Dienstag, 17. Februar 2015

Good bye, Germany!

One afternoon last year in late summer my daughter planted herself in front of me with a heavy sigh. 

I was sitting on the couch, working, I looked up and asked her what the matter was. 
Noelle looked at her body, lifted her arms in the air and called out dramatically: 
"Oh, mom! I don’t want to lose my tan! I worked so hard at obtaining it!” 

I found this very funny and replied that for this purpose she would need to live in a place that was warm and sunny year round.  
Noelle: "And where would that be?"
Me: "Well, in California, for example."
Noelle: "OK. So can we move there?” 
Me: "Yes."

So I interrupted my work, looked for a suitable surf spot on the West coast of the US, found a pretty house near the beach, wrote to the owner, came to an agreement with him about a price, applied for visas, booked flights and decided to move to California with the kids for a while. 

(while you read this smoothly in one go, it occupied most of my time for weeks, for take note: if you wish to live in the US for an extended period of time, you might as well plan a journey to the moon. The effort is roughly the same.) 

Quick review:

At this point in time we were looking for a house – while having a fixed date when to move out of our old place of residence. 
There was no appropriate real estate anywhere in sight and I thought spontaneously:
why not?

Why should I move to just any house in the interim, when I can spend the time in a beautiful place just as well?  

Why should my kids study English vocabulary with a lot of effort and little fun, while they can learn the language with not much effort and a surfboard under their arm just as well? 

Why do I have to do everything the most sensible way – and not leave my comfort zone instead, venture into something new and invest my life time in an adventure rather than a kind of “living-on-hold-until-we-find-a-house”?  

Why should I live in a compromise object, while I could go on weeklong road trips along California’s coast with the kids, their skin sun-tanned (all Noelle ever wanted), their hair sun-bleached, their eyes sparkling? 

Why should I not do something that is exciting, new and certainly a little bit of a challenge for me? 
Who is supposed to decide this anyway? 
And who could I complain to afterwards, if I had lived my life just inside my usual comfort zone and if, as a consequence, it had offered only limited excitement? 

And to be quite honest:
I never even thought about the counter arguments, not even pondered about the pros and cons. 

"Can we move to California?” 
The simplicity of the question baffled me, and so I simply made a decision there and then, that afternoon on the couch. 

Very quickly, before any doubts, “sensible reasons” or laziness could get comfortable inside of my head. 
You know, things like:
"Bla, bla... but you need every cent for the renovation…” 
"Bla, bla... but this is all totally stressful, moving out, moving abroad, renovating, everything at the same time…” 
"Bla, bla... what about the kids’ schools, the blog, the construction site, and what if something goes wrong…” 

In the meantime we actually found a house in Germany, which will be our future home – yet it has to be renovated to the core and it will take many months until it is inhabitable. 
But we are not allowed to stay put where we are now either. 

So I will live in California with the children during this time and will return only, once everything is finished: my husband is in charge of the renovation together with a great team, and I am sure that they will be able to manage it wonderfully without me. 
Especially as I keep moving walls and pushing everyone to their limits while doing so. 

During the travel preparations I wrote a few emails back and forth with Eva, who translates Liebesbotschaft and some other blogs and who herself lives in California – she offered spontaneously to welcome my children into her family so that they may learn the language even faster.  
(Apart from that, she has four kids herself and runs a translating business – nothing happening there at all, she is bored all day long, as you can imagine…) 

The kids were instantly super excited – and so I put them on a flight to San Francisco yesterday and while I am writing this text, Ben and Noelle are already in California. 
Noelle waved good-bye with the words: 
"Mom, I think this is going to be the most awesome time ever.” 

And if Noelle says so, it’s true. 

I, however, am still here, packing up everything – planning to host an estate sale I might invite you all to attend?, – then I will put all that’s left into the basement of our new house and follow the children to California in a few weeks’ time. 

Once there I will collect them at Eva’s house, buy a car and take them to our house on the coast. 
Oh, I am so looking forward to it! 

The question every reader is justifiably going to ask herself right now: 


I have no idea! 
Never have I been without the kids for that long. 

Paint my nails?
Dancing on the tables?

For I will have lots of time in the mornings between 4 and 5 am, when I am not busy moving, working or on the construction site! 

And if, unexpectedly, things will get too stressful after all, I will say it in Noelle’s words, who recently had to finish an elaborate paper-maché object for art class here at home – it just didn’t seem to come together and it was nearly midnight, and when it was almost done she tossed it across the table and shouted: 

"F*** this s***, I'm going to California!"


Or else I will sing the chorus of this song!
And I will dance on the tables.

I just wanna live 
Don't really care about the things that they say 
Don't really care about what happens to me 
I just wanna live 


p.s. Isn’t Noelle just awesome? 
"OK. So can we move there?” 

I love her way of thinking! 

Thank you so much for translating this post, dear Eva - and for caring for my kids ;)!

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