This post has been a long time coming, two years in fact. In those same two years I went from self employed in Seattle to working for a multinational corporation in Germany. There were a lot of steps and decisions that got me here so I figure I will start from the beginning to share this story and try to be as succinct as possible. If you are reading this thinking ‘I feel SO out of the loop!’ I apologize. It’s been a long two years and I hope this post will answer all your questions.
2018: The Lead Up
Mid-2018 I was self-employed running a small business with my husband while running this website and blog on the side. We were finalists in a sustainable small business competition and things were looking good. I was living my dream but my husband wasn’t quite living his. At this point my husband Russell had been in the military as a reservist for 2 years meaning he reported once a month for duty and did trainings here and there, (not to mention 7 months of basic training OOF!) but he had never experienced doing his job full time. After much debate we decided as a couple that he should apply for a full-time position to determine if this was actually what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
This was a HUGE decision for us but we felt strongly about it. Our business was growing however we were reinvesting most of our capital in it so honestly, one of us needed a 9 to 5. So he applied for the job, got it and then we waited. And waited. 6 months passed and still no formal orders had come through (do to some bureaucratic hold ups I won’t go into) and be December of 2018 things were looking a little rough for us. So I decided to get a job while we waited for my husband to get his.
2019: Rebecca Gets a Job, and Then Some News
HELLO corporate world! I ventured back from whenst I came but it was a bit of an abrupt transition having been out of the ‘traditional workforce’ for two whole years. We knew going into the new role that I couldn’t juggle running a business, commuting several hours and working full time so we made the decision to move back into Seattle from across the water in order to make sure I didn’t lose my mind. We moved and spent a blissful few months in the city commuting back and forth on the weekends, but after several months there was still no job for my husband. An apartment, a mortgage, a business 80 miles away did not add up so in April we moved back to our house in Bremerton and left our temporary city adventure behind.
When I first started at my corporate job I remember telling the woman who sat next to me that my husband was about to get orders to get stationed somewhere and I was going to be left in Washington holding down the fort. Mind you that ‘somewhere’ was supposed to be a few states away and we were going to play it by ear and see how it went before deciding if I should move. As the months passed and nothing materialized I stopped thinking he was going to leave, I stopped preparing and planning and was just enjoying my life with my husband, our two dogs, two cats and small business that took up all of our free time. It was all great until August when we abruptly got the news: the orders came through and SURPRISE, they were for Germany!
At this point you might be thinking, why didn’t I start with that announcement? To me, this process did start in 2018 as soon as we made the decision for my husband to try to go full time in the military. Every step we had taken since was to prepare for that and when it didn’t materialize the uncertainty drove all of our decision making. That is until we found out that the one thing that we never even conceived of was going to be our reality: moving overseas.
How Does One Actually Move to Germany?
The irony of all of this is at this point the story should say “and then we were moved overseas, the end” however it was a bit more complicated than that. We had 30 days notice before Russell (and Russell only) was being flown to Europe so we made the drastic decision to shutter our businesses to allow me to focus on how the heck I was supposed to get to Europe.
Long story short, the military did not move me since my husband was a reservist going full time, although the idea of moving someone overseas for an indefinite amount of time without their spouse doesn’t really sit well with me. I spent the next 6 months finding a way to transfer with my company, trying to figure out Visas *luckily the military DID take care of that, inadvertently* and solving the magical problem of ‘how do we get 2 dogs and 2 cats to Germany, sell a house, a business and not lose our minds? *I will offer in here as a reference point for my sanity that we also found out my 4 year old dog had to have emergency cancer removal surgery the week my husband left but luckily, he’s doing just fine.*
So I got a new job, I researched how to fly with animals and my husband and I took turns taking separate flights, each with 1 dog and 1 cat, from Seattle to Germany. I flew 30 minutes after Donald Trump announced that US was sealing its borders and not allowing Europeans to fly to the United States and sat on a half empty flight full of people who were still learning what impact Covid-19 was going to have on their lives.
And THAT is how I got to Germany.
Not even 2 months later it feels like a lifetime has passed since we decided that my husband should pursue a job that he had dreamt about and I have to say, this has all been worth it for him to finally do something he enjoys. Plus, I live in Europe now, which is pretty darn amazing, even with the current movement restrictions. It’s a weird story, I know, and you probably are like, so do you like YOUR job? And yes, I was really fortunate to land in a place with great people and enjoy what I do. And now I finally have the time, the focus and the creativity to get back to this thing I love to do called blogging so I hope you will continue to stick around and see where this thing goes.
I hope I answered your questions! My story is a very untraditional one so if you have more questions feel free to leave me a comment or shoot me a DM @RebeccainEurope. Thanks for being here and thanks for reading.