During my youth, I moved a lot. Being part of a military family, it was natural. Spend three years in one location and then off we went to the next. I do not remember minding it much but I do remember that my younger sister hated leaving her friends and starting over again.
Early in our marriage, we moved a lot. Again, part of a military family, this was a natural occurence, but the moves were more frequent. We spent six months in Georgia, then on to one year in Lousiana, followed by three years in one part of Texas and ten months in another part and finally, three years in Georgia. Many of these moves consisted of us loading our cars with all of our belongings and then driving the cars to location to be weighed before we began the trip. Why did we do this? Because, we would be paid for moving ourselves and we wanted the extra cash. I do not remember minding these moves either. But Dear Husband, who had lived in the same town all of his life prior to college, had a more difficult time. However, it was an adventure and we managed to make the most of each location in which we lived.
Then, with a relocation to Washington, DC, the moving ended. Sure, we moved from townhouse to house and that really was a bit of a pain, but we were in essentially the same location for twelve years. I worked for the same company for those years and it was amazing. However, I do remember that every three years or so, I would get the itch to pack everything up and take off for parts unknown. I would become sick of seeing the same people day after day, seeing the same arrangement of furniture in the house, of knowing what the options were for weekend fun. Soon; however, that phase would disappear and I would be back in love with the "sameness" of it all.
Out of the blue the opportunity came to move...across the ocean...to Germany. We would essentially re-start our lives in a foreign country. The adventure monster stirred in my mind..."We have to do this." And we did, packing up and taking off for parts unknown. By now, we could no longer pack our belongings in our car. We were allowed to bring one car and 18,000 pounds of household items. Unbelieveably, we had about 17,000 pounds of things...how had we accumulated all of this stuff? In the weeks leading to the move, I found it cathartic to go through everything and really determine if we needed it or not. Many trips were made to the Salvation Army and I am sure that the garbage guys loved seeing the twice weekly pile of junk (as I now termed these non-needed essentials) on our curb. In the end, we shipped only half of things and left the rest in storage. We sold a car and the house and off we went to start our new lives.
I actually find moving almost akin to New Year's Day. It is a way to start over. Yes, the location changes. Yes, the job changes. Yes, the friends and the school change. What I am talking about is having the ability to analyze my life and say, "What do I want to change? This time around, do I want to be more social, become more involved in school events, plant a garden or work out more?" So, with any move, I make my Moving Resolutions.
Our time in Germany was fantastic. While we are not nearly fluent in the language, we learned so much. Dear Daughter, knowing no German, blew us away by attending the local German school for six months. Her resulting self confidence is a pleasure to experience. We loved travelling, loved being together as a family and experiencing the new life together. And then...the packers came again...
So now, we are in Belgium. We arrived four days ago. It is very different, but it feels right. We have quickly found a house and soon I will be "nesting" in the new location. Dear Daughter has missed most of this transition by taking a wonderful trip back home. It has given me and Dear Husband time together and the time to reconnect has been fantastic. The move out of Germany went very smoothly. The move into Belgium, so far, has gone smoothly. I have made my new list of resolutions.
And one of these resolutions...we have to do a better job at learning the language. On our third night here, we nearly caused an international incident! We were at dinner; sitting at an outdoor cafe on the Grande Place in the nearby town of Ath (pronounced "Ott"). It was a beautiful evening and we were enjoying two Leffe beers (Belgium has some great beers) when our dinner order arrived. The server mumbled something in French and I nodded my head not really comprehending what she said. Quickly, she placed the two dinner entrees in front of us and it was only after she left, that we realized that the order in front of Dear Husband was not the fish that he thought he would be receiving. In fact, what was there did not look very appetizing. But how do you say in French that you received the wrong order?
Dear Husband, believing that I had received the right order decided to go ahead an eat his meal. I am sure he was not that pleased when I informed him that I also received the wrong order. Sure, it was beef but it was not the cut of beef that I had ordered. Oh well, bites already taken, we continue to eat. Several minutes go by and then there is excitement near our table. More food arrives and our waitress points to our table...then looks confused...how can we already be eating? We are mortified. We are eating another table's order! How do we get out of this? How do we explain this? We solve this by doing absolutely nothing but sitting there in silence. More discussion takes place between the wait staff...we now are staring straight ahead with our hands in our laps trying to absorb into the chairs. I hear one waitress say, "I asked them and they said, yes." Or at least, that is what I think she said. Remember, my French is terrible! Finally, our waitress returns, takes our plates and silverware and rattles something off in French. We look at each other and telepathically say, "Perhaps we are being punished and will not be allowed to eat at all." After a few short minutes, another order arrives...our order. A few minutes later, the other table receives their order. All is well. We finish the meal, have coffee and make sure that we leave a good tip.
Resolution...learn the language!
And so it goes...Bonjour Belgium!