I got an email last week from one of my favorite professional contacts in San Diego asking me if it was really my family and me on House Hunters International the night before. He had missed the episode, but his sister, whom I don’t know, mentioned that we were on. He explained that she was recounting seeing an interesting Korean family move to Germany and how especially great “the mom” was dealing with three kids in a foreign land. He got the fun of getting to say that he knew the mom!
I’m flattered. It was so nice to hear from this old friend and to get enthused feedback. This just reaffirmed how positive the experience was for us – fun to film, fun to watch.
So I noticed that there was a spike of readers the next day here on expatkimchi.com and a few days following that I at first didn’t understand. (We don’t get HGTV here sadly.) I get repeatedly asked how and when the episode can be watched, especially here in Europe. I’m putting it on my to do list to ask my producer, another great character I got to meet in this experience, if I can post it on this blog.
I will tell you though that it is on my medium term to do list. Right now, I am a crazy lady, and in two and a half weeks’ time I will be CRAZY LADY. We have less than five weeks left till the move to Essen starts. Two moving companies came last week to check out how much stuff we really had. For some reason, required by my husband’s company, I had to fill out a preliminary spreadsheet counting out how many pieces of furniture we have and then estimating how many moving boxes and book boxes we would need. Even though I’ve been moving house with a family every two years since 2010, I am not a pro. I filled it in knowing that the real pros would be coming to take their own tally. I came up with 64 cubic meters. One of the companies estimated 80.
I’m going with the 80. The managing director and IMS, the moving company, has moved me four times already – two big overseas moves plus all of the complicated moves in and out of temporary housing in between. It was with a lot of delight when Herr Müller called me to set up a time for him to visit and do his walk through. Fingers crossed that he gets the bid since his level of attention has always been a cut above the rest, and he and his staff are just really nice. Moving is so stressful anyway. What an unexpected pleasure to work with such nice people in the process and entrusting them with the contents of your home. To boot, he has an awesome carpenter on staff who can fix, install and build anything. This is in addition to the movers who are also pretty handy. (They repaired a standing lamp that my son had knocked over. It worked but it was nearly decapitated, the top hanging on by the cord running through the stand.)
So, I am officially in survival mode. Surviving because of 8 km walks, some quickie yoga sessions, and escapism and prioritising my life around World Cup 2014. Which is a catastrophe since the games start at 22:00/10:00 PM here and have a high propensity of going into overtime and penalty shoot outs. I don’t need any help losing sleep. Even with the support and presence of our outstanding au pair, I have been feeling my shoulders sagging more from the weight of single parenting. At least my husband is back in the country after two weeks in Asia, but his weekends at home come and go with two blinks of an eye. Unexpected stress from issues at school, even in Kindergarten, and anxiety about renting out our house here have kept me up at night. I’ve forgotten what life is like without this constant sense of anxiousness. The move in itself doesn’t worry me, and thank goodness that the renovation of our new house has been going smoothly (knock on wood). We have a competent architect who is unquestionably in charge running the show. I agonised over paint colors last week, but I feel like it was worth it. This is worth another blog post, so I’ll stop here, only to end saying: Farrow & Ball!
The road ahead is bumpy. As much as my dehydrated eyeballs are popping out, I try very hard to remain grateful that this is my road right now. I get stopped all the time by neighbours some whom I know and some whom I don’t know asking about our move (they already know most of the story – small town living!). We all express that it’s a shame, sehr schade, that we’re leaving. But then I always say, but you know what, it’s all good in the end. We are lucky to be able to have the lives that we have in any of these cities where we’ve lived and where we are going – I don’t have to worry about fighting for my daughters to go to school; I don’t have to worry about heavy pollution in our air; I don’t have to worry about getting enough to eat and having clean water; I am not in a war zone. The war is sometimes all in this crazy lady’s head, but no matter what, we’re going to win it.