It was March 15, 2011, getting ready for my flight to Stuttgart, Germany. The start of the year had been so much on our family. My granddad passed away in January. It was a real shock. This was the first time that a really close love one had died. My grandparents raised me, so when he died, my mom, stepdad, and grandmother weren’t prepared for that.
With all of that, months down the road we knew more changes were going to happen. My stepdad knew something different was on the horizon, him and my mom were off to Germany. I was on the fence about going. I had never been to Europe. Besides random trips to Canada, had never been out of the country. I was working my job at a Hilton Garden Inn in Aberdeen, Maryland. It wasn’t the best job, but I was actually liking it. Though to be honest it wasn’t going well. I wasn’t a good manager. I had a hard time with my employees. I knew how to do certain things, but anyone that really knows me. I’m not a leader. I can do certain things, but leading isn’t my thing.
When it came time to finally make the decision, I knew what I had to do. Stuttgart, Germany was the place to at least give a try to for a few months. I landed late Wednesday afternoon on March 16, 2011. Can’t say really what was on my mind. The flight and layovers were a lot, I guess I was just happy to see my mom and stepdad. It was time to see what being in another country was all about. My plan was to stay from March to November. If I liked it, then I would stay a little bit longer. Fast forward from planning on just staying 8 months, to staying 8 years later, my life really has changed.
Living overseas really is something everyone should do. You learn so much about different things. You learn things about yourself and you can really figure out what is important, as well as who is important. I met so many people, got to experience so much as well, but still didn’t get as much done as I should have. Of course that is life. It’s funny when I would talk to my friends there, especially the American ones, being in Europe, being in Germany, it was like a vacation. To be able to enjoy picnics in front of a castle, that you walked past on a daily basis. Knowing that you are around hundreds of years of history and its not something overly special. Life was just different.
I would tell people that I met when I would come back to the states about the fact you can drink outside was this amazement to me. Mainly because almost everywhere in the United States this is illegal, but to be honest, it wasn’t just the drinking. It was ease of life. In Germany and in Europe you worked to live. You didn’t live, so you can work. In America, everyone lives to work. I learned that there was more to life. Everyday I was able to walk around, not worry about driving here or there, made my heart so happy. The moments I was able to just walk out of my apartment go and do my grocery shopping, then go back out and get a drink with friends. It made me happy.
Now, don’t get me wrong, living abroad wasn’t always the easiest thing. From awful customer service, various times the language barrier just left you frustrated, and the traffic, my goodness the traffic. Being overseas did make me miss certain things about the states. That however got fixed by the fact that it was still different. It oddly felt like home. I had a nice apartment in a decent area of town. I was able to just go out and run various errands without driving. I was happy!
However, with every good thing, it has to come to an end. My work became the reason that I was able to stay in Stuttgart for such a long time, actually longer than I should have been able to. I was going to move last year with my now ex-girlfriend, but again, life doesn’t always allow you to do what you are supposed to do. With the beginning of the year I knew it was time to make a move. That move was spurred on by other life changing events, which I have discussed here. It was time to come back to America and deal with a country that I was still aware of, I mean you have to know what’s going on in the states, you can’t block it out. If you think it’s possible to block it out. You are just fooling yourself. America is like a mob family, you think you are getting out, but you just get pulled back in.
I’m not back in the states, moved to Vancouver, Washington, yes there is a Vancouver in America. Randomly it is about 5 plus hours from the Vancouver everyone else knows. What does this new move mean. No idea, I have to tell you. I just know that right now. I’m missing my friends. I’m missing the Schloßplatz. I wish I was able to just hang out at the biergarten or just shoot the shit with people I felt like were my family.
I hope to one day be able to start another European/Germany vacation for another stretch. It won’t be like the first one, but you can at least try and make the best of it.
Now to get settled in this new life of living to work, but to tell you. I’m working to live a life full of fun. You only have one life, so you have to do what you can to make it great.