Welcome! If this is your first log in to the new site and you were previously a member, please reset your password to get the same access and keep your account secure.
I Met A lot of People in Europe…I Even Encountered Myself
That is what I miss most about living in Europe; encountering myself.
Living in a place so incredibly rich with history and culture puts everything into perspective.
You’re just little ole’ you in this really, really, really big place. No one knows who you are. And no one cares who you are. You don’t speak the language (or understand it!). You don’t know your way around. No one is holding your hand.
It’s a challenge, to say the least.
Things that you have been doing on a daily basis, for decades, are suddenly a challenge.
Our first apartment in Italy was … depressing. The entire apartment was wood. Wood floors (that were rough and unfinished to the extent that it was dangerous for Linden to crawl or walk on them), wood wall paneling, wood bench, wood furniture, wood everything. The wood work was probably beautiful years ago but with no one maintaining it (or the apartment in general) over a number of years, it was all falling apart. Even our appliances were broken. I nearly broke down into tears when one of the wives explained how to get hot water in our shower. ‘Turn the water on. Jiggle it to the left and then quickly to the right. Then slowly move it back to the left. Then keep switching it back and forth as you shower.’ What almost put me over the edge was that the shower head wasn’t mounted – imagine trying to control the water temperature with one had while holding the shower head with the other. How does a girl wash her hair? Thankfully, after a few weeks in that apartment, another one became available and we moved.
But you get where I’m going with this … the simplest things you’ve been doing at home are a challenge in Europe. And there’s a huge adjustment period.
Sick babies, ordering at restaurants, grocery shopping, apartment appliances breaking. STRESS-FUL. And that doesn’t even cover the BIG stuff (see any of my posts about Italy).
In June of 2010 I wrote that there were a few people who didn’t think I would survive Italy; that I would be on the next flight home. That was enough motivation for me to get through the first few weeks without complaining about any of it.
And eventually, it stopped being about them and it started to be about me. I was really proud of how well I had adjusted to this new way of life and I honestly and whole heartedly started to enjoy it. I fell in love with the simplicity of it all, once I got the hang of it.
I thought I knew who I was before we moved to Europe. I didn’t think it was possible to know myself any better.
And I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Those five or six months in Italy taught me a lot. Most importantly, I learned just how strong and capable I am.
And our German experience reaffirmed what I learned about myself in Italy. After what we had been through in Italy, I could handle anything, with a smile on my face.
There are a million and one reasons that my husband and I would like to make our way back to Europe next season (fingers crossed because offers start floating around soon). My husband’s happiness is important. But so is mine.
Life is just so easy here. I’m comfortable. I have everything I could ever want or need here. That might sound like a good thing but in this context, it’s a very bad thing.
If you’re never challenged, how do you grow? And if you’re not growing, what are you doing? The answer to that scares me. In Europe, everyone is adjusting to life in a new place and all that it entails. And we were doing it together. Our little family, my husband and his teammates, me and the other girls. Everyone has the same stressors and the same challenges and that kind of bonds you to one another, because you need one another. There really wasn’t time (or energy) for anything else. (At least, in my experience)
Here, it is so easy to lose perspective. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the day to day grind or in the drama of ‘he said, she said’ bullshit that inevitably happens because there isn’t much else to do.
I think that is half of the reason that I have been so down lately. Over the past few months, I have lost sight of what is important to me and of who and what I want to be.
Because I’m not (forced) to encounter myself.
Let’s see … I am a 27 year old technical writer/consultant, I am married to a man who plays hockey for a living, and we have a wonderfully amazing little boy named Linden. I studied Political Science, History and Spanish in university and had hopes of going to law school. I shouldn’t say ‘had’ … I still ‘have’ hopes of going to law school when all of this hockey business is over.
Meeting my husband and having a child has drastically changed the five year plan I created for myself after university. For now, that plan has been put on hold. The next few years are about supporting my husband, raising our son, and enjoying our adventures. The way I see it, that’s not so bad. After all, there are only so many more years that my husband can continue to play the sport he loves … and that Linden will actually want his mommy around 24/7. To see more of my work, visit my blog, ADayintheLifeofaHockeyWife.com.