A lot has happened since returning to the US back in May. In a nutshell – girls got put back in school for the last 6 weeks of the school year; we frantically planned out a move to Berlin over the spring and early summer – schools, neighborhoods, housing and job prospects, etc; sold stuff to weed out our storage and belongings; organized container shipping to get our stuff to Europe; bought one-way plane tickets for late July (school begins in early August in Germany); said our goodbye’s; and Vivian flew to Berlin to secure a place to live. Then all of a sudden we had second thoughts. To make a long story short, this just didn’t feel right to Vivian and in many ways it didn’t feel right to me.
So we reversed plans…Vivian flew back, we secured housing in our neighborhood in Chicago, re-enrolled 3 kids in school and figured out how to get Lillian into a good high school. Thankfully, we (I should say she, since it was her knowledge and blog of our travels that I think got her accepted) were able to get her into the IB program at Lincoln Park High School. This was all extremely stressful but we’re relieved that the kids have their neighborhood and school friends and that Lillian is at a place that is great for her seemingly insatiable appetite for learning.
Since the fall we’ve been figuring it out…I have a job managing properties, Vivian has started a gig as a relocation consultant. And after all of this chaos, we still don’t feel like we’re home or that we’ll end up staying in Chicago. In fact, we struggle every day with figuring out what is right for us and for our children. Should we try Germany again this spring? Is this the right thing to do? Maybe the taste of the World on our travels has just afflicted us with the traveller’s bug and staying in one place is just too limiting. Or maybe we’re just scared to death of relocating without the security of really knowing if it will all work out in the end and that we’ll end up struggling to make ends meet.
I don’t know exactly what it is, but I know a few things for certain, even as we ponder our current existence which is not exactly as we pictured it a year ago: 1) I have no regrets of taking those 8 months to travel with our kids. Whatever challenges we face today, I still believe it was worth every minute and every penny to just go and do it with our kids. I would choose to do it again in a heartbeat if somehow we could pay for it; 2) I might as well start posting to this blog again. Maybe it will help me sort out my feelings about where we are and where we are headed and at least I can share some of the moments we had on our travels.
After all, life is one long journey regardless of whether you’re on the road or on a plane or on your sofa at home. And I feel fortunate that mine continues to be an adventure that I still enjoy every day with my wife and 4 daughters.
Here’s a photo of us planning some travels in a square in Venice. There was no Wi-Fi in our apartment so we had to go to the local piazza to access the Internet. Local kids were running around and playing (that’s Josephine in the background), and the mothers were chatting about the daily things in life I assume. And then there were these tourists sitting intently over our laptop screen trying to figure out where the heck we were going to stay in Florence. Those days are not that different from how I feel today except that I miss the adventure of having to go to the piazza for my Internet.