We have now been living in Germany for almost 10 months. Sometimes I can't believe it's already been that long- one year ago, we didn't even know if we would be moving yet! Other times, our life in Vancouver feels so long ago- the stresses and joys both fading a little more every week.
I have learned a lot over the past 10 months. Thought I am in no way an expert on the immigration process, or living abroad, I have had many valuable experiences that have helped me learn and grow. I have also learned many things that are NOT helpful when moving half-way around the world.
Today I just want to share a few of those with you.
I have shared my thoughts on comparison before on this blog, and I will probably continue talking about this as long as I have breath in me.
Comparison sucks. Seriously. There is nothing to be gained from comparing a new home with an old home. One city with another. My old life with my new one. It keeps me from enjoying what is here for me, right now, at this time in my life. It keeps me from engaging fully in community. And it keeps me from learning and growing in new areas I previously had never even considered.
In order to survive these past few months, I have had to shoot down the impulse to compaire the minute it rises up in me.
2. Over- Complication.
I had a conversation with my sister a few weeks ago about how my life is a lot simpler since I moved. I have not driven a car in 10 months. I do not have a valid cell phone number. All the clothes Waldi and I own fit into one closet less than half the size of the one we had in Vancouver. (and it's not even full!) We do not own a dishwasher, a dryer, a TV, a car, or a microwave oven. Our monthly expenses have decreased so significantly it's almost laughable.
It seems funny to me that I see my life here as simpler. I mean, German is one of the most complicated languages in the world and I am completely surrounded by it day in and day out. I think that is a huge part of the reason why it's been so important for us to keep our life from becoming too cluttered. When it comes to settling in here, for me, simple is better.
I am a shameless Perfectionist. One of the things that has always taken up a lot of my thought space has been self-critique (ok let's face it...self-criticism). And to be honest, perfectionism has always served me well. I got good grades. I was commended for the quality of my work. I got offered jobs I really wanted. Sure I was stressed, and often felt inadequate. But somehow I always managed to get around this.
Until. I started learning a new language. Let me just say this as clearly as I can: learning a language requires imperfection. There is just no way around this. You cannot learn to speak if you are not willing to try speaking before you have things perfectly figured out.
and so there you have it. Just three things I've learned to do without.