We have now lived in Germany for three years. Over the last few days I have thought about how living here has changed my life. I re-read some the goals and expectations I had, and reviewed the list of things I love about living here and what I miss about Canada. I’m glad I wrote that stuff down.
Even though the last 3 years had its share of challenges, and we just endured another move, I honestly believe and feel I am exactly where I am suppose to be. Even though I had to go through some very painful experiences, they were worth it. I am grateful to have learned a lot about myself, about my relationships with others, and the opportunity (even though forced) to explore what really makes me happy in life.
One of my expectations before moving here was to be fluent in German in 3 years. Well, I’m far from fluent and have realized that maybe I am putting too much pressure on myself to have this expectation of when (or if) I will be. I still try to incorporate learning German each day, whether it is reading a German magazine, listening to the radio, or watching a German show with Little T. I have this instructional DVD that I also try to work on, but sometimes at the end of the day, the last thing I feel like doing is more work on the computer. So, instead I turn on the TV and try watching a bit of German shows instead. The neighbor next door invited me for coffee on Monday morning. Her English isn’t the best, so I will be forced to speak German. Maybe more personal interactions like this will help speed along my learning of the language.
My attempt to try speaking more German at home has also been sidelined by Little T’s preference that I only speak English with him. I decided that I should go along with his wishes, especially since he is obviously motivated to keep learning English and has enough opportunity to learn (correct!) German at school. Maybe he will eventually start responding in German or prefer to switch to German, but right now a part of me hopes we can keep English as our spoken language with each other. And maybe for him English will always be more familiar.
The last 3 years have taught me a lot about material possessions and finances. I learned that having a lot of things doesn’t bring me happiness, but being financially healthy is very important. I like living in a home where all the space is used, but offers enough room for guests to be comfortable. I like that we are able to live with only one car, and I can get around more with my bike which is also better for my health. I like that we only buy food that is fresh and can’t purchase large quantities because of our tiny fridge.
I have learned that experiences are very important to me, and I am grateful that looking forward to my next meal is as exciting as planning a trip somewhere. At the end of each day, I try to think about 5 positive things that happened, and not just to me but to my family and friends too. Three years ago, I didn’t think about my experiences or the little moments in life. I was so caught up in planning and worrying about the future and missed all the little grand experiences of the present. I still have goals for the future, but try hard not to focus on how I will achieve them, but just believe they will be. The future doesn’t worry me anymore. Instead, it energizes me because I believe there is so much to look forward to.
How much longer will I live in Germany? I have no idea. And that’s OK, because it doesn’t matter now the physical location of where I live.
As long as I have 5 things to be grateful for each day, I’m happy.
3 thoughts on “Three Years”
That,s a great blog! l also believe in the little moments are what give us happiness, xo Tracy
Amazing perspective, my dear. Most people don’t experience this kind of growth in a lifetime. If life is the journey and happiness is the destination, then gratefulness becomes the guide. Sounds like you are headed in the right direction…
Well said, Sylvia! And, thanks Tracy 🙂 Big hug to you both!