I wasn't about to poop my pants. Those feelings are a far cry from the feelings I felt yesterday morning. 

It's so friggin' crazy…but now I find myself feeling happy about leaving Germany. Real happy. Watching the inspector measure our couch and inventory our beer glass collection didn't drum up those melancholy feelings I'm used to. Truth is, I'm ready to get the heck out of here. Are you guys just as surprised to hear that as I am?? The human psyche is a complex thing. 4 months ago I was waxing poetic about how devastated I was at the thought of leaving Germany and how they'd have to drag me kicking and screaming through customs that final day. I wholeheartedly expected to be crying every time someone mentioned moving, but these days, even in the thick of this process, I'm screaming inside my head--"GET ME TO FLORIDA, NOW!!" I can't quite put my finger on when this change of heart happened (because I think it's been a gradual thing), but it's definitely weird. I went from mourning the loss of travel and our unique experience abroad, straight to how-quickly-can-we-make-this-move-happen-because-I'm-done kind of feelings. It's like a switch flipped in my brain and I've somehow shut off the panic I felt. Today, I'm so dang happy to be leaving Germany. I feel slimy admitting that. But it's true.

I've noticed a big change in how I view and even live our life abroad over the last couple of months. I've become exhausted of constant travel (I can tell by the way we don't really plan out our day trips anymore)--like my body and mind have taken solace in the fact that we won't be stressing over travel plans or hopping planes so often anymore. I can see our bank accounts expanding...and our other hopes and dreams seem a little more in reach without so much focus on travel. In another way, I'm SO DONE with how inconvenient living here can be. I'm very much over street parking, frustrated with the language barrier (even though I wasn't before), and all around just peeved-off with the lack of instant gratification here. It's almost as if the American in me is slowly seeping out again, no matter how hard I try to keep my European mindset. These feelings remind me of that episode of How I Met Your Mother--the one where the gang didn't want to tell Ted how awful and annoying his girlfriend was for fear of shattering the rose-colored glasses he was viewing her through? Once that glass broke, Ted could see everything wrong about her. I think that's what happened to me. Florida shattered my rose-colored glasses for Germany. Everything I used to think was unique and special about this place is slowly changing into little annoyances. I'm yearning for the familiar. It's almost more than I can stand some days. Not to mention, I'm beyond ready to be in the same time zone as my family again. I'm thrilled at the thought of being included in birthdays and parties and silly things like game nights again. While we've had some amazing experiences of our own, we've gone through most of them alone. And we've missed out on some really sweet things in the lives of our loved ones along the way. A 2-hour flight is way more doable than a 9-hour one, if you didn't know.

 I know I'm still going to miss Europe and Germany terribly (and I hold some incredibly fond and beautiful memories from our time and travels abroad), but I'm more excited for this new chapter to start. I don't remember ever feeling such a drastic swap of emotions in any other moving process we've gone through. I've done a total 180° in a short amount of time. It scares me to be so OK with leaving Germany after being so NOT OK with this move not so long ago. Granted, there are a few things that have happened since we found out our new assignment that have made letting go of Germany quite a bit easier (things I SO want to tell you now, but will have to save for later), but I still never expected to be wishing our time away here. I hope I'm not just subconsciously stuffing emotions down that will eventually creep back up and smack me in the face later. Guess only time will tell for that one. This thing still feels very bittersweet, but also very done. Complete. An expiration well-placed. 

So, that's where my head is at right now. Completely opposite of this post just a few short months ago. Maybe I'm experiencing a weird new coping mechanism…or maybe this is how I know I'm ready for our time to be up here. Peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7) is the song of my life at the moment. While my body is going through all the moving motions here in Germany, my heart is in now in the Sunshine State.

28 comments:

  1. This post makes me really happy, Casey! I'm thrilled that you're in a good place with this move. Before we left Italy, my friends kept wanting to know how I was okay with leaving. It wasn't that I wanted to leave Italy, but I knew it was inevitable, so I made myself think of all the great things America had that I missed. Once I got into that mindset, it helped tremendously with my mood about leaving. You'll still miss Germany—more than you can imagine right now—but you're in such a good place right now that it'll help with you leaving. Woohoo!

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  2. Glad that things are looking up and chugging along for you! I also get like this when something big is coming and find it hard to stay in the present and appreciate what I have rather than already mentally living where I am going.

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  3. I'm so glad that you're feeling more ready! It's great the way the Lord can change our hearts and prepare us for new things. I'm sure emotions will switch back and forth now and again, but, there're new things to come, and you can totally be excited for that :)

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  4. I always feel that way as going home creeps around again. I've been on stints of living abroad since 2010 and I'm currently on country number 5 - the closer it gets to the return journey the more the mindset changes. I feel what you're going through! I've got around 7 weeks left but I'm still solidly in Spain mode thankfully - the countdown can be exhausting! I wish you all the best with your move back to the US. Keep writing this lovely blog - we'd all miss you if you went missing in action!!
    Grace xXx
    theartofwandering.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one who's experienced these roller coaster-type emotions! Maybe I'm not as crazy as I thought, ha! Thanks, Grace! :)

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  5. I'm so happy for you to be finally ready to make the move and so looking forward to it!

    I know exactly how you feel and I agree with you that it might be a weird coping mechanism. When I was in Belgium for my study exchange, and also lastyear in the Netherlands, I totally dreaded the moment of leaving. I thought I just couldn't cope with going back home or somewhere new and I didn't want this adventurous life abroad to end. However, as the date gets close and things get real, everything changes and suddenly I couldn't take anymore of Belgium or the Netherlands. I simply wanted to be back home to start a life all over again and be done with those never-ending farewells. Weird, indeed. As years pass by I realise that somehow I still miss those places which were my home for a while but the fact that my time there was limited maked my memories even more special :)

    I hope that everything goes smoothly and that you're soon enjoying a wonderful new chapter of your life in Florida! xox

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  6. Seems like you're in a good frame of mind right now so two thumbs up for that...and I can only imagine how wonderful you'll feel being so close (relatively) to family again. Florida's ready for ya!

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    1. Definitely in a better place than I was a few months ago...such a blessing! :)

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  7. I felt the same way when we left Germany. At first I was devastated that I would have to leave! I wasn't going! They'd have to kick me out! Then as the move date got closer I felt relief. I was returning to the land of simplicity. If I needed to run to the store at say 2 am there would be a wide variety of 24 hour places to choose from. I would be able to easily communicate with everyone again. I was tired of traveling every weekend. Exploring was fun and I'll never regret it but it's also expensive and can wear you out. One of my friends has actually returned to Germany. I do wish I could go back but I'm not sure I would want to do another 3 or more years there. I do think about it a lot and I miss it. I'm glad that we have great memories of our time there.

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  8. I've felt something similar every time I've moved, though I think it's because I hate the act of moving and being unsettled. As my departure date gets closer, I basically go through the five stages of grief, and by the time I have to leave I've mentally moved on and am ready to get the show on the road. And as someone who lived in Florida for four years during college, I don't blame you for being ready to get there! (Pro tip: get a tiny umbrella. Keep it in your bag. Carry it with you wherever you go. During hurricane season, it rains every. single. day. If the forecast gives any percentage of a chance of rain... it's going to rain. Just a heads up, lol.)

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    1. I love that idea...the 5 stages of grief. I SO GET THAT. And I think I'm towards the end of the stages now myself. I know I'll have hard days where I'll miss Germany so much I can't stand it, but on the other hand, I know it's always there for me to come back to for visits. Won't be the same as living here, but I'll take whatever I can get!

      We've got lots of umbrellas (Germany was notorious for having crazy rain showers, too!), so we're ready for those random Florida storms! I actually am looking forward to a good scary thunderstorm...is that weird? :)

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  9. I'm so glad you feel that way. I wasn't ready to leave Okinawa, even when we were sitting on the place, I would have gladly gone back. I still miss it. I would go back in a heartbeat if I could. Yes, there are inconveniences and it's not 'home'. But, it became home to me. I'm glad you've got a good outlook for Florida. I am making the most of where we are living now, but it just doesn't feel like home.

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  10. I am so happy and excited for you!! I totally get that you are impatient for this next chapter to start!!

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    1. Thank you, Lauren! Definitely ready to get going! :)

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  11. I felt the same way before I left France. It got to the point where I was just ready. I had mentally dealt with the fact that I was leaving so I just needed to get on with it. Of course I miss France like crazy now (but am still overjoyed with how convenient the US is), but when moving day arrived, I was beyond ready :)

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  12. You know I think there are so many positives about coming "home" that it has to impact how you feel. I also feel like (based on reading this blog) that you two truly seemed to live every moment and experience everything you could while abroad. So there aren't regrets or "we won't get to do this." You lived your time there to the fullest, and now you're ready to come "home." I'm sure at some point, months in, you'll get homesick for Germany too, but it's okay to move on now. It will always have a piece of you, but the good ol' US of A does too. So many great things to come!!

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  13. I imagine I'll get to this point when it's time for us to leave Korea. Ready for a change, right? Ready to start living at our new place.

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  14. Oh, pretty lady, I feel you. Those PCS moves are a pain in the butt (especially not seeing your stuff for months), but it's great that you are OK with moving. Whether it's a coping mechanism or you're just so over it and done I'm glad that you aren't gonna mope out of the country. I cried like an angry baby when I left Asia...it wasn't pretty. So, naturally, I'm thrilled that you are thrilled to come back stateside! Also, wwwwooooo! FLORIDA!

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  15. So happy that you are in a good place with your move! We are just a couple months 'behind' you leaving here! We are ready for our next adventure (England), and are so ready to leave Okinawa. We are already dreaming of Europe. Hope the next stage of you PCS goes smoothly!

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  16. Sounds completely normal to have those feelings. And I'm sure knowing that Florida is the next destination really helps! I wonder if your feelings would be different if you knew you were headed to say, the middle of nowhere Nebraska! (No offense to those from Nebraska) :)

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  17. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in having feelings of glee about moving back to the US. Yes, yes, there are things I will miss about England, but... wow. AMERICA and American conveniences. And I can only imagine your travel exhaustion. We haven't squeezed in nearly as much as you and we're just done. Except we have 2 months to go so we'll get in a few more sights, because we just kind of have to, don't we? May your goods be well packed and swift in their arrival!

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    1. Nope, not alone! We're very ready to have parking lots and Target and 24 hour grocery stores again! Enjoy your last few months of traveling!!! :)

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  18. i'm so happy to hear that you're feeling more peace about the move! it's strange how those lovely feelings can change once you have your end date huh? jeremy and i loved korea for three years until a few months before when we have our leave date and knew that we were going home (not that we didn't love it anymore, but as you said, those rose colored glasses flew right off ; ). i thought i would dread the day i moved back to the states but i started looking forward to it more and more! i can't wait till you're back in the states! hope moving goes smoothly!

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