Living in Germany can seem like a never ending vacation with all that there is to do around here–but we also have to live our real lives too. As we’re nearing our three month mark here in south west Germany, reality is hitting most of us–and knocking us to our knees.
Briana has good and bad days–most of them mixed in depending on the minute. Poor Steve, he is dreading the teenage years from what he’s currently watching unfold before his eyes when it comes to her emotions. She broke down crying at the park yesterday because one girl wouldn’t talk to her; turned out she didn’t speak English (we were on base, so we didn’t expect that barrier). But we moved her up to the K-5 group at church this morning and she had a thrilling great time and was chatty for the rest of the day. She talks about how Purcellville is still her all time favorite place in the world and talks about how we’ll go back there when she’s 8…or 11…or 14. Thankful that she’s not quite got a countdown yet. It’s also hard for her because our girl neighbors are 10, 9, and 7. None of whom are really interested in playing with a 5 year old that doesn’t speak their language! Such tough lessons for a sweet hearted girl. She has made a few great buddies–and we’re thankful for them!!
There’s a USAFA family that arrives in Germany this week, and I talked to Briana about being a nice buddy to their little girl because she might miss her old friends too and need a new buddy who knows how she feels. Hoping that focusing on others will help stave off the “I don’t like Germany” moments. She’s also been doing a lot of her own free hand drawing in her much needed alone time, and I can usually tell her mood by what she shows me–this was on a “I miss Ditka” day
Mikey also struggles but in his own ways. He has his highs–walking up to kids and introducing himself like a boss; and his lows–where he’s nonverbal and back to grunting and screaming. Those days are hardest on us all, because there’s nothing much we can do until he comes back to a calmness and can be talked to. I’m fine getting those “looks” when they see a boy who looks too old for his pacifier and bear–because he is a tactile soother, and even when he doesn’t have it, I can tell when he’s upset because he’ll chew on anything.
Mikey also did soccer camp with Briana, but he hated it. Hated it so much he still starts to cry if I ask the kids if they want to go play soccer (as in, down the street in our little field). He had anxiety attacks all week during camp–he only made it one day it got so bad.
We did make quite a few friends at that horrible week of soccer camp, and there’s quite a bit more boy buddies around here than girls, so Mikey’s made a few friends despite the experience of screaming at soccer!
Mikey also takes a lot of comfort in looking at pictures–he has a pile of pictures on his night stand that he goes through often, as well as a book of pictures from his classmates that his teacher sent him!
Evie is starting to talk more–both in German and English–but she’s also a screamer who isn’t a fan of others in her personal bubble. Not sure how she feels about this place yet. She does love the outdoors quite a bit, so that’s a plus! So far, she’s just along for the ride and happy as long as we’re nearby.
We gave her bed tent to another family in the area that was in a similar situation we were six months ago. Tonight is night two in a bed without any restraints…I think she didn’t sleep much last night because she fell asleep sitting up on the couch today.
Steve got a little overwhelmed with our travel heavy first few weeks, and soon he’ll be going TDY (temporary duty) to help out somewhere in southern Germany. He’ll just get back the day before we leave for the U.S. I feel like he and I will both need our little vacation we’ll get by attending my cousin’s wedding in Colorado!
It’s the little things that are starting to get to me–we’re thankful we can make it to my cousin’s wedding, but we’re also missing other weddings this fall. We’ll also miss the birth of a few babies to friends that we’re very close to in Virginia, and that’s digging at my heart the past few days. It’s extremely expensive to fly our family of five back to the U.S., so this trip may be our last U.S. trip as a family for quite a while. It was such a stressful flight coming here (thanks Evie!), and we won’t be able to afford the back and forth for every event. I miss my girls too, raising babies and living crazy lives was easy with them around–one of kind!
And this week, it’s been in the high 40s/low 50s in the morning, and low 60s by the late afternoon. That’s not how I’m used to August–you can’t blink because you’ll miss the summer apparently! I do love the fall, but this came almost overnight! I might need a trip to South Africa this January! I feel ya Mikey
Then there’s our yard…
We really need to cut it back, clear it of weeds (hahahahahaha) and get it ready for the spring so we can utilize the most of it. Our land lord came by yesterday to look at the progress on our new covered patio, and even said he’d brick out the rest of the patio so the first level is all brick! But that we can also do what ever we want–including plant trees! We know stuff grows in plenty here, we just need to get ahead of the weed game…and it’s tiring! I can only do so much with the kids, and Steve only gets about an hour of yard work in after work work. It’s a tough balance!
Lots of hard work going on–both physical, emotional, and spiritual. We’re still glad we made the decision to take this opportunity, and we knew it would be a tough one. Those rough spots are starting to show as the kids realize this permanence.
At least these guys are mostly getting along, and are learning to rely on each other for companionship
Pray for us!