Wanderlust tag

18 Jul

We just got back from hanging out with my parents in Normandy, so I figured it would be fun to do this wanderlust tag.

1. Your most treasured passport stamp?
None. I don’t treasure these things.

2. Can you recite your passport # from memory if asked?
Nope!

3. Preferred method of travel: planes, trains or automobiles?
When I lived in Toronto, I would have said planes because I liked to travel far. But now I’m perfectly more than happy to travel by train or car. Last weekend we drove for 6 hours from Germany through Netherlands, Belgium, and northern France!

4. Top 3 travel items?
– comfy shoes
– my phone (has all my maps and saved wiki travel pages on there!)
– my hot guy (not that he’s an item or anything, keke. he’s just really cute and I like me some eye-candy!)

5. Hostel or hotel?
Neither, I prefer Airbnb or staying in an apartment/house. I like having a kitchen, and it’s usually so much more flexible with check ins/outs, plus it connects you to a local who you can hit up for travel advice. I also like to see how people live in real homes rather than just the inside of a hotel chain.

6. Are you a repeat visitor or do you explore new places?
Ugh, I’m a total repeat visitor. I can’t help but want to re-visit places I’ve already been, sometimes several times. Like I’ve been to Paris 8 times, and London 6 times! None of these trips were work trips either (okay one to London but I extended it for some after work fun!).

7. Do you read up on your destination (culture, history, safety) or do you wing it?
I used to research like crazy when I travelled less frequently, but now that travelling is EASY since I live in and travel mostly around central Europe, I tend to wing it. :)

8. Favorite travel website?
I like happycow (to look up vegan restaurants!) and wikitravel. But I also like to look up blogs from people who have travelled to whatever spot I’m going to and who happen to want to write about it verbosely. :)

9. Where would you recommend a friend to visit? Name city & why.
Honestly, where Martin and I got married was AHHHH MAAAAZZINGGGGG. Fly to Calgary, drive to Banff National Park, and then to Jasper National Park. The drive between Banff and Jasper is like 3 hours, but it will take you 9 hours because you’ll have to stop and absorb the beauty. It’s soooooooooooooo nice. I wanna go there now.

Other than Alberta, I’d recommend you visit somewhere in South East Asia. I hear Vietnam is very nice and underrated as a travel destination. I have only been to SE-Asia earlier this year for our honeymoon in Bali, but that has really woken me up to see MORE. It’s incredible!

I would also recommend that you visit north-west Germany, because I live there and am a super cool person to visit. 8-)

10. You’re leaving tomorrow, money is no option, where are you going?
It’s hard for me to answer these questions because money is never NOT an option for me, and I also prefer it that way. If I could just throw money at every turn, it wouldn’t be fun anymore. I like figuring things out, trying to stay on budget, and working with what I’ve got at that moment.

Like when we were in Beijing, we could have booked a private driver for the day to take us to the Great Wall and back for less than the cost of going out for dinner here. But instead we looked up the local train schedule and figured out how to get there even though we don’t read Chinese. Taking the Chinese train was an experience in itself, and not one that I will soon forget (in a good way).

Instead of sitting alone together in a nice car, or sitting on a bus with other western tourists, we sat with local Beijingers who happened to be touring the wall too. I peed in a squat toilet on a fast moving train! We had to RUN to get a seat because everyone else was also running (there were like a thousand people!). I laughed with glee as I tried to run with the crowd as fast as I could to catch a seat (and I was running slow because I was laughing ^_^). Everyone ended up getting a seat anyway because even though there were a thousand people, there were like 1,200 seats! Asides from the actual Great Wall itself, taking the train there was one of the big highlights of my China trip. And the price? A whopping $1.50 each. Or should I say: Priceless. :mrgreen:

Saying good bye to my flat

25 May

Yesterday I gave up my old apartment, which means we are finally, fully moved into our new place!

It was harder than I thought to give up my old place though. Even my landlady noticed I was tense, and I told her it was because I was sad to leave and that I really like the flat. She asked me if it was my first place because she was also very attached to her first apartment, and then we looked out the window as she pointed to her first apartment. :)

Which was cute to me because the building that I lived in was her childhood home. It figures because the people who live in that region love it so much that they stay very close. Now my landlady is in her 40’s, married, and she moved literally 2 steps away from her childhood home (and first apartment). The other residents of her childhood home (her parents and her sister) also live literally right next door. And who’s taking over the flat after me? Her son! He’s 20 and it will be his first place. :)

This family that rented me the flat was very kind to me. We got along really well despite the language barrier. I will truly miss them and I think they will miss me and Martin too.

As sad as it is for me to give up my flat, I’m happy to be able to live with Martin again. My old flat was for me to forge my own way here in Germany, become more independent, and gain some confidence and work experience. In retrospect, it was a very necessary step in our relationship and my living abroad journey. So it was worth it for the past 2 years but we’re both ready for our new life now.

My new job starts in a week!

I will be taking the train 50 minutes to work, with 2 x ~10 minute walks. Which will be a big change since for my last job, I walked to work in 15 minutes.

We’ll see how the next few months of train commuting + walking goes. I still have a student pass so I’ll be riding the train pretty much for free until October. If I hate it, I’ll consider buying a car which (according to Google maps) will cut my commute down by half. But having a car is such a drag, and will cost more than taking the train, so I’m really hoping the train works out. I expect it work out though because I took the train 55 minutes to uni everyday when I was in grad school, but it was worse then because my train came only once an hour. On my new work-commute, I’ll have 3 trains an hour, which makes a ton of difference.

Overall, I’m so grateful everything is working out so well. I got this job after I gave notice to my old job and my old flat. So, it could have been that I’d be sitting here now, writing about finding something new. Looking for new work doesn’t bother me so much usually, but it is pretty difficult when you don’t understand 99% of the job ads. So, phew.

Martin is also really loving our new life together and we’ve been creating healthy habits together, which I will write about in another entry. :)

How we ended up having 4 honeymoons

24 May

My wedding day was NOT the ‘best day of my life’. It was a very nice day, and I’m very happy that I married the hottest guy in the world, but the day itself was also more stressful than just a regular day.

I don’t like stress, or planning, or even weddings really.

What I’m more about, is the honeymoon. (which is a different type of planning)

Case in point, we’ve been on four of them! :mrgreen:

First honeymoon – Jasper

We went on our first honeymoon before we got married.

Maligne Canyon

We had been together for 6.5 years before tying the knot, and have been travelling a lot the whole time. But, this one was a real honeymoon in that we called it a honeymoon and didn’t have time immediately after our wedding for a ‘true’ honeymoon.

So we booked a nice hotel, and our lovely friends LM and Dave lent us one of their cars, and off we went to Jasper for a few days.

OMG, Banff and Jasper and the road leading from Banff to Jasper is absolutely crazy crazy beautiful. It took us more than 8 hours to drive 100km (usually a 1 hour drive) because we kept stopping and exploring and taking the best picture in every picture (because there are no ugly corners in these parks).

couple

It was one of our best trips ever and it felt very fun having a pre-wedding honeymoon! We did couple-y stuff like pose ourselves for couple portraits using our camera, the delayed timer function, and a tripod.

Second honeymoon – Paris

We ended up having a second honeymoon too when we went on an impromptu roadtrip to Paris a few weeks after we got back to Germany. We live about a 7 hour drive north of Paris, so it’s entirely doable to go to Paris often, and in my opinion we should do it more often! Paris is one of my favourite cities EVER, and an awesome place to visit honeymoon or not. I also lost my wedding ring in Paris on this trip. *sniff* But I guess out of all the places in the world where I could have lost my ring, I’m glad it was in Paris – the city of love – on my honeymoon. :)

la cite

Third honeymoon – Bali

Now we are sounding spoiled but with weddings come family expectations, and there was an expectation from my Hong Kong family that we would throw a wedding reception there when we were ready. Since my brother also got married on the same day, we decided to host a joint HK reception. It was hard coming up with a date for my brother and his wife, so when he asked us a few weeks before whether we could make a Christmas trip, we said Yes. That’s how we suddenly went to Asia to host our 4th wedding reception in 3 months. And since we were already in Asia, we decided to steal away to Bali for yet another honeymoon.

It was amazing!! We stayed in a little villa turned into a hotel, that had individual bungalows for their guests. In the courtyard of this villa where our bungalow stood, was a pool and a lush garden. Everyday we would play with a stray kitten that wandered the property, and she was so precious.

bali

I actually fell in love with Bali and thought maybe we could live there one day. Martin liked it but didn’t like it enough to move there. Maybe I will write an entry about my thoughts on retiring (early) abroad, and all the confusing things I feel about it.

Fourth honeymoon – Munich

Yes, we had our 4th honeymoon just a few weekends ago. Why am I still calling it honeymoon and not just a regular trip? Well, because as part of our wedding gift from Martin’s family (we also hosted a wedding reception in Germany inbetween the Toronto and HK receptions), was a gift certificate to stay in a nice hotel in Munich. It was really sweet because they knew I had never gone to Munich before, and wanted to encourage us to go.

munich

So I consider our recent Munich trip to be a honeymoon too, because it was related to one of our many wedding receptions. And it was relaxing and nice and allowed Martin and I to unwind from our stress.

Too bad life wasn’t always one big honeymoon!!

How we got married and a surprise!

23 May

Martin and I eloped back in October!

After getting engaged and figuring out a wedding date, we started making plans.

The most beautiful venue – Banff National Park

Lake_Minnewanka

First off, we decided to elope in Banff and have our ceremony outdoors. Nothing beats the mountains. We were already planning to visit our dear friends in Alberta anyway, and wanted to spend most of our time in the mountains, so why not also get married in the middle of gorgeousness and ask our 2 friends to be our witnesses?

It was too perfect really.

Except it wasn’t.

Will someone please marry us?

We weren’t doing anything fancy or complicated but needed at least a wedding commissioner to marry us. But most of them were booked because Banff is a wedding destination hot spot in Canada, and the first weekend in October is still high season for weddings. Who knew all of this? I didn’t until I did!

Finally I found a wedding commissioner who had a sliver of time between his other wedding appointments that day, and he agreed to marry us in the evening. Not the best time but right before it got dark, so it was okay. We booked him and then started getting our marriage license processed.

Paperwork in Alberta – the marriage license

Getting married in Alberta is fairly easy. We filled out a form with our details and emailed it to the marriage license office, which unlike Ontario, is not a government office but a private office that is allowed to process government things. Already familiar with international elopements, they were really great and sorted everything out easily. We had to go in and pick up our marriage license, and sign an affidavit in the pressence of the staff to swear that we gave correct info and that we were not each others’ biological grandparents.

en route to get marriage license

Then we had to take our marriage license to our marriage commissioner, and meet with him to go over everything.

It was pretty easy going.

Whom to invite?

In terms of guests, we originally just planned on having our 2 witnesses be our only guests, and have a simple evening. Since we were eloping, we only told our families and a few friends. I told Stephanie and Anthony, both of whom wanted to come when they found out and flew all the way there just to see us get married. *sniff*

Stef

Our guestlist exploded (doesn’t it always?) to 9 people. We still ended up having a simple evening though.

The little extras

Other frills we had were a professional photographer, vegan cakelettes, champagne, and then later a dinner at a vegetarian bistro. Most of this was organized by my wonderful friends LM and Dave. :)

posing

Martin wore a brand new suit that he can wear again and again, and I bought a wedding dress that fit me perfectly right off the rack, that of course I can only wear once. It was a cold day on the day of our wedding so I wore my thermal bicycle tights underneath. Yeah!

Our families were not invited

We didn’t invite any family members to our wedding, because our families are spread so far apart. And we chose a neutral territory like Banff which was far from everyone. We figured that since it was impossible to accomdoate everyone, that we would accomodate no one but ourselves! It worked out well, I would say. :mrgreen:

But if a family member really wanted to attend, we wouldn’t have said No of course. My parents considered going but luckily they didn’t…

My brother gets married!

A few weeks before we got married, my brother and his fiancee decided to get married on the exact same day but in Ottawa! So my parents were able to attend his wedding instead of ours.

double happy

This was by total fluke.

My bro and his fiancee were engaged since December 2012, and couldn’t decide on what to do either (it must run in the family!). So my brother’s in-laws suggested some auspicious dates based on the Chinese almanac.

There were only 2 dates left for 2013. One was on mine and Martin’s wedding date, and the other on our Toronto reception date. (No I didn’t consult an almanac – it just runs in my blood ;) )

Justin didn’t remember our wedding date (he wasn’t invited, remember?), only our reception date which him and his soon-to-be wife and her parents were invited to and attending. So out of the 2 dates, they chose our wedding date to also get married!

They also had a small, outdoor affair with a photographer and cake, except they put themselves and their guests up in a fancy hotel and treated everyone to the spa. Hmm, maybe I should’ve gone to their wedding instead! :P

Some people may think it wasn’t cool of my brother to have his wedding on the same day, but in my family we aren’t competitive and don’t see it as stealing the other’s thunder. We were very happy to celebrate alongside each other.

My brother had been hassling me on what they should get us for a wedding gift, and I told him more than once: ‘nothing’. But really, the best gift he got me was getting married on the same day so that we could celebrate our future anniversaries together. :)

In Chinese weddings there is a symbol called ‘double happiness’ that is used for celebration and good luck. My Mom told me our day truly was double happiness for her because it was the day that both of her kids got married. :)

How we got engaged

22 May

We got secretly engaged last year in May.

Basically, we both agreed that we wanted to get married, and then shelved it.

That’s it, end of story. Just kidding!

The thing is, we were too scared to announce our engagement because so many difficult things were happening at that time, and we were just worn out and nervous in general.

About a month after we agreed to get married (aka getting engaged), we acknowledged our nervousness and decided to talk about it. We were on vacation at a cute town by Lake Constance, walking around while we worked out what we wanted to do. We were so confused. The only thing we nailed down was that we wanted to elope and agreed on a month – that was October. But the year and the day was beyond us.

October was just a few months away and surely too difficult to plan anything. So maybe next year, or something.

Why October? We chose October because that’s usually when we fly to Canada, and we also wanted to marry in Canada because the paperwork would be easier. If we got married in Germany, I would have to order my long birth certificate, and a statement from Canada verifying that I’m single, have it all translated professionally by a certified translator ($$$) and then legalized at the Canadian Consulate (i.e. get a stamp). Then we would present our papers and wait for the German offices to approve it, and then they would give us a wedding date. That seemed a lot of work when compared to showing up in Canada with our passports or driver’s licenses.

So we continued to walk around this little city by the Alps, and fretted over having no idea what we were doing. Until Martin stopped me, pointed to the ground, and said ‘HEY. LOOK!!!!!!!!!‘. I looked down and there on the cobblestone street, was a big heart made out of red cobblestones.

cobblestone heart

‘It’s a sign!’, Martin said, and he suddenly wanted to know what street we were on. We looked up and saw that we were on Bindergasse, or `binding together way’, in German. So here we were, standing in a sleepy Bavarian town, with a heart on the street on Bindergasse, freaking out.

Bindergasse

We took it as a little message to us to stop being ridiculous about marriage and just go for it already. That we loved each other, that we wanted to be together, and that it would be okay.

Once it registered in my mind as ‘a sign’, I wanted to know what street numbers we were at because I slightly believe in Numerology ^_^. When we looked up again, the Bindergasse signs also had numbers. There were 3 tiles – one with 1, 3, and 5. And that’s when I screamed ‘OMG, that’s our wedding date right there!!! It’s telling us October 5th, 2013!!

numbers MWI_4709 Crop 13 sign

I know, this is a lot of patching stuff together, but in the moment it was very surreal and just made sense. Like a bulb went off in our brains. We immediately looked up October 5th on our phone calendar and saw that it fell on a Saturday.

We kissed, danced around the cobblestone streets, and celebrated. It was a memorable night!

When we got home, we ordered our engagement rings: handmade olive wood rings from an Etsy store in Europe. They took a while to arrive and came to my apartment. I took the package to Martin’s place so we could open it together.

Martin opened the package, took out my ring, and proposed to me! I said yes and he slipped the ring on my finger. Then I took his ring and proposed to him back, and he also said yes and I also slipped the ring onto his finger. Cuz you know, I wanted to make sure he wanted to marry me too. ;)

And that’s our engagement story. Tomorrow I will post about our wedding story.

Why I won’t change my name

21 May

A surprising amount of people have asked me if I’ll change my last name to Martin’s last name now that we’re married.

The short answer is No, so you can stop reading now. :P

The long answer is that Martin’s last name is very nice, I like it a lot. In fact, shortly after I met him, I went ahead to register the name on gmail! So yes, I have jessica.(martin’s last name)@ gmail.com.

(btw, I don’t even have my own first-last name combo registered at gmail, because it was already taken even though I was an early gmail adopter. :-? )

Now that I’ve established that I am that kind of girl who meets a cute guy and then goes ahead to register my future-married-to-him name on gmail, it may be surprising that I don’t want to change my last name to his.

I never wanted to change my last name, actually, because I don’t agree with the patriarchial overtones, plus I also happened to hate my last name. Not now, but when I was a kid.

Like all visible minority kids, or kids of immigrants, I went through a lot identity-wise and that included dealing with my feelings about my ‘weird’ last name.

It wasn’t until I was in high school when I started to really like my last name, and it wasn’t until I reached adulthood when I started to really love it. :mrgreen:

There was one situation where I had considered changing my last though, and that was if I married someone who had the same last name as my Mother – but that’s because I considered changing my last name to my Mother’s anyway (without marriage) because I love my Mom!

Martin doesn’t have my Mother’s last name, so therefore I see no reason to change it.

I understand why people change their names after marriage, and I don’t think it’s wrong, I just don’t think it’s right for me.

My name makes up a large part of my identity.

Martin and I also talked about him taking my last name (he asked me if I wanted him to), but we both decided we like each others’ names a lot and want to continue going by those names.

It’s not beyond me to realize that adopting a less ‘ethnic’ name will have some benefits, particularly while living in Europe which is more homogeneous than Toronto. But that’s the thing, that makes me even more stubborn to keep my name. So far I’ve done well here with my foreign last name, and it has even broken the ice a bunch of times when people ask me how to pronounce it or if it’s really my full last name (being only 2 letters and all). I like that, because then it opens us up to have a little chat and potentially make a connection.

Maybe I will change my name one day, if we perceive changing it on paper to be worthwhile. But that will only be an administrative change and I’d still want to be known socially by my name as it stands now.

Minimalism fail

20 May

Martin and I are now moved into our new flat and are loving it so so much!

Because we did the moving ourselves (with the help of 1 friend), and had to walk everything down 3 flights of stairs from the old flat, load it into a truck, drive it 100km away, and then walk it up 4 flights of stairs at the new flat, we were exhausted and appalled at how much stuff we had.

The thing is, we thought we were being minimalist rockstars. We were combining 2 households and had been spending the last several months aggressively getting rid of stuff (including 2 whole kitchens). We sold and donated a lot and were feeling really light and giving ourselves mega props.

Until we had to actually pack things into boxes and carry them up and down the stairs. We ended up filling up two truckloads!, and we’re not even finished because we left some odds and ends at the old place. *sigh*

So we definitely had a rude awakening during this move, and want to continue striving towards minimalism.

I would say we are really good with getting rid of the bigger pieces like furniture and appliances, but not as good with smaller things like the accumulation of bathroom stuff, kitchen stuff, and clothing.

All the little stuff really adds up. And then you have boxes after boxes that are exhausting you at midnight while you continue to move things even though you have been at it for the past 16 hours!!!

Yeah it was a tough move.

A lot of it is my fault, I will admit.

When I was living by myself, I wanted things to be really comfy and started nesting and accumulating all this house-stuff. I was thinking that if I was comfortable, then I would like living in Germany more. I also thought it was worth it because Martin also loved the flat and the area I lived in, and we were planning on having him move in with me eventually. So it made sense to nest in my place. Also, I had a huge storage unit in the basement that sort of became a grave yard for things we didn’t need but didn’t want to deal with. Which of course ended up biting us in the @ss!

I’m complaining about how much stuff we have but out of everyone I know (not including international students who came with 1 suitcase), we have the least amount of stuff. We’ve moved 7 times in total over the past 3.5 years. We have no TV and no dining chairs. When we eat together at the table, we sit on my piano stool and wheel over the computer chair. We have clothing that fits into 4 suitcases (trying to get this down to 2). We have 2 sets of sheets, 10 plates, 10 cups, 10 glasses, 10 cutlery settings, 3 pots, 1 pan, 1 wok, 1 hand blender, 1 full blender, and 1 food processor. Obviously we have more stuff than that since it caused so much trouble moving, but it’s insane to us that even though we consciously try to live with less, it still feels like more.

Moving to our dream apartment

12 May

Martin and I are picking up the keys to our new flat this afternoon!!

We are moving in our first set of boxes and my piano, which we packed into Martin’s car last night. He’s leaving work early today and I’m taking the train 2.5 hours to meet him at our new place. :)

Our new flat is in a city neighbouring Dusseldorf, in a green area. I guess you could call it suburban, but there aren’t really suburbs here in Europe. The cities here are a bunch of smaller villages conglomerated, and every smaller village has a city centre. So we live in the city centre of our small village, which is administratively part of a big city and well connected to everything.

We are very excited because we are sort of in love with this area! It is convenient to transportation for me, has parking for Martin, and is pretty much the mid-way point between our offices.

It will take Martin 40 minutes (door-to-door) to drive to work, and for me about 70 minutes (door-to-door) taking a direct train. 70 minutes sounds like a long commute but I don’t mind. Martin bought me an eBook reader as a “Congratulations on your new job!” gift and I’ve been using it like crazy even without commuting.

Our new flat is a 1-bedroom, 1 bath space with our bedroom on the second level and everything else on the first level. We’ll have 2 sets of stairs in our apartment!! These 2-level apartments are called ‘Maisonettes’, and we’re thrilled to get to live in one. We splurged a bit on this place, and were deciding between this one and another non-maisonette that was almost half the price.

It was difficult, especially because I didn’t have a job lined up yet when we decided to choose the flat. But we are so glad we did. We were actually just walking in the area and saw a for rent sign in the window with a brief description. The unit wasn’t posted online yet, so we called, hoping to land a sweet deal. Turns out, it was actually pretty $$$ but we agreed to look at it anyway just out of interest for the area. We didn’t know we would end up falling in love with it.

My flat right now, is also really special even though it’s not a maisonette. It’s the entire 3rd floor of an old historic building, so has high ceilings, exposed beams, and is opened concept (which is rare here in Germany). Moving from this beautifully inspiring space to a blah space is just too… depressing and psychologically difficult. So basically, we’re taking what we have here and plopping it in an area that is more convenient for us. Which is SUPER exciting.

Yes, I’m completely dorking out over our new apartment. Just very excited!!

Tomorrow is when we do the big move and hopefully we will be completely moved in and moved out of the old flat by the weekend. Squeeee!!!!!!!!!!

Why I probably won’t move back to Toronto

10 May

I wrote at the beginning of the year that Martin and I put an offer on a place in Dusseldorf. We did this right before we went to Asia for our wedding and honeymoon. And then when we got back from the honeymoon, we got cold feet and backed out.

Since offers are only verbal here and not legally binding (when they are still verbal), it wasn’t hard to back out.

We’re glad we did because even though the place was a good deal and things would have been fine had we bought it, we just didn’t feel like it was the right time.

I’m really back and forth about buying real estate. I don’t consider it to be a good investment, but I do want a stable place to live. It’s hard to pull the trigger, I guess.

Being married now helps puts things into perspective. Some people say that getting married feels exactly the same as before, but it doesn’t. At least not to me.

I feel a deeper sense of committment, not just to Martin, but to our lives together. I’m now making decisions based more on what’s good for us rather than what’s good for me (i.e. quitting a job that I really really liked before having anything else lined up – in a country where it’s hard for me to find work when I really want and need to work!!!!!), and I also ended up telling a friend she couldn’t live with me anymore (I had been helping her get on her feet) because she was stressing us out.

Also, by marrying Martin, I am also committing myself to living in Germany, which I was not entirely sure of before. In many ways I’m still not sure, because I *loved* living in Toronto. But what’s important to me is being with Martin and he prefers living in Germany.

Living in Germany for me is not easy, but it’s getting better and better.

And anyway if we moved to Canada, I wouldn’t want to live in Toronto anymore. I would choose Calgary, or Montreal, or Ottawa. Just somewhere different but still urban so that I could continue that whole adapting process that I’ve had to exercise over the past 3.5 years of living abroad.

One of advantages of living abroad is that life gets really interesting. But almost too interesting. Especially at the beginning, it’s a constant, unrelenting assault on your senses. And I live in Germany, lol! Imagine if I moved to like, Bangkok or somewhere. :P

There are many positives about living in Germany.

I’ve been focusing more on those positives lately rather than how stressful it can be. Things are coming together!

On Being a Housewife

6 May

When I came to Germany 3.5 years ago, I spent a lot of time stressing out about how I’ll never find a job here and that I should get comfortable with being a housewife.

This sat badly with me because I don’t think I’m suited to be a housewife. It’s not the worst job in the world, but not something I wanted for myself.

I tried really hard at being a housewife though. But by that I mean I thought a lot about it, talked a lot about it but mainly to my high-flying career-oriented girlfriends, and did some cooking (I do like cooking!).

I even found a blog written by a Canadian housewife who is my age, college educated, with no kids, living an average middle class lifestyle with her husband in Vancouver. On paper she is very much like me, and her husband is very much like Martin. But she loves being a housewife and it was an active decision made by her and her husband to run their family that way.

I read her blog for a few months, amazed and impressed at her housewife-ing abilities and tried to emulate her. But I didn’t get as excited about running the home as much as she did (nor was I as good at it), and I couldn’t understand why she could like it so much. I don’t mean that in a snitty way – I just couldn’t get it even though I was seriously trying to. Why does she like it and I don’t? Was I just being ungrateful?

So I wrote to her to basically ask, “yo, WTF?”

She wrote me back to say that she had always wanted to be a housewife, even in high school, but never admitted it because she felt like it was ‘wrong’. So in college she studied politics and international relations and thought her career would go down that route. She said it wasn’t until she married her husband when she felt comfortable enough to admit her desire to be a housewife, and they had some conversations about it. At first he wasn’t sure because they would only be on one income, but after a trial run, he was sold and they decided to try it out. They’ve been at it for years but still going strong and happy. She also admitted that it’s not a lifestyle for everyone and said that it was good that I was being honest with myself about not wanting to be a housewife.

Fast forward a year or so later, and I actually found a job! In Germany! I said Tschuess (Good bye) to the housewife-ing mould that I was trying to fit myself into, and moved out of our shared apartment so that I could be closer to my work. Which made Martin and I ‘long distance’ again. :(

The reason why long distance is in quotes is because we did the trans-Atlantic thing for 4.5 years, so I figured being 100km away wasn’t so drastic.

Except it was. It was hard only seeing each other on weekends and vacations, and suddenly it made sense to me to try everything to be with Martin, even if it meant giving up my job. So after 2 years, I quit on a leap of faith that it would all work out, which meant back to being a housewife again.

And that’s where I am now!

Martin and I are living together again, but soon we’re moving to another apartment closer to his work. I’ve been a ‘housewife for a week now, and most of that was spent travelling Munich. So far so good. :mrgreen:

I’m definitely not the best at working in the home, but I do pull my weight chores-wise and so does Martin, so it’s working out well. Also, it’s just so nice being together again and I can’t wait for our lives to stabilize. It’s not so automatic that your life is stable when you move abroad and have to build everything up from scratch. That’s something I took for granted living in Toronto.

So we’ll see how it goes this month!

Because, I’m only going to do this for one month since I landed a job shortly after I gave notice for my last job!

I’m really excited about it because I know that even though the house stuff still needs to get done, and that it will be on top of our busy workloads, that Martin and I will finally have the experience of both of us working outside and inside the home.

We’re going from SINKs to DINKs. (Sinle Income No Kids to Dual Income No Kids)

It’ll be nice, I think!

But before that, I’m going to try to enjoy being the homemaker and get as much done as possible before starting my new job. Something tells me that I’ll enjoy it. :)

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