Pace Yourself

“Where are you going?” -its the natural question at school pick up on the last day of school before the weekend.

This past weekend was a four-day weekend for almost everyone in our American community. It was a 3-day weekend for us. Ransom was going away for a middle school youth group retreat and the rest of us were sort of up in the air about what we would be doing and it seemed everyone we knew was going somewhere. Paris! Brussels! Christmas Markets in South Germany! London! I did some research, and googled various train tickets. France is 2 hours away. TWO! We should go, right?

Yet in the end, we didn’t go to France. We stayed home. Brett hung some pictures for me. I caught up on some reading. The younger kids and I explored a German national park with some new friends (see?! not EVERYONE was out of town!), Brett and I ended up going on a day date in town, and we found a little neighborhood playground designed like a farm (cool) before picking Ransom up at the train station. It was a good weekend.

I’ve found one of the hardest things about living overseas is pacing oneself. I’m married to an introvert. I have anxiety regarding new things. We’ve got three school-aged kids navigating public school all week. All this adds up to working hard to find balance for all of us. I never want to look back on this season and say “Darn! We never went to France!” ( don’t worry, that won’t happen!) Yet at the same time, Brett said to me on Sunday night. “It was so nice having a relaxing weekend.”

He’s right, because even if we stayed home all weekend, we also stayed home all weekend in Germany. We had a date at a little hole-in-the-wall German-Indian restaurant where the people sitting at the next table might as well have been sitting with us considering how close we were! It reminded me of dining in New York City. We roamed the cobblestone streets to the sound of street musicians and watched as they set up for the Christmas market that will be starting soon. We ate gelato in a rounded little booth in another tiny place called Ciao Ciao. I watched as the server went and got the walker for a tiny German lady who’d come in for a Saturday afternoon treat so she could slowly exit. I imagined that she comes in every Saturday for a little weekend treat. This. This is the gift of living in Germany. It’s not just that France is 2 hours away. Germany is in my very backyard. And I hope that what I take away from this experience is not just a lot more stamps in my passport, but also an appreciation for the day in and day out of the place where we are getting to LIVE.

It’s really easy to fall into the trap of “When will we ever get to go to London for $150 a person?” EVERY weekend. So this is my reminder to myself. Don’t get FOMO (fear of missing out) at the mention of everyone else’s weekend plans. Everyone is working from a different set of needs, timelines and priorities. Instead, delight in the little things, trust our balance and trust our priorities.