Should we stay or should we go?
Or perhaps more fitting:
Should we stay longer or should we go sooner?
I couldn’t count how many times we’ve asked this question. Or the number of tangents explored while trying to answer it.
We considered it carefully before baby A was born last September. Our original work contract and permit were finishing in April.
– Did we want to have our baby abroad?
– Could we handle birth classes and labor and delivery without speaking much of the native language?
Our other friends from Montreal that are also here had drove to Belgium, where they speak French, to have the baby there. And we wouldn’t have much help if we stayed here – no grandparents to babysit or cook us dinner or do laundry.
In the end we decided it made the most sense to stay – considering the excellent parental leave benefits in Germany, and the fact that securing jobs/insurance, a good doctor, a house, and a trans-Atlantic move, in such a short period of time was asking for trouble. Or at very least stress which didn’t seem worth it.
But here we are, April +1, and again, facing the same question. D takes his second month of parental leave this June (2 months fully paid for the father) and my year of leave finishes this September.
Are we ready to end this Expat adventure?
We both know that life doesn’t end with babies (I wasn’t as sure of this during the first two months post birth), but it does change (mostly for the better). And once this one, and who knows maybe another one, are in school, we won’t be wanting to traipse here and there all the time. Probably.
And I won’t even get into the job market/salary comparison/quality of living/culture/exchange-rate discussions here. Or of how sick we are of our small, worn out couch. Or about the growing pile of baby STUFF that keeps getting bigger by the month, stuff we’re probably going to want to ship with us wherever we go next.
I’m in discussions to maybe work part-time from home, which I think may be possible after September too, but we have other immediate concerns – space. We need a bigger apartment, with a child’s bedroom, but haven’t found one yet. In Germany you only need to give 3 months notice (no yearly leases), but still, do we do a small move now or just hold out for the big one?