I would like expand the title of this post to “Realities of my expat life with a baby in a country where you don’t speak the language,” but I thought it was a tad wordy.
I can’t believe that I haven’t posted in almost two months, but the reason for that is that I haven’t had a lot of positive things to post about. But I hope writing about even the not so great things will help me feel better.
The reality of expat life with a baby is that it is HARD! Life abroad when it was just Greg and I was easy peasy. We went where we wanted, ate what we wanted, and didn’t really miss our life in the states. On the contrary, we relished not having a schedule filled with events every weekend. We enjoyed avoiding the drama of our lives in the states. Not to say that we didn’t miss our friends and family, but we were content being on our own.
We came to Germany thinking that we could share that lifestyle we loved with our baby and how hard could it be? We would be together all the time. We could jump in the car and go to new places. We would travel and take our angel along for the ride.
Well, lightly put, we sorely underestimated just what a challenge it would be. Don’t get me wrong. Germany is great and the people we have met here are great, but what is lacking here is the support of home. The first six weeks were great because my parents were here. While they were here, I didn’t really think they were giving me too much support other than company. When they left I quickly realized how much they helped.
So it took some adjusting after they left in mid October, but we slowly were figuring it out. We joined a gym that had a daycare so we could get some working out in, which gave me a break.
All was well until the last month. To try to keep it short, the hellish month included a health scare with the baby, colds, a stolen wallet to pickpockets, breastfeeding issues, blowing the power out in the entire house, my husband getting the worst flu of his life, and more that I don’t even want to mention. It feels like a black cloud has been hovering over us and won’t go away.
It was scary, especially with health concerns, to be in a foreign country where you don’t know the language and protocols for medical issues. When the issues are with the baby, the concern and worry seems to be amplified in this situation.
And my house hunters international house that is so cute and quintessential German is now not so cute and charming. With a baby on the move, uneven floors with nails popping out are a danger. The spiral stairs are a hazard on their own, but add a wiggle worm in your arms and you have a disaster.
And travel? Well, not so easy when your baby despises long rides in a car seat. And when the baby is sick, that means any trips you have planned are cancelled. If it were just us, we would stick out a trip with coughs and runny noses, but we can’t expect the baby to do that. Our priorities have changed.
So we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we didn’t expect to feel how we feel now. The positive is that it is crystal clear to us just how important having the support of friends and family nearby truly is. Hopefully this will help us to not take that for granted in the future.