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Changes

Whee... and it's been a month. I've been circling the blog lately, because I don't know how to go about this. We are moving to Austria in July. On July 13th via Air Berlin. There are so many things about it I need to say, it's completely overwhelming.

So first: Why? I need to get this out of the way because I must explain myself at all times. Also, I could be misunderstood. Probably if I explain myself right, nobody will misunderstand, right? This is how the world works, yes?

We've been thinking about this for a long time. We are a two-nation (well, three) family. We knew this going in and it will never change. Part of the reason Lincoln and I could even meet was that nowadays people are not separated by oceans in the way they used to be, although that ocean, it's still just as painfully wide as it was hundreds of years ago. When we got married we were probably not quite aware what our situation would mean for our kids, so when they came along we started wondering how to make this bi-cultural situation work. We wanted them to learn both languages, know both worlds, both families. Living in both countries for a period of time seemed like a good idea, but for the last few years we were mostly busy surviving daily life with three kids 6 and under.

We've been living in Connecticut because of a great job and all the security and health insurance that comes with it. Then we had babies and just stayed put. Once the worst of the babyhood was over and our oldest child started to be more and more involved with school and friends we realized it was time to make a decision. We wanted to move closer to family but we also figured if we were ever going to make the move to Europe, this was probably our best chance. Letting another five or ten years pass by could anchor us, especially the children to a degree that we would not want to disrupt their lives so drastically. Learning a new language is easier when you're young and stays with you longer. The kids understand German perfectly but speaking is not going so well and we feel this is one of the more positive aspects of their often so stressful international situation: they could speak two languages fluently with virtually no effort at all. This last part is probably our second most important reason for going. Our kids will always be torn between two places, between dear people, between time zones and cultures. They will carry both in their hearts and their blood. I know so well how that feels (which I'm sure will add to their confusion of identity... a mother of clear origins, yet murky allegiances) and I'm sad with them for the heartache it will cause. At the same time I also know so well what incredible, priceless benefit it is to be familiar and at home in two different worlds. It's something that can't be artificially created or obtained at a renowned university. All experience and knowledge it brings aside, most of all they will get the opportunity to meet and love so many different people. I might have put them in a predicament by marrying their father, but I know it can also offer them richness in unexpected ways.

The first thing people say when they hear about our move is something like "Wow.... Wow. What a big move! That is so big! That is exciting! You must be so happy to be with your family!"

They are right, it is big and it's exciting and I'm happy. There are many good reasons we are doing this. I am happy to be close to my family again. But then again it isn't quite what it looks like. I wasn't dying to go "back". I didn't spend ten years in the US crying for my homeland. In fact I have done enough whining on this blog about my undefined cultural identity and the resulting permanent confusion and lack of that thing people call homeland that it should be obvious I could not have been championing for this move for the last ten years. I moved here because I wanted to and I embraced it all as much as I could, so much so, that I will miss it terribly and I bet when I get to Austria people will think me "americanized" and laugh at the funny way I make German sentences that really are just bad English translations. And then I will feel a bit heartbroken inside and secretly wish I could go to the US for a few days so I can feel "normal" again.

I know my children will likely go through similar feelings at some point in their lives. I'm ready to be there for them in case they need me. You feel like you don't quite belong anywhere? Call me. You wish you could melt all your countries into one happy perfect place? Call me. You miss someone? You have to say goodbye again? You have best friends you only see once a year (or a decade)? Call me.

Anyway. Living somewhere changes you, forever. It's not so much a loss of self as it's an expansion. Nevertheless it's difficult. I would have never pressured my husband into anything like it, I have nothing to gain from his unhappiness. This move is a 100% mutual idea. It's a big decision, but a good decision for our family right now. I don't know how long we will stay. I'm learning our life will not be planned out before us for 5, 10, 20 years at the time and I'm fine with that. Very much so. I just wish we didn't have to break hearts again and have dear family and friends suffer the consequences. There is no good solution to this but I'm trusting that - as always - love will come through in the end.

Posted at 09:21 AM on June 17, 2010
Comments

You're such a beautiful writer, Dinka! I'm glad I know you, and I wish your whole family much love, happiness and peace in this new phase of life.

Posted by Lindsey at June 17, 2010 3:23 PM

Dinka,

Wishing you a world full of love as you make this move. I can only begin to imagine pieces of what you must be feeling. I can't say more as it makes me cry ... I long to move my family to Wales.

love,
leah

PS telling Ella won't go over well. She is going to have a thousand questions. One of which will be can you still partake in Spy Mermaid school from Austria?

Posted by Leah at June 17, 2010 4:28 PM

You describe the conflict so beautifully. I hope you & L & your small dinks have a wonderful time settling into your new life.

Posted by Tara_SD at June 17, 2010 4:36 PM

I can only imagine some of the things you are going through.

As much as I am torn sometimes between the two cultures and god knows some days I am more than others I also know that it would be hard for me to move back to Austria. I think I would miss the US terribly too.

But of course you have the kids to think about too. You are right though, I think it will benefit them in the long run, speaking the two languages fluently, having lived in both places. As much heartache it causes sometimes it also is a big benefit.

Posted by Hanna at June 17, 2010 4:56 PM

I understand.
...just impressed by your writing...

hug
Dora

Posted by dora at June 18, 2010 3:59 AM

Hey,

sehr bewegend. Ich wünsche Euch eine gute Reise und eine stressfreie Vorbereitung.

Bussi,
Daniel

Posted by Daniel Ganger at June 18, 2010 7:00 AM

Leah,
Tell Ella, maybe she could teach me a few lessons over youtube? I could be the international undercover spy mermaid? I'm sorry i'm messing this up, i do really want to go...!

Posted by Dinka Souzek at June 18, 2010 9:12 AM

Dinka, thank you for sharing this perspective! Best wishes for your move, and I look forward to reading about your new adventures in Austria!

Posted by taramarissa at June 21, 2010 2:44 PM

WOW!!! It will be great!!! and nothing is indefinitely. always good to have in mind. But the kids will love it!! and get in to it in notime!!
Btw, you are a great writer!!! Maybe en Author could be something for you :-)

Posted by jessica Geigel at June 22, 2010 10:49 PM

Thank you Jessica... maybe we can meet up in vienna sometime? :)

Posted by Dinka Souzek at June 22, 2010 11:09 PM

Dinka,

I just wanted to pipe in and say that you are so very eloquent, and have captured your feelings perfectly. You have articulated your reasons very well. I agree that such a move is more difficult once the kids are older, so now is the best time to act.

I wish you all a safe journey, and a seamless transition into this new chapter of your lives. Prayers and positive thoughts en route to you all...

Posted by Patty at June 23, 2010 12:35 PM

Dinka, I love reading your blog and I love looking at the pictures of your beautiful family :) When I made the decision to pack up and move to Germany for my boyfriend 3 years ago, i thought it was the toughest thing ever. But that does not even come close to what you are about to do.. You are really one strong woman.

I'm sure it will all work out fine, there will be ups and downs for sure, but at the end of the day, it will be a wonderful experience for the children and for your family.

Good luck, don't stop writing, keep uploading beautiful photos, and you and ur family are most welcome to bunk at our place if you ever do swing by Stuttgart :)

Posted by Serene at July 8, 2010 5:06 AM