The day before Oliver I got married we were in our room at the hotel in Bremen when he took a call on his mobile. I heard him greet his boss and then a lot of “uh huhs” followed. I tuned him out and turned the TV on low, waiting to go down to lunch together.
I knew something really was up when he uncorked a bottle of wine while still talking, poured one glass, handed it to me, and kept on talking without making eye contact.
A few weeks before he’d had a bunch of evaluations, been to some seminars, met a lot of people, and apparently gathered a fan club at work. We’d always talked about the fact that chances were slim that he would spend his whole working life in Munich, jobs would come that he would have to follow. We knew this, I was on board with this, we just didn’t when or where this might take us. Oliver had been prepping/feeling me out about the idea that this could mean that we went far away to a country where neither of us spoke the language or it could mean that he was based in Munich and flying three weeks out of the month all over the place. Both scenarios were equally possible.
This was in my head as I sipped my wine and watched TV and listened to him with one ear, trying to glean a preview of what news he felt was worth the effort of getting me a little drunk at 11:30 am.
I was prepared to hear he’d been offered his first project abroad but what I wasn’t ready for were the three words that followed this announcement:
“…in New Jersey.”
He didn’t seemed shocked at my response though:
“I’ll miss you.”
I think he knew exactly what I would say, and that my decision, as strange as some may find it, was the only option. After three and a half years of flying between Munich and San Francisco and then finally uprooting myself and moving over to Germany, tackling the language, culture, and job, friendship and family issues, my life has finally been feeling back on track. I have a real job again that I’m doing well at, I have the language – if not tackled – then under control. I still slip up and fall into holes where I have no vocabulary and can’t express myself but I manage, and for the most part pretty well.
If this had happened before July of last year, I would have dropped my crummy old job, put all of our stuff in storage and jumped on a plane. I’m glad that it didn’t happen that way though. I have a life here and have been feeling good about it. I can’t just drop that and hang out in New Jersey for six months and then come back to nothing and start over. Even if it’s where my husband is.
It’s highly ironic that after all the work to fit into Oliver’s world over here, I will be dropping him off at the airport tomorrow and returning to ‘my’ apartment in Munich, while he searches for a short-term lease in New Jersey. Missing him will be an understatement, but I’m happy for him that he has something interesting and challenging ahead of him. Still, although we will manage to see each other every five weeks or so, these next few months will be tough.
We worked so hard to be together and here we are parting again. I already miss him and tonight, as he said goodbye to his friends at dinner, it finally sunk in that tomorrow is the day and I hate this old familiar feeling I know all too well from our ‘old days’.
This will be an adventure for us both. For Oliver it’s professional and for me it’s entirely personal. I will be on my own again for the first time in four years and living completely alone for the first time ever. This should make for good material for him to read from his new office in Jersey.
I’m gonna miss you like hell babe.