Homesick

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2007
Homesick
11
Thu, 08-23-2012 - 5:00pm

I thought about posting this to my blog, but it's just a little too raw, and emotional I guess, and I don't want to worry my family back home, so I'm dumping on you ladies instead.

Somehow, when we planned to uproot ourselves from everything we know and hold dear, and move to Germany, I saw only the positives. The adventure. The chance to travel. The opportunity to learn a new language. The new friends and relationships. The work opportunities for Dylan. I didn't see, or maybe just chose not to focus on the the negatives. The loneliness. The confusion. The "outsider" feeling that comes with being in a new culture. The homesickness. The day in and day out of raising two small boys so far away from our families and support system. 

But let me tell you. It's hard. Really, really hard. It's not that all those good things don't exist, because they do. And they probably even outweigh the bad most of the time. But some of the time, like right now, they don't. And the hard parts of this whole experience can just almost crush you with their weight.

I feel like being a mom to such small kids is a lot of work, a lot of struggle all by itself. Then on top of it I have almost no friends, and feel so isolated. It's really hard to make friends with the Germans here. I can always feel this undercurrent of judgement towards me for not being up to snuff with my German. I'm really trying. But it's not exactly like I could have taken German every year in school and just chose not to out of laziness. The option/need never came up at all till we moved here 6 months ago. I feel like I've actually come quite far for 6 months, but when I get around judgy types, I get so nervous, I can't put a coherent sentence together to save my life. It's soo frustrating. I've always felt like part of my identity was being smart, or at least competent, and being here I feel like I've totally lost that. I'm now one of the dumbest people in every social gathering. It stings. It makes me want to go home.

 Everyone and I mean EVERYONE assured me that the kids would be speaking German in no time at all if we moved here. I wasn't really counting on it. But honestly, I really wish people would stop saying that sort of thing. I know kids pick it up faster. But my kids still don't speak any German. And so I find myself looking at them differently. Like they're not really that smart because they've been in Germany 6 months and can only say a few words. Not that it matters how smart my kids are, and I know it's not a competition, it's just hard. James' grasp of English is remarkable for his age, but rather than be grateful for that, I'm constantly (inwardly) frustrated that he doesn't even try to understand/speak German.

Everything is so expensive here, and money is so tight, and hubby is so not concerned about it, and it makes me sick to my stomach. I mean everything is fine and I know it is, but, I don't even know how to describe it. I guess I just want it to be someone elses problem, but if I bring up words like budget etc., DH accuses me of calling him a bad provider. Sooo not the situation, it's just the pay here sucks, and that's how it is, and it's hard.

I was fine yesterday, and I'm sure I'll be fine tomorrow, but sometimes these feelings just crop up and it's so hard to get past. I've been away from the boards alot because I don't always want to be a debbie downer complaining about how hard my life is, when compared to some/most it's pretty cushy. But I could really use some support/encouragment if anyone has some to spare.

 

Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2002
In reply to: graceelou02
Thu, 08-23-2012 - 7:17pm
No advice, but thinking of you! Hugs!
Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2003
In reply to: graceelou02
Thu, 08-23-2012 - 9:10pm
(((hugs))) Grace. you are doing a great job and before you know it family will be visiting.
Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2008
In reply to: graceelou02
Thu, 08-23-2012 - 11:29pm

((((HUGS)))) Grace! One question for you - are you guys definitively coming back to the US after 2 years?

While I have lived abroad, but not permanently and not married with small children, I totally know what it's like to be the outsider. I lived in a small town in Lithuania where most people did not speak English and I cried myself to sleep the first few nights I was there thinking "What am I doing here?" This was 10 years ago. I had no phone to call home and it took me a few days to find an internet cafe. One of the good things about technology these days is that you can call home and you can Skype, etc. so hopefully it helps to bridge the gap a little.

We actually just had dinner tonight with friends of ours who are moving to Turkey tomorrow. The husband is Turkish and the wife is American and they have two kids - 5yo DD and 2yo DS. Their DD will be starting kindergarten there next month and while she understands some Turkish, she doesn't speak it. Their son doesn't speak it and the wife only knows a few words and they've been together for about 10 years so she's had a lot of exposure to the culture through multiple trips to Turkey, etc. They are moving because her DH got a good job there but we all think they are making a mistake (not that we would tell them that to their face though). The husband will be fine because they will be two hours from his family but we are certain the wife will be incredibly homesick as she is very close to her large family. Her parents are angry they're moving but we're all hoping for the best for them.

My DH and I have talked about moving to Turkey or elsewhere in Europe if the right job came along but we've agreed it would only be temporary as we want Selin to start school in the US if possible and not move back and forth like my DH had to when he was a child. Tonight on our way home from the dinner we talked about it again and I told my DH if it hasn't happened by now then it probably won't happen because he's been back in the US for 11 years now. He agreed that the longer he's here, the harder it is to go back to Turkey because there are so many luxuries here that you pay a high price for in Turkey. Granted Germany is probably much more advanced than Turkey but still, there is nothing like the comforts of home.

I enjoy reading your blog and hope you will find peace in your current living situation, even if's just something small - going for a bike ride with the boys, enjoying a free concert, etc. The last 6 months seem to have flown by and hopefully the next 18 will as well.

Please feel free to vent here anytime. We're here for you. :-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2008
Thu, 08-23-2012 - 11:36pm

Thought of a few more questions. :-)

*Is there a LLL group you can join?

*I believe it was you who had mentioned you found an English-speaking church. Are they all German or other expats too?

*Have to tried to Google 'American expats in Germany' or something like that to see if there are people in your area you could meet up with?

*How close do you live to Ash? :-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-15-2001
In reply to: erica812
Fri, 08-24-2012 - 4:14pm

Grace, feel free to dump on us any time!   Although I don't know what it is like to be surrounded by a different culture and language, I do understand the feeling of being away from your support system.  Yes, parenting little ones is very hard and that job doesn't go away when you really need a break.  I do feel the intensity of it, too.  I can't just take my children to my mom's when I need to be with DH or just shop or read or whatever.

I hope the days to come feel better for you.  Go easy on yourself.  I'm sure some of the things you described will ease with time.  You are in a challenging situation!  It would be hard for anyone!

((hugs))  :heart:

Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2005
Sat, 08-25-2012 - 8:41am

Grace, I think you've recieved great advice from the other girls about gettting to know people.

I just wanted to say that you should never hesitate to post about something like this with us. We are all here to help you or at least "listen". And I really hope you feel better in the next days. ((hugs))

Photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-16-2008
In reply to: graceelou02
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 9:35am
No advice, Grace, but know that this is a safe place you can vent anytime you need to. As a friend on another board used to say, we're all in your pocket, so anytime you need us, slip your hand in there and we'll hold it for you. :smileyhappy:
by sara photo sigbysara.jpg
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2005
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 1:46pm
Liz, that is such a sweet quote!

Photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2008
In reply to: graceelou02
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 10:45pm
Lots of hugs, Grace!

-Suzie :)