Impressing a new boss

Craig’s last quandary was such an unexpected hit, so I think it’s time for another.

In the two short trips I’ve taken with Craig to Germany, he’s had some, let’s say, difficulties getting the locals to understand his broken German. The first occasion was when we arrived to Germany for the first time. After landing at the Munich Airport, the customs officer took our passports and boarding passes and asked where we were headed. Craig made several attempts to say “Leipzig,” but the man got so frustrated trying to understand that he ended up looking it up in the book instead (the Leipzig airport is very small and is not a common destination for international travelers). He then grunted at us, “LIE-pzig not LEE-pzig.” Though, I was sure we had said it properly. The second occasion was when we were asking the hotel receptionist for directions to a specific location in the city. The woman spoke clear English, but the location name was in German. Craig said the name 4 or 5 times with slightly different variations, but she still wasn’t getting it. I stepped in and said it once in my best German accent, and she got it right away. (Craig wasn’t too pleased with that situation.)

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Moving out!

Last week we had movers over to the apartment to pack up our shipment to Germany! I’ve never had professional movers before, but I think it was such a flawless, streamlined process that I don’t know if I could ever again move without them.

In the weeks before the crew arrived, I had been doing my best to organize our things into several piles – one for the sea shipment to Germany, one for long-term storage in the US, one for necessary items in the interim before our shipment arrives (it takes 4-8 weeks!), and one for donations. I had carved out some areas so I was able to still live in the organized mess I was creating.

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I had spent a lot of time doing this, which I’m sure the movers appreciated, because they barely asked me any questions about what needed to go where. However, this made it incredibly awkward for me on the day of the move. I had to be present to oversee the operation, but I couldn’t help pack anything (insurance reasons), so all I could do was sit there trying to make awkward small talk with the movers and stay out of their way.

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The realities of being the trailing spouse

I know the spirit of this blog is to be light-hearted and positive, but it is also about being truthful, so I wanted to take the opportunity to write about something a bit more serious. From only limited research on the internet, I’ve surmised that my current living situation is by no means unique for the expat community. My husband and I have been married for just about 4 months now and have lived separately the entire time (except for our wedding week, 2 trips to Leipzig to learn the area and get an apartment, and a lengthy holiday vacation spent together). Wow, when I list it out like that I really sound like I’m being petty. The point is, I don’t think it’s uncommon for the spouse of an expat to be left in the home country to tie up loose ends, finish up at a current job, etc. before joining their other-half in the new country. I knew going in that this would be my reality, but in all honesty, I completely underestimated the challenges, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

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