|Where next? Maybe Germany. That's me in 2012.|
The choices are vast and rather exciting: Germany, Belgium, the UK, the Netherlands, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Portugal (Azores), Bahrain, South Korea, Okinawa, and Japan.
On days that things aren't going so great---grocery shortages, mail that seems to lost somewhere on the Map of Lost Mail forever, and the problems that come with going completely stir crazy from living where you can only travel 10 or so miles and only have one store for everything---we get out the atlas and dream a little.
The kids are quite opinionated, of course. Son 1 just wants somewhere with better internet. Let's see. . . that leaves Germany, Belgium, the UK, the Netherlands, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Portugal (Azores), Bahrain, South Korea, Okinawa, or Japan.
The husband would like to be somewhere where he can dive, although the prospect of living anywhere where you can get local groceries, stretch your legs and travel, enjoy the culture of another country, including food, sets well with him. You know, anywhere like. . . Germany, Belgium, the UK, the Netherlands, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Portugal (Azores), Bahrain, South Korea, Okinawa, or Japan.
But Son 2? For a kid in elementary school who has only traveled to seven states and one country (Cuba---and that's US-Cuba, not Cuba-Cuba), he is VERY opinionated.
He wants functional internet, of course. (Oh, the things you take for granted when you live in the US!). But he also is very specific---he wants to live where there is a Lego store. And not just ANY Lego store; he wants to live driving distance from the Lego store in Brussels.
In 2012, I went to Europe and visited friends living in Germany, and while there, I got to visit France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Probably my favorite city was Brussels, for many reasons. including the amazing beer, the Mannekin Pis, signs in French that I could mostly understand, and the wonderful food.
|I knew this guy was little, but I DIDN'T |
know that he wears costumes most days.
|THE Lego store|
As far as Son 2 goes, Belgium = Legos.
So that's that. He wants to move to Belgium.
(I still don't have the heart to tell him that where he actually wants is Germany).
|THIS would be Köln---inside the famous Dom|
I know by the time a transfer comes, we will be ready to move on to experience some actual foreign culture. It's nice living in a safe, tight knit community, and I see how so many people find it alluring and spend huge chunks of time here. It's a great place for young kids to live---especially with the neighborhood feral children who run in packs from house to house until well after dark, all with little supervision. It's like my own childhood. People here don't lock doors. You leave the keys in your car. I've seen kids leave their iPods on benches in the school courtyard while they were off campus for lunch--and they were there when they came back, of course.
It's just we didn't come here to stay here forever. I miss the modern world---functioning internet, highways that take me to shopping centers and restaurants, and the relative anonymity that comes in living in a large community. If you work in education, you understand how anonymity can be alluring. I mostly yearn for experiences you get while living in another country---learning and using another language, finding your new favorite store where nobody speaks English, and the food you learn to love and become inspired to cook. These are the things that had me falling in love with Mexico as a college student abroad many, many years ago.
After another year here, I won't mind having to lock doors and more closely monitor the kids' whereabouts, if that is the trade-off. I am ready to experience it all.
And yes, that even includes trips to find Lego stores.