Having lived my whole life in one city, in one country I must admit that leaving everything I have ever known behind and joining my husband across the world was, well, challenging. We were moving to a small industrial town of Duisburg in Germany. Looking at the place on google, it was the least fascinating of all the cities in Europe. I had no idea what I was in for, but I knew I that my ‘year in Europe’ sounded super cool, and nothing else, it would make for a great hashtag for social media.
My husband had one shipment from his company that allowed him to send everything he needed to this new unknown place. That was left up to me. I must admit I had a bit of a panic attack. Sending a life in a cardboard box seemed too daunting for me. I carefully chose toys, books, clothes and food that we may possibly need in this new unknown. Despite my midnight google-ing of this small town, I had no idea what it had to offer. Let me let you in on one of the most random panic questions that crossed my mind: “What if they don’t have Rice?”
Well, spoiler alert, they do.
The first week I was here I could only think of the things I left behind. Travelling with two suitcases packed to the brim with ‘stuff’.
I am no Marie Kondo, but I honestly don’t miss the cupboard bursting with clothes. I don’t miss the toys overflowing from boxes, although perhaps my 4-year old may disagree. I don’t miss the travelling to work, those grueling two hours in a traffic jam. I don’t miss the heat. I don’t miss the pollution.
I do miss some things though. I miss a friendly face in the office. I miss talking in a language that people understand. I miss not standing out like a sore ‘brown’ thumb. I miss my son having the time of his life with his friends, he’s not made any yet here and that is quite sad for a mom. I miss having adults to talk to during the day. As much as I enjoy my son, there’s a limit to the amount of 4-year-old conversations I can take. I miss not converting everything into rupees (yes, my middle-class self is still doing that, do not judge me) I miss, and this may seem strange, ambient noise. The first night I was here I swear I could hear my own stomach rumble (very disconcerting that). I miss my dad. I miss my pillows. I miss chaos.
Having been here over a month now, I realized why I had so much panic as I packed. Because deep down I knew that the things I would miss most of all… could never have been sent in a little cardboard box.