07.09.2010 0 °F
Merely six days...not even a full week after all the summer visitors have gone home, I find myself reflecting on my life here in Germany. Friends and acquaintances make FB comments like; 'your so lucky', 'loving your adventures', ' wish I could be there!, 'Let me check......yep....still hate you ', ' I'm totally jealous...', 'I am so jealous of your life right now!!! :-)'.
I feel like a spoiled only child right now....I should be thrilled with the life that I am living but instead, I am sullen and missing all the things that I probably really don't want to be around anyway.
Germany has been a struggle for me from the beginning....I suffered from depression for the first time in my life. I don't know if it was simply being so far from home and family, the weather (it really was depressing), the huge pay-cut, or the chaos and struggles settling into working with the Army/Government. Whatever caused it, I finally understand what it is to be depressed and if anything good can be said about it, maybe I will be able to use this new understanding when dealing with my patients.
Traveling was my primary purpose in taking this position and I have traveled.... In the 9 months that I have been here, my travels include:
December: Trier Germany
January: Brussels and Brugge Belgium
February: Paris France & Brugge Belgium
March: Prague Czech Republic & Oslo Norway
April: Gdansk, Gdynia, Sopot Poland
May: Amsterdam Netherlands
June: Paris, France; Sardinia Italy; London England
July: Brussels, Luxembourg, Ireland
August: Brussels, Brugge, Prague, Karlov Vary and Scotland!
Now this is where the 'spoiled' child syndrome comes in: I'm not SATISFIED with the traveling that I have done. Not the number of places that I have been or the company that I have had or even the places themselves...the type of traveling is different; and I don't like it. It's been rushed and unplanned and spaced in the short few days of time off work and I never really feel like I have gotten 'away' and experienced the places that I have been.
I will admit that there have been a few memorable moments....I can distinctly remember the feeling in Oslo getting off the Metro and looking across the street realizing that I really did make it back to that wonderful bakery that I found the previous day and it still puts a smile on my face; The calmness that overcame me in Brugge when I was alone with just my camera and it started to pour rain as I watched the central square quickly become devoid of people; the closeness felt with Trinity while sitting on the curb eating a fried candy bar for the first time; the wonderful people that I have met along the way whether it's someone who briefly chatted on the bus or gave me direction in the subway or those that I was able to spend time with and forge the beginnings of friendships....
Even with the good memories, I'm not happy. I long to have a month free to wander like I did in Vietnam....staying as long as I wanted in each place and earnestly looking forward to the next. I hate having to wait for the work schedule to come out to see if I have time to go anywhere and paying twice the amount for the travel due to having to book it last minute. I miss the tourist tail of people coming from places that I am heading to give me advice on where to stay or towns/places to miss. I miss being a back-packer....yes, I'm older than the average back-packer but that's truly the life that I long for. Weekend vaca's are not for me....I long for the next extended trip.
I have been trying to figure out if I should go back 'home' since I got here. I say 'home' lightly because I don't literally mean my home where my family is but simply back to the life that I have lived for the past several years...travel nursing. Being able to not only travel the US while working but also able to satisfy the yearning for the extended trip (and being able to afford it).
My feelings have been torn on the issue of staying or leaving since the start. I love the work that I do here with the soldiers....not since working in home health with dying patients have I felt the satisfaction that I feel working with this unique group of patients. Their sacrifices are enormous and if I am able to give back just a fraction, it's fulfilling. I have learned so much since I've been here and met some wonderful people. However, on the flip side I am broke (making only 60% of what I was being paid in the states); I am lonely; and I want my old life back. I am coming home....
I've contacted recruiters and am working on getting a travel contract lined up for my return and am resigned to the fact that it's time to move on. I've given it a good shot but it isn't for me. I am trying very hard not to consider myself a failure in this venture which is difficult. There are a lot of places that I would love to travel to here that I'll miss out on this time around but there is always next time and maybe I'll be able to actually take the time to enjoy them.
I am planning to be back in the states in early/mid December. I hope to be able to travel directly from here to my first contract; which means that there will be no time for a family visit on my arrival. I figure if my family wants to see me, they can travel to me as easily as I can travel to them. Come March....I will hopefully have time to spend a few weeks catching up with everyone. In the meantime, I will be working and saving and planning the next extended trip.....
I haven't told my boss at work yet, that will happen next week after I talk to personnel and find out what act of God it's going to take to get everything arranged for me to leave.
I feel lightened by my decision so I am confident that it's the right decision. Tons of stuff to do in the meantime and hope to take one more trip before I go (finances permitting).