Reality check

I’ve been poked and prodded more than I ever have—not physically, but mentally and emotionally. In preparation for life abroad, Max’s company has been giving us the once over, sort of an ex-patriot boot camp, to make sure we are both fit for our new assignment. We’ve completed hours of questionnaires, personality profiles, and assessments, spoken to a career psychologist, and finally attended a personalized two-day seminar on cultural differences between life in the United States and Germany.

I guess we’ve passed muster, because the company still plans send us to Europe on December 1st.

But even though we’ve been told we’re ideal candidates for this delegation, I feel as though I’m lacking in some ways. While I know I’ll make the most of my time abroad, the last couple weeks of training have caused me to realize something about myself that I do not like.

I’m a spoiled American.

(Gasp!) You find this revelation more than hard to believe, yes? Well, I can barely comprehend it myself. Still, in my heart of hearts—despite the fact that I am a daughter of immigrants and have traveled abroad extensively-- it’s true: I’m a red, white, and blue-blooded, run my central-air conditioning till October, super mall rat, cosmopolitan drinking, drive my Element to travel only ½ mile, how dare you smoke in this restaurant, want my food and news in 15 minutes American.

I first came to this realization when Max and I started looking at pictures of apartments and housing rentals.

“This is a nice… very nice apartment.” Max would say as I turned my nose up at his selection. “No? Then, how about this one?”

“I don’t like the flooring.”

“That wood trim is appalling.”

“The garden is too over-run.”

In other words, I found excuses not to like anything. Granted, when I actually visit these places next week, I might find one I like. But in the meantime, I can’t help but be worried. What if I am not cut out to be an ex-pat?

Then again, maybe fear, sadness, and anxiety are all part of the experience. Wouldn’t it be worse if I didn’t question myself?


Bluepaintred said...


Know why?

Its very simple. You have a nice big Max Shoulder to lean on.

AmyD said...

Yes, it would be worse. Keep questioning yourself. But once you get there, be sure to be true to your needs, too. You WILL be living there for 2 years and you need to be happy with what you end up with. Yes, you are a spoiled American, but I'm SURE they have something up to your standards. ;o)

mollymcmo said...

i'd be the same way i think.

wow, i didn't realize the grilling you guys went through! like joining the army or something!

you'll be fine when you get there :)


egan said...

At least you can step back and take an honest look at the person in the mirror. Life over there will be so different, but so worth it. I can't wait to read your take on things once you get settled.

Xavierism said...

Wow! I'll need to microwave a bag of popcorn and catch up with your life's moments! Hope things are going well.


Anonymous said...

I think it's a sign of your preparedness that you question your preparedness. I always worry when people approach a major life change like it's no big deal and not something to think about (eh, what's a wedding?, etc.) -- I think you should realize the importance of this step and how your life will change, and it's normal to be nervous. Change is scary -- you're going to be fine!

Jayne said...

Just the fact you're questioning yourself shows you will be perfectly fine.

Seriously,you'll love it all the more because you're fully aware of the differences before you've even got there.