Another Step

There were some good questions on my Long Strange Trip post. I wasn't ignoring them, just needed to find some time to post about it more.

First the questions about my job. My job isn't conducive to a normal lifestyle in general. I am a junior exec in a consulting firm and have been with it for 6 and 1/2 years now. I started fresh out of graduate school, completing my doctorate in chemistry only the night before I left for training on the new job. I started based out of Washington DC, transferred to Boston almost 3 years ago, only to meet M. in Chicago a week after the transfer. I've worked in Delaware, DC, Alabama, and Basel on long term projects. There have been various other shorter trips. And with such a mobile job and the mobile friends I made in the industry, I live the life of a wanderer. Most of the time it is ok, as I find sitting still to be a slow and stifling form of torture. I blame it on being a Saggitarius.

M. works for the same company and lives the same gypsy lifestyle. It suits him a lot less. We cheered when he got the news he will start a project in Munich in another week. Ironically, he may spend quite a bit of time in the States for this project.

When I found my project in Basel a year and a half ago, I had indicated I may want to transfer to our Munich office for personal reasons. My transfer mentor is an American who has been based in Frankfurt for 14 years and quite senior in the company. He advised me to take my time and try it out for a few months. A few months stretched into a year and then some.

With things going well with M., my career and my adjustment here, I decided to pull the trigger and make the move to Munich. I will keep traveling to Basel and the US for at least the next 5 months. After that who knows except that I will take my flights on Monday from Munich instead of Boston.

Staying in Germany was a decision based on my relationship with M. I also enjoy my life here. How do I see my future going? I don't because you never know where you will end up. I live my life on a 1 year plan. Beyond that is anyone's guess. For the next year I know I belong here.

All that being said, I would be inhuman if I didn't struggle sometimes. I fight to keep my identity and my independence in this foreign place. I rely on M. for help in all areas of this transition while simultaneously fearing the imbalance in our relationship as our lives are tipped towards his home country right now. And of course there is all that you can't leave behind - most of all - family. I see them very often, more often than friends who live closer to their families, so for that I can't complain but it's still not my ideal.

Posted from Basel


vailian said...

It is a nerve-wracking but exciting time! I spent the first seven years of my career working in travelling organisations, first based in London, then in southern Germany...when I got married I realized this was not a great lifestyle and started looking for a job that didn't involve such long absences.

Anyhow it is part of forming your identity, and I love the multi-cultural aspects-- and having bi-lingual kids!

Expat Traveler said...

Wow - thanks for the long and useful explanation! And a Doctorate, major props!

I know what you mean by living your life one year at a time. I was doing this for quite some time and it was so hard for me to explain to other people this aspect of my life.

I'm glad I finally took the plunge to stay in Vancouver as it is a lot less stress off my back. Of course getting married to P was so incredible and just like M to you, a lot of help at times...

Hope your stay in Munich is well and well you still get to see Basel. The best of both worlds!