Two years ago, we were spending our last summer in Michigan for the foreseeable future. We packed up and sold our home, spent weeks, if not months, saying good bye to friends and family, and went on one heck of a two week dive and road trip in the Upper Peninsula. It was stressful to say the least, but we were excited for what lay in store for us in Germany. We knew we wanted to travel and explore the heck out of our new, albeit, temporary home. But, we also always knew that the time would come when we would have to leave. At first, we were only supposed to be here about 15 months. As we got closer to the 15 month mark, our time here kept getting extended. But now, the time has come for us to leave.
On June 6, BASF announced that they were postponing, indefinitely, the final decision on investing in the project that Aaron has been working on, the one that brought us to Germany. To put it bluntly, this decision was devastating. See, for over a year, we had thought that our next move would be to China. At first, I wasn't overly excited about this move. Moving to Europe was one thing, but moving to Asia was a completely different ballgame. But then, we got to planning, making Asian bucket lists, thinking of what it would be like to experience yet another new culture. Our excitement grew and we were ready for this new adventure. On June 6, though, that all changed. Now, our next adventure will be back in the good ol' US of A. I would be lying if I said we weren't disappointed.
See, during our time here, we changed, as all expats do. We discovered that there is so much in this world to see, taste, explore, and experience. We discovered that we can face the unknown - a new culture, a new language, a new country - and not only survive, but thrive. It brought us closer together and made our marriage stronger. While living in Germany, we have had our hard times, times when we were incredibly homesick, but all in all, we love it here.
Mannheim has become a home for us, one that we will definitely miss. We are finally at a point here where no longer every day is a struggle. I know where to get groceries, even the more exotic stuff; we have preferred brands of cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, even toilet paper, and I know where to get the best prices on everything. We are members of store rewards programs and gyms and clubs. We've finally found a group of people that we dive with on a near weekly basis. It's going to be hard packing up our entire lives, again, and moving to a new location. Because even though we are moving back to our home country, the United States is huge, and we probably will not be going back to where we came from.
These past two years in Germany have been full of adventure. We were fortunate enough to travel extensively, visiting 16 countries, some of them multiple times, doing some bucket-list worthy diving, and, our biggest adventure yet, had our daughter Evelyn. At the risk of sounding like I'm whining, I'm a little disappointed that it's all coming to an end.
I have to keep reminding myself that this was the plan all along. Germany was always supposed to be short term and then we were to move to Texas. We've had one hell of a time here, and I'm glad we did it. Knowing what I know now, I would still have made the same decision. I have no regrets, except that maybe we didn't travel enough!
As of right now, we don't know for sure where, or when, we will be moving back. Our residence visas are valid until the end of July, and we think we will be somewhere along the Gulf Coast, but of course, that could all change.
For the rest of our time here, we are planning to try to fit in as much travel as we can. Aaron has just over two weeks of vacation left to use before we leave, and we plan to use it all! Thank you to all of you who have been following along with our adventures the last two years. We have more adventures in store, and are committed to keep traveling, maybe not with the same intensity, once we move back. And of course, we are going to keep diving. We aren't going to let this blog die, so stay tuned to read about what we're up to!