Entry one: Glose agonises over which empty toilet rolls must be left behind
As hubby, myself, three little children and an outrageous amount of stuff prepare to make the 600-mile long journey to our new home in Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland, I’ve decided to record our adventures for your amusement but mainly my own sanity.
I write this on the eve of our last week in England. An exciting time of massive upheaval, most of which will be spent using cardboard boxes to recreate the misty mountains of hobbitdom in our very own living room. It’s a strange feeling seeing the contents of your life packed away neatly into primary school shapes while you live among it all, hidden away in plain sight. Much too serious a thought for our children who use the boxes to play a live action version of family favourite Jenga.
We’ve numbered, photographed and catalogued every box to make an online directory. That way we never get lost or confused. Full credit to the husband for this idea, but his obvious genius is one of the many reasons we are moving to Germany.
If it were up to me, I’d be taking everything from the dozens of empty toilet rolls for kiddie art and craft sessions to the well-meaning but utterly useless presents people have given us on milestone occasions. From pearlised picture frames to incense holders, you just never know when you might need it or who might be offended if you gave it away!
If it were up to him, he’d pack it all up, time warp to next 5th November and make a stellar contribution to Bonfire Night.
What’s it all worth I wonder? The collective value of all the teddies, toy cars, clothes, utensils, medicines and furniture. I’m sure someone in ‘Bankfurt’ could tell me. With a proud reputation for being the financial and commercial centre of Germany, we’ve been told that we number among the mass exodus of Brits making their way to more prosperous shores post-Brexit.
While that particular political decision certainly influenced our various domestic decisions as a young, multi-cultural family in search of the best possible environment to raise our little ones, we have only the highest praise and deepest gratitude for England – our home of many years.
Am I sad that we’re leaving? Heart-broken.
Do I believe it’s the right choice? Absolutely.
We have always agreed that living abroad is the best way to expand horizons and make the heart grow. We have always wanted this for our children having experienced it for ourselves.
We’ve always wanted to move to the ‘Continent’, a phrase that seems to tickle those from the Euro-Continent, who like my French husband find the whole concept of ‘island mentality’ hilarious – and who takes every opportunity to remind me of this. Like the time I triumphantly showed him that England now produces more cheese than France, to which he replied that a hundred variations of cheddar don’t count.
We always thought it would be France, with the dream of buying a nice chateau by the Canal du Midi and living out the rest of our days in a satisfied stupor of foie gras, confit de canard, cassoulet and a bottle of my favourite Sauternes. (If you have noticed a trend, bravo! My husband is from the south where duck is controversially celebrated with delicious culinary consequences.) But we’ve traded the Midi for the Main, the baguette for the brezel, the saucisse for the wurst and Octobre for Oktoberfest. Jury is still out on that one.
Additionally, studies suggest that being bilingual seems to reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s. With the children already being exposed to French and English at home, one can only hope that throwing German into the mix will give them absolute immunity.
It’s amazing the things you can ruminate about when you’ve still got a baby elephant’s weight of clothes to sort out and box up, and the same in dishes. Moving is hard work, physically and emotionally draining. But for now, I’m off to a counselling and life coaching session during which my five-year-old and two-year-old take it in turns systematically to open up and empty out the contents of the most fragile, dangerous or noisy items we’ve already packed up in an attempt to teach me the dangers of materialism and the art of decluttering.