The Dreaded Question
Ooooooo Emmmm Geeeeeee...The Dreaded Question
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked, "How Long Are You Staying in Germany?" I do believe we could retire at the ripe, old age of 35.
I don't know. I honestly don't. Our first international experience evoked an immediate, rapid response. Two years. That's it. Conversation would slowly branch to a related topic, but that was it. Easy peasy. Hubby was accepted into an international program within his company, and two years was it.
Now, my answer varies daily. Oh you know...it depends on if I get lost on the autobahn or correctly order minced beef from the butcher instead of hacked horse meat. Ahhh the days are never dull! Had you approached me concerning this topic while I was studying/failing/retaking my driving exam, I would've said tomorrow. Hands down- tomorrow.
The answer is different for everyone. What outsiders don't understand is this question stirs super strong emotions. You faught HARD to adapt culturally, fall in line with the language barrier, and make friends. Most days, leaving is the LAST thing on my mind.
From my experience, a physical response is first. A tightening in my chest or pit in my stomach soon follows. I like providing information. I was a former educator. It was my j-o-b to inform others. However, that singular question can make my insides melt, because I simply.don't.know.
And you know what? That's okay!
If you've lived anywhere besides your home country for more than one singular day, then I'm sure you've heard this question or something similar. In fact, I'd be willing to bet you hear it almost weekly from someone. It gets old. It wears on you. It's as if nobody can be happy anywhere else except in their home country. (insert eye roll) But, I've learned to swim through it fairly well. To lighten the mood and give you a breather before you exhale your elevator pitch of reasons why, try one of these...
Three Quick Tips on How to Navigate the Redundancy:
1.) "Until we tick off every place on our travel list. And the way it is now, we are never coming back." Hah!
(unless you are my husband; this is his real answer)
2.) "We didn't sign a contract, so there are many factors we would have to weigh. "
TIP: if you are on a expat contract, hooray! STOP HERE!
ANSWER: "Three years! Until then, we'll be living it up over here."
3.) "Well, we are finally settled and happy. Who knows??"
These answers will by no means satisfy, Nosy Nancy, but they will give you a moment before the prying and deep curiosity hits. Or you can leave people hanging, but I wouldn't recommend that. What is your strategy? How do you comment towards your exit strategy?? Leave a comment below. I'd love to hear!
Love this Whitney! Particularly your comment about outsiders not understanding the emotion it stirs. So true! We usually go with a version of #1 but some days I just shrug and say, “Who knows?!”
Absolutely! Especially under circumstances of not having a contract. It's both exhilarating and frustrating not having an answer. Cheers to the spice of life!