That’s It, We Quit!

(Or, wow, this is really hard and why are we doing it?)

I will be sending another blog post out soon on our continuing adventures in Northern Europe, Greece, and now France. However, I just have to get a few things off my chest first! Warning-it’s stream of consciousness…

I read this statement recently on another person’s blog, and it really resonated with me: “I wish he would seek out discomfort, face his insecurities, and live a life on the great frontier that technology has expanded for so many of us.”

The post was about how this guy had sold or given away all of his stuff, and moved to Columbia. In general, he is happy with his decision. But, one of the most important things about living in another country (where he had to learn a new language) is he felt for the first time in his life HE was always wrong-as the foreigner-because the folks that were indigenous knew all the answers. It was difficult, but he quickly learned a great deal about his town and new country, but of course about himself.

Tolis and I had many thoughts and ideas (of course romanticized) about what our time abroad would be like-and the kids just weren’t sure they wanted to do it at all. And, as you might imagine, the real thing is never like what you could imagine; sometimes better, sometimes worse. We have had some really good times so far, and a lot of struggles. Sometimes we have struggled with a location, sometimes we have struggled with the isolation and loneliness of the kids or our own, and often just how hard it is to be in places where you don’t speak the language yet, and have no idea what the expectations are for anything.

And most difficult for me so far, is the painful reality that we are really far away, and can’t easily (or with some difficulty) jump on a plane when tragedy strikes someone you love, and you want to be there to hold them. I am still struggling with my decision not to go…

All of this leads to discomfort and insecurity. It leads to the question of “why are we doing this?” Of course we were expecting discomfort, and of course all of have insecurities we were consciously or unconsciously hoping to work on, but in reality this has so far been much more uncomfortable than we planned! :-) I know, you are all saying that it’s not a big surprise. And no, it’s not. But, I guess if we had planned for it to be really difficult, uncomfortable and for several insecurities to be tested at once, we probably wouldn’t have done it. And I am glad that we have done it, are doing it, and will continue to do it. It was important to both me and Tolis to leave the comfort of our life in a place we knew like the back of our hands, to be uncomfortable. To push our own boundaries and challenge insecurities (which incidentally are completely different for me and Tolis) and to provide the space for the kids to do the same.

We are doing this, every day. We may not have expected it to be this hard, but we are still glad we made the decision (the parents are, at least), and we are slowly figuring things out. We have had successes:

  1. Before arriving in France, we learned that we love York, England, Amsterdam, Netherlands! And OMG, the parks in Sweden-and the ABBA museum! Wow, the Salmon in Norway, and the Bougasta, swimming in the sea, and going to Thermisia in Greece. There are really cool things about all the places we have visited so far, that we get to keep with us as long as we choose.
  2. In Greece we got to spend an entire month with Yia Yia (and Leftou), collect shells and rocks (Anna has a whole bunch she is planning to send Papa), and visit with family friends. It was HOT and sunny every day, and we mostly liked that alot. Especially we we could swim in the amazing pool at Tolis’ parent’s condo complex, or in the sea.
  3. Since arriving in Lyon France, we have found a few fantastic parks, as well as a great organic grocery, three amazing farmer’s markets, our local boulangerie, patisserie, and Japonese Ramen house. Tolis got scooters for the kids (seriously, I bet 75% of adults and kids use scooters here to get everywhere), which has made them pretty happy. We have been renting a lovely apartment from Dominique and Michel, who had us over for an “apertif” a few weeks ago, and we are close to securing a longer-term apartment (yay!), and we can reciprocate! I have been running six times and Tolis has been to yoga three times since we arrived in France three weeks ago. We might actually be getting back into an exercise routine! Woo Hoo!

We have struggled and we will continue to struggle. We will have good times and difficult ones. I hope for more great experiences as well! We hope to grow, change, be open to knew people and new opportunities, and look at old things with new eyes. Regardless, Tolis and I are incredibly thankful that we able to create the financial ability for this incredible journey to take place. It is not lost on us that plenty of people who might want to do this may never have that financial ability. We hope the kids will also eventually feel like this was time well spent. Time will tell, as it does with all things…

With love, Erin, Tolis, Anna and Tasos