Friday, 19 August 2016

The Big Decision

Blog 34

After Ingo received a job offer, we only had a couple of days to make our decision. If you read last week's blog, you know that I did everything to postpone the inevitable. There was no more time to waste. We had to make a decision about our future. While I had assumed I was the only one who was unsure, Ingo also had his doubts. If he had been all by himself, then he would have decided in favour of staying in Canada without any second thought. He was worried that I would get fed up in no time without my family and work.

At the end, we make a list stating the advantages and disadvantages, and even weighed every aspect according to importance. Canada gained a lead of three points. We both hoped to talk this decision through with our parents, but were unable to reach any of them. They would not be able to make the decision for us, but they would give us some good advice. I also hoped that their reaction would give me a hint whether they would even be able to deal with the separation.

Luck was on our side: When Ingo called the company representative in Ottawa, he was away from his desk. As it was Friday afternoon, we hoped that he would not call back until Monday.

Ingo and I had tickets for the Muskoka Summer Festival in Port Carling which was great timing as it had started raining in the afternoon. I actually enjoyed watching the rain while relaxing with my knitting because we had a whole week to enjoy the cottage life.

Our luck did not last long, as the return call came just as we wanted to head out for the festival. We were already late as another power outage had made it difficult to get dressed for the evening. At least Ingo was able to postpone the final decision by asking for more information about some contract details.

Ingo's future supervisor made him a couple of different offers, which gave us more options that we had to discuss. This also gave us the chance to talk to our parents over the weekend. I had not talked to my parents in more than three weeks, and I was missing them.

“Babe Ruth Comes to Pickle River” was a nice distraction. The two actors of the play, a sentimental comedy, were fantastic. I was very happy that I understood almost everything. It certainly helped that we had watched a movie about the baseball player Babe Ruth a couple of weeks earlier.

The next day, we got to witness how far the Canadian obsession with Christmas goes in Bracebridge. On a hot July day, “Santa's Parade” took place to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Santa's Village. It seemed like a carnival procession - the only difference was that everything was decorated with a Christmas theme, and instead of “Helau” (German carnival salutation) people shouted “Merry Christmas”. I found the whole event absolutely ridiculous, especially considering the scorching heat. If the theme was “Christmas in July”, the organizers should at least have decorated the streets with Christmas trees (even if they had been the fake kind) and scheduled the parade in the evening. On the other hand, if I consider that some of the costumes for the German carnival are rather skimpy for the winter months, maybe having a Christmas parade in July is not any more absurd. It certainly has nothing to do anymore with the message of Christmas, but reduces the Christian holiday to a marketing spectacle.

So where am I going with all this? You are probably wondering how long we could still stall before making our final decision. Ingo had until Monday morning to accept the job offer. I talked to my parents and my sister. Even though they wished for us to return to Germany, they advised us to look where Ingo would have the best work opportunities. Very typical! Even though I had my degree as Diplom-Betriebswirt (graduate in business management) from the University of Applied Sciences, it was more important for my parents that Ingo would have good career chances. Despite my mom's crucial part in my dad's business success, they still held on to the traditional role expectations.

At the end, we decided to give it a try for half a year. Ingo would start on August 14. We did not have anything to lose. Ingo did not have any career opportunities at his former employer, and I did not want to return to the company I had worked for.

We argued that we would be able to find out within six months if we liked living in Ottawa, whether Ingo like the work and the company, and whether I would get bored staying at home. I could still apply for jobs in Germany.

To convince myself that this was the right decision, I even made the following calculated in my journal:

I usually saw my parents 4 hours/week which resulted in 208 hours/year. If I wanted to spend as much time with them in the future, I would have to visit them for about 17.5 days every year, assuming I would spend 12 hours/day with them.

Seeing this in my journal now, I can hardly believe how naive I was. What a silly calculation! I did not even include time with other family members and friends. I also wanted to visit my parents and sister every second Christmas. It did not work that way. I usually visit them every second year, and spent my last Christmas with them in 1996. Although, we are very lucky that my parents come regularly to visit us, about two or three times a year.

This was, however, only one part of our decision. Can you guess what the other part was? You have to return to my blog next week to find out.

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