We’re not dead, honest!
It’s been a bit quite round here lately. Did you notice? Did you worry we might have died suddenly in our house and no-one had found us yet? Well we haven’t. We’re still alive. And to prove it, here are some more words of wisdom fresh from the depths of my brain.
I could reel off a list of lame excuses about why we haven’t been posting much lately, but do you really want to read that?
The bottom line is that we have stuff going on in our lives that we’ve chosen to prioritise over blogging. And that’s ok. I haven’t written in a while, but I have been giving a lot of thought to the blog and where it’s going. More on that soon…
For now I’m going to give you a bit of an update on what we’ve been up to while we’ve been busy not writing blog posts. Because we have been incredibly busy – looking back on the last few weeks I’m amazed at what we’ve managed to cram in. Here are the highlights:
Wrapping up our life in Germany after 12 years
There was a LOT of bureaucracy to sort out here. I spent one entire day writing letters to cancel all our contracts (insurance, phone etc.). I never realized quite how many contracts we’d accumulated until I had to get us out of them all. From now on we’ll be taking a much more minimalist approach to contracts. There’ll be a post soon comparing our old situation in Germany to our new one in Romania (spoiler alert: Romanians aren’t that into insurance).
And then there was that time the trailer we booked to transport all our stuff down to Romania arrived a full 10 (yes, TEN) days before we were due to fly down there ourselves. So we had to live in a basically empty flat for 10 days. Cue much panicking and desperate borrowing of bedsheets from friends. It was like a forced minimalism experiment. You know, like on TV when they get families to pack everything from their apartments into a container and they can only take one thing out each day? Only we couldn’t take one thing out each day because the trailer was in Romania and we were in Germany. At least we still had clothes so we didn’t have to run naked through the streets to the container like they make the poor people on TV do.
Saying goodbye to our friends in Germany
We didn’t have a big leaving party because that would have involved us spending the whole night running around making sure people had drinks and not actually being able to talk to people and say goodbye properly. So instead we met people in small groups over dinner or coffee and it was nice to be able to spend time with everyone in a more relaxed atmosphere.
The hardest part was telling Miss W that she’d have to say goodbye to her two best friends from kindergarten. We talked about it several times over a few weeks and she seemed to get used to the idea. The kindergarten teacher was good at helping prepare the kids too, and Miss W had a leaving party in the kindergarten. We had a leaving party for her special friends too and they gave each other photos of themselves to remember each other by. It was really sweet and thankfully there were no tears (I was worried I was going to break down and start bawling but I kept it all together – go me!).
Unpacking and figuring out how our new house works
Initially we considered leaving all our stuff in the packing boxes and only taking things out when we needed them, but somehow that idea fell by the wayside and we had everything unpacked within a couple of days. There’s still quite a way to go but we’re getting there. We have a huge terrace where we eat breakfast in the mornings and enjoy a nice glass of wine in the evenings. Except at the moment, that is, because it’s far too hot.
Enjoying some time off
About a week after we moved I got some time off to go to a language conference in Slovakia. It was really, really nice to just be me and not part of a couple or someone’s mother. I badly needed the break after all the stress of moving and I had an amazing time. Sleeping late was an added bonus!
Visiting family in deepest Transylvania
In June we took the kids to the village where Mr. W’s mother comes from. We have a lot of family there, with lots of kids for Miss W and Little W to play with. We splashed in the stream, climbed a big hill and watched the cows coming home from the pasture (Miss W was particularly fascinated when one of them started pooing).
Earlier this month we went to visit some more of Mr. W’s cousins (he has a LOT of cousins) in the middle of Romania, up in the mountains. The air up there was so clear and the landscape was beautiful. We definitely need to spend more time in that area.
Dealing with Romanian bureaucracy
It’s not fun. We knew it wouldn’t be. But the Romanian civil servants have still managed to astound us with their rudeness and their overly complicated processes. I’ll let Mr. W fill you in on that in another post. To focus on the positives, I now have a tax number and an official bit of paper saying I can live here, and we all have health insurance. We’ve also just kicked off the process to get family allowance here. Let the fun begin…
Turning down work
For some reason, offers of work have been raining down on us since we got here. If we wanted to we could both be working full-time or even more, but so far we’ve managed to say no to most things. Part of me still feels guilty every time I turn down paid work, but Mr. W is really enjoying it. Here’s an e-mail he wrote a few days ago to someone who contacted him with a job offer:
Picking fresh fruit and vegetables straight from the garden
It’s a great feeling to go down to the garden with the kids and a bucket and pick fresh strawberries / raspberries / cherries. I’ve climbed two big cherry trees so far to get to the cherries at the top. Now it’s time to get the blackcurrants and redcurrants in and then make them into jam to enjoy in winter. I love eating fresh food from the garden and preserving it for later. And I love watching each type of food ripen one after the other. I even don’t mind picking bugs off the potato plants – it’s a small price to pay for being able to enjoy lovely organic potatoes. Mr. W is less enthusiastic about this type of work, partly because he grew up with it so there’s no novelty factor, while I’m a city girl who never even set eyes on a cherry tree until I came here.
Watching our kids playing with their grandparents
This was the main reason we decided to move here in the first place. It reinforces our conviction that we made the right decision. The kids love their grandparents and their grandparents love them. They spend a lot of time together playing and doing all sorts of things around the house and garden. The kids keep their grandparents young and the grandparents are teaching the kids lots of useful life skills. Apropos life skills, I’ll be writing more about that soon.
So what’s the verdict so far?
My son has transformed from a bundle of energy cooped up in a block of flats in the middle of a busy city to a bundle of energy with scraped knees, dirty hands and fresh berry juice running down his chin. He’s in paradise. Both kids are having the kind of childhood we wanted them to have, surrounded by family and nature with space to run around, animals to look after and a garden to pick fruit from.
It’s not all a bed of roses – the kindergarten here closes over the summer so we’re basically full-time parents at the moment which can get a bit much at times (and is also one of the reasons we haven’t been blogging much). But we knew that from the outset and we’re spending lots of time with our kids discovering the world, so having less free time for ourselves is a small price to pay.
Watch this space for more about various aspects of our new life!