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Would the real Spring Shady, please stand up?

21 Mar Posted by in Family Life | Comments
Would the real Spring Shady, please stand up?
 
Yesterday was the first day of spring… and with spring comes new beginnings. This is the first spring in quite some time that I can actually say the symbolism of new beginnings has bloomed within my personal life.

When moving to a foreign country, changes, hardships, and a rollercoaster of emotions are only inevitable. I knew before moving here that it would be hard. What I didn’t anticipate was the length of time in which it would take for me to adjust.

A friend of mine had said, give it 2 months and you’ll be fine. Uhm… more like 2 years. And at least I don’t feel like I’m the only one. An expat friend here told me it took him 2 and-a-half years to feel comfortable with the language. It was at that moment when I seemed to feel a little bit more relaxed and not so alone.

Let me take you back in time with me for a little bit.

In 2006 I was married to someone I had known in high school. We hadn’t dated in high school, but reconnected after my college years. In August of 2009, we split. In February 2010, I moved to Germany. And at the beginning of April 2010, I learned I was pregnant with my son.

For all the math buffs out there, I hope you are enjoying the calculations. Basically I moved to a foreign country and then a couple months later was not only trying to adjust to new surroundings and situations, but also dealing with morning sickness and baby brain.

It was actually the night before Kay and I were leaving for Dubai on vacation that I learned I was pregnant. We were going on a cruise. 

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Thankfully, after having spent many adolescent summers on the Puget Sound waters, being on a cruise while pregnant in the first trimester didn’t make the shock and morning sickness any worse than had I been on dry land. And the bar tender on the cruise had a pregnant wife at home so he was happy to make me virgin drinks without charge.

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Then upon returning from vacation, there was making a 92 km (57 miles) commute to work every morning; I quickly learned where every rest-stop location was along the way and which ones were pay and which ones were free.

Working in a global head office sounds very prestigious… and it was, until I became pregnant. Suiting up every day quickly turned fun into tedious.

2 Months Pregnant

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4 Months Pregnant

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Wearing heels during pregnancy? It doesn’t really work that way. I don’t care what pregnant celebrities you see in the media wearing heels, any pregnant women knows that those Hollywood heels did not stay on longer than it took for the paparazzi to take those pics. For me, it was no heels at all.

You see me smiling in all of these photos, but hiding udnerneath that smile was a lot of pain, confusion, and flat out being scared-sh!tless.

With all of the stress and behind-the-scenes decision making, I used food to console myself and quickly ballooned into a waddling oompa-loompa. I can’t say for sure, but I think being overweight and pregnant in Germany is more difficult than had I been in the US.

All of the women here are slim and fit. And when they are pregnant they have cute little basketball tummies.

You don’t know how many times people asked me, “How many are you carrying?” or “How many are in there?” With raging hormones it was all I could do not to sock them in the mouth, but I restrained myself and instead went home in tears… Having no family or friends here, Peanut M&M’s and Snickers were my BFF’s.

I did learn that the doctors here didn’t ever give me any guidance as far as my weight was concerned. I passed the gestational diabetes test with flying colors. And then there was no other talk about it.

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I gave birth and then tearfully and unwillingly stayed in the hospital. In Germany you have to stay for a minimum of five days after a c-section.

Until the last day or two, I had no visitors and was sharing a room with Germany’s Turkish Ambassador. Not really. But she had enough visitors and talked so much I thought my son would learn Turkish before German or English. (No disrespect intended to the Turkish culture, but this lady could talk and had lots of friends and family which was amplified by my loneliness.)

My first year abroad wasn’t all about learning the German culture, it also entailed learning how to be pregnant. My second year consisted of learning how to function with lack of sleep and learning how to be a mom.

I can be thankful that the start of my third year in Germany finally feels comfortable.

I can honestly say, this is the first time that I have started to feel like I can see myself again; that confident lady from two-years ago is finally starting to come out again. It has been too long not feeling like myself. The real Spring Shady can now stand up.

With the blooming buds of spring comes my new beginning within Deutschland… and also ice cream. One mustn’t forget that with spring comes the reopening of the ice cream shops and the reappearance of the neighborhood ice cream truck. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate spring than with blooming flowers and ice cream!

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