As this is the last day of my 20-days single life in Germany, it felt like the right moment for recapitulation. Moreover, if I don't procrastinate writing here, I will have to go out in the big world and start fixing our life and apartment. Guess which looks more appealing to me right now, in the gray morning.
But the truth is that I was recapitulating mentally since several days now. While waiting for the tram to come, or while riding the tram, or while chatting with my German friends. I had many of those occasions lately, and especially the train-and-tram rides, in the case when there not accompanied by children, are very inviting for inner thoughts.
I will skip the obvious stuff, that I miss my kids and husband, and that I feel that I put a difficult task on them when I left them in Bari for such a long period with no school to go, no aim, just to endure the long days one after another, i.e. I left them in a mom-requiring situation without a mom. But I will leave this apart now, for as right or wrong it might be, I rarely doubt my devotedness as a mother. And as prone to felling-guilty as I am, it is remarkable that I do not feel so now.
But I do remember moments, when I was guiltily thinking that I need a rest, not an afternoon or a day, and not even a couple of days, but a long period of detachment from my kids, in which I would be able to sleep through the whole night, and to drink my cup of coffee without being ready at every moment to jump off of my seat and solve a fight, without the constant pressure of planning dinners, brushing hairs, dressing them properly (i.e. not with the favorite pink summer dress, when the weather says "jackets", and not with the favorite McQueen T-shirt worn three days in a row). And on the top of this writing a PhD thesis. I know there are women that are doing it, very successful women in fact, but I was feeling rather burned out than successful. Twenty days without family didn't feel neither sad nor too long to me. And even if a slight sense of guilt is fighting its way through my subconscious, more than everything I feel grateful. Grateful to life which provided me those twenty days, and to my husband who stepped into mom's slippers. In this period I didn't even really catch up on sleep, and I didn't catch up on work, and not even on bohemian night life. I was searching for a place to rent, which turned out to be much more stressful than what we were expecting, and there was a conference on which I had to participate, and my legs are full of bruises for bringing heavy boxes and suitcases into the new place I eventually rented. But I believe that what I actually did catch up on was feeling a person on my own right. Somebody who speaks for herself and-her-family, and not vice verse. My family is within me, it is a part of me and I am a part of it, but when I was speaking people were finally hearing and looking at me, and not around me, to me as one single entity and not as multiplied to wife-with-husband-and-two-sweet-kids. I don't know and I don't care if people really make this difference. It felt different to me.
Another thing I have to admit and recapitulate is a certain disillusioning. Germany is so well organized and people are so blond, friendly and helpful that one could easily think, oh, it feels good and easy to stay among them. Well, first of all I realized a very simple and obvious fact which I had preferred to overlook - staying a limited period of time is one thing, actually striving to set roots among strange people is another. Both sides, the hosts and the newcomers, need long long time before, if ever, it starts feeling naturally being together. And secondly, having well organized and smoothly functioning life and society actually requires enormous amount of work, like waking up at 6 am, in order to be able to have a decent breakfast before leaving for work. If you want to hear the comparison, we wake up in the last possible moment, maybe 7 am, sometimes fix our beds and sometimes not, wishfully have something resembling breakfast and among cries and crumbles, bringing a comb in my purse in order to fix Mila's hair on the way, we leave exhausted. I do like order. But I am too lazy and undisciplined to get even close to it. Being perfect and not just relaxed and mediocre takes, I am afraid, more than I will be able to provide. It is not going to be easy to dig my own ways through a world so structured.
Tomorrow I am going to Bari, to my kids and my Michele. Ready to resume my full-time mom identity. Or almost.
And guess what. I've just found a undone German bed. Is it an exception? Or a sign for hope for me?