11 April 2017

Fisch auf dem Trockenen…I came across this German idiom on the first day that I cracked open my German for Dummies book (Thanks, Sierra!). It’s the German equivalent to our American Fish out of water, and as the near-title to my old blog, I chalked it up as one of the many, many signs affirming my decision to quit my job and go traipsing around the world with Nate. My Muay Thai Kru would call it another sign on the Golden Path. At the very least, it’s probably telling me to restart my blog, so without further ado…cue narrator voiceover…

Last time on a Fisch aug…ahem…I mean a Gisch aug dem Trockenen… we found our heroine struggling with the realities of finding a new identity and healthcare in America.

A lot happened in four years. My identity crisis did eventually right itself with time and the activities that filled that time. I recently summed it up to a friend from the past this way: I worked (with healthcare), started Thai kickboxing, fell in love, and decided to become a vagabond. Well, the last part isn’t exactly accurate. The object of the aforementioned love-falling, Nate, already had his own vagabonding plans when I came along. I just signed up. It was that easy.

Kind of. The signing up for a life of leisure and travel with this guy was bar none the easiest decision I’ve ever made. It was the ripples of that decision that were a little trickier. I’ve always heard about people quitting their jobs and traveling the world, but it seemed as unnatural to me as running away with the circus. Don’t even get me started on how hard it was for me to physically quit my job. I loved my job and the people I worked with. I was sick with stress and sure that I was disappointing everyone. Of course all of the hand-wringing was unfounded. Everyone was wunderbar with an outpouring of well-wishes. What struck me the most, though, was the number of private emails and messages I received from friends and coworkers alike that contained a mixture of healthy envy (I wish I could be that brave…) and offerings of their own leap-of-faith moments and the splendors that followed. To those of you who took the time to do that (you know who you are), danke schön.


Even though I’ve quit my job, it’s still going to be hard to slow down. As my dad recently put it, I’ve been going 55 mph in 1st gear since I started working at 16. This is the first time in my life I can shift into 5th and cruise for a bit. It’s day four day since arriving in Germany, and I’m struggling not to set up imaginary rules and constructs to my day…I need to study German for X number of hours a day. I need to learn how to cook German schnitzel immediately! In truth, I only need to learn how to order one more bretzl (pretzel) or how to compliment Nate’s lovely cousin Annemie on her amazing home cooking. I’m slowly realizing that this lifestyle doesn’t mean that I’m turning in my career plans for lederhosen and a perma-state of Ocktoberfest Tom Foolery. It doesn’t even mean that I need to change my work ethic, though I suspect there will be great value in learning how to slow down a tad. Nate’s cousins are a perfect example. They are both retired, but they talk about “always working”. Their work is a true labor of love though…gardening, grandkid doting, skiing, wood working, tennis playing, eating amazing food, you get the idea.

It will be interesting to see what I will do with all of that time and energy now that I can shift the focus to something that I dictate. So many options! Plenty of people have asked, and while I have ideas, none of them are completely formed. More on this as I settle into a new lifestyle here in Europe. I’m pretty sure I’ll find success, and not just because this fortune cookie told me so. For now, it’s enough to know that there is time to reach it through a decidedly, lazy meandering rather than a one-track sprint. Tschüss!