“Detours in life may lead to discovering places we never knew we loved. Embrace detours.” – Anna Pereira
Be prepared for it, that extended stay you swore would never happen. That one/two year contract that sounds utterly romantic at the first swipe of your pen, the break you might need from your everyday existence might just become your permanent reality – trust us on this one.
Though you might not believe it will ever happen to you, the reality is, it happens all the time. Many, like us, dive into the expat life thinking it will be for a short stint, just enough time to get your feet wet, explore your new country, take that much needed hiatus from your ordinary life and perhaps advance your career track, but before you know it, the two year contact you signed morphs into five, ten, or even twenty years. Gulp!
Why does this happen? How does this happen? We cannot speak for everyone, so we will simply share how our one/two year contact became ten. When my husband was offered a new position within his company, the one caveat of the contact was that he must commit to five additional years in Switzerland. For us, despite all that we had left behind in the States, we continued to feel captivated by our new home. We both knew that we were not finished with our experience and thus, despite the gut wrenching decision to prolong our return to our home country, we signed yet another contract enticing us to stay longer.
With that additional swipe of the pen, we decided it was time to dig our feet in the sand and start living like permanent residents, something we had neglected to do previously. Permanent living meant making big life decisions and letting go of our tethers in the States. And thus the planning began. We decided we would try and start our family abroad; we sold our home in America, moved into a bigger flat and moved our belongings out of storage. We started living as though we were at “home” and continued the normal progression of our lives. No longer would we put off plans until we were back on American soil, life was happening all around us and we were ready to dive in.
Now ten years in, despite all that has transpired in those 3,650 days has, in some regards, been wrapped in the normalcy of an everyday life, despite that massive bow of the unknown, of newness, fear, excitement, disappointment and constant growth.
There is something intoxicating about still not having mastered all of the intricacies of our new lives. The humble fumbling of the German language, the school system we navigate with caution, the culture we are embracing, are all indications that we are the living a life ingrained in newness, decision making and the thrill of figuring it out as we go. Our lives have become a never-ending classroom that continues to school us time and again.
And thus, we highly recommend embracing those detours that life hands us and the understanding that when you are truly at the helm of your life, you have the ability to alter the course of your once chosen path. Still navigate with caution, but never be afraid to change your direction for one simple change has the ability to alter your path forever.
“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” – Anthony Robbins