Great Expectations

February 01, 2011

Expectations are a funny thing. Usually, I have lots of them - I am a Virgo, after all (or, at least I was...?). Surprisingly, I only had a few with regards to moving to a whole new country: we'd learn the language, settle in and start having kids in the first year. Well, the language continues to be a challenge (again, see Mark Twain's The Awful German Language), we're as settled as anyone can be without guarantee of long-term residency or a working dishwasher, and kids... well, couldn't be the furthest thing from my mind.

So here I am, newly renewed visa and nothing to do. Well, not nothing. I'm learning that the trials and tribulations of housewifery is not all it's cracked up to be. As someone who's struggled against the generational upbringing of cooking mainly out of can, actual cooking of real, fresh food is mostly new to me and as result can end up with me in tears and/or in a fit of rage. Thank god I have culinary expert Frau Dietz to help me though my cooking disasters and ridiculously ignorant kitchen questions, and my husband of course, who makes sure I have wine while cooking at all times. 

Cooking, cleaning, Themalbad visits, coffee and chocolate dates with other housewives/expats and a little self-inflicted torture, otherwise known as teaching myself more German, is what I've got on the agenda in the coming weeks. Some days, I go into a little panic over where my 'career' has gone, but mostly, I just revel in the fact I get to stay in flannel jammies till noon if I want. Life could be a lot worse. 

The one thing I didn't expect, and frankly could do without, was the winter funk that sets in after the holidays. I don't think I really noticed last year, as we had just moved over and any funk I experienced I chalked up to the whole 'oh-my-god-we-just-moved-to-a-new-country-where-I-don't-speak-the-language-and-holy-crap-is-it-cold-here' thing. This year, after my parents' departure and an amazing holiday season, things just seemed so much more...empty. 

I'm convinced this is mostly withdrawals from the amazing Christmas markets, the ubiquitous Glühwein, and most of all, the sun. Sure, it peeks out every now and then, but when accompanied by freezing temperatures, it doesn't do as much to lift dreary winter spirits. I at least take heart in knowing I'm not the only afflicted with this feeling of general malaise. Fellow expat blogger Frau Dietz is focused on being optimistic, while Resident on Earth just posted some beautiful, albeit dreary, photographs from January that show undeniable proof of what's to blame for this much-shared feeling of borderline seasonal depression.

Thankfully, it's now February and we're one month closer to sunshine and warmer temperatures. This month for us also means a much-anticipated trip to Prague. We've been planning to go to this amazing city for over a year and are finally making it happen. While the weather will undoubtedly be even colder than home, at least we will be in an amazing new city, taking in all we can and reveling in this amazing European life we live. Ahhh, I'm feeling better already... 

And so I look forward to the beautiful year ahead...

Experiencing winter funk? These things are making me smile right now: a story of a new expat being pregnant in Paris, the world's landmarks reflected in bubbles and the most amazing dog pics I've seen in a long time. Enjoy!

*Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische