Friday, 15 January 2016

Getting Ready for the Big Adventure

Hay Fields in Nauheim, Germany,  acrylic, 18" x 24"

Blog 3

Last week, I wrote about my first visit to Canada in December 1994. This time, I write about my actual move to Canada on April 21,1995.

It had never really occurred to me to move to a different country, even though I had occasionally dreamed about the possibility of moving to Spain, my favourite European country. It was only when I met my later husband Ingo, who was raised in Canada, that this thought became soon a reality.

I had a good life in Germany. I owned an apartment with a garden, a car, I had a nice circle of friends and a good relationship with my parents, grandmother, and sister who lived in the neighbouring communities.

I was not happy with my job even though I had a good position as well as very lucrative job offer from another bank. I remember that the headhunter even called at home to ask Ingo how he could justify his action to take me to Canada, which would make me exchange this fantastic opportunity for an uncertain future.

As I was the head of the administration department in the big American company I worked at, I had a six month period of notice. Therefore, I had given my resignation already in October 1995 but had my last day of work just at the end of March. It was a bittersweet farewell. I had a really nice team, and also a very good relationship with my sales representatives.

We decided to keep my apartment in case we would change our mind. However, to have some income, we wanted to rent it out. As there was a strong possibility that we had to organize the move from abroad, everything had to be packed securely and was stored in the basement so that a moving company could just come in and load everything in a container to ship it to Canada.

Although I had moved quite a bit during my childhood years, we had always kept our permanent apartment. The only real move was when my family moved to our own house in the early 70s. I was seven at the time and do not remember anything about the packing and unpacking. I am sure my sister and I spent the time of the move at my grandmother’s house to be out of the way.

So this was the first move where I had to pack and organize everything. Ingo had lived in a furnished apartment before he moved in with me, and hardly possessed anything. He only had to sell his boy toys: his car and motorcycle.

You only realize how much stuff you have, once you have to pack your belongings. During the first couple of weeks, it felt like I hardly made a dent. The sales of furniture and vehicles were slow which caused us a lot of headaches.

While I finally sold my bedroom furniture, I wanted to keep my piano and my late grandmother’s armoire as well as a brand new designer couch group. Storing the furniture was not a problem. The real pain was all the stuff that needed to be sorted and packed or discarded. As an avid knitter and reader, I had lots of wool and books to pack, not to mention my extensive collection of teddy bears.

Aside from the packing, many bureaucratic errands had to be made which took a lot more time than I had anticipated. Then there were all the farewell meetings with family and friends. At the end, Ingo and I were still cleaning out the rest of the apartment until 2 am the day of our flight. I was totally exhausted.

All this busyness prevented me from questioning our decision too much. I was looking forward to the exciting turn my life would take. To tell you the truth, I always went the safe way. Now, at the age of just 30, I was in love and wanted some adventure, to do something no one else in my family or among my friends had done or had expected me to do.

There was only one occasion when I wanted to throw in the bucket: when Ingo and some friends moved my furniture into the basement, one of the glass doors of the cabinet broke. I totally lost it. All my doubts erupted and I just left in tears to see my mother. I was questioning what I was doing and did not want to go through with the move. However, once I calmed down, I convinced myself that I should just make the best out of the next six months. I had a return ticket and an amazing adventure was in front of me.

Standing Proud, 16" x 20" acrylic painting
It was not an easy path. As a German proverb says, you should not transplant a mature tree. The roots are so deep that you will damage them in your effort. As a result the tree will suffer or even die. This analogy is most often used in connection with old people but can also be a reverence to people who have strong social roots in a certain community, region, or culture. Looking back, I was an old tree who did not like the big change of location.

To follow my story about my immigration to Canada and how art found a way back into my life, please check back in the next weeks. If you would like to get this blog delivered directly to your inbox please subscribe at the bottom of this page.

1 comment:

  1. Again, very interesting to read o this cold winter day. Thanks for sharing