Tag Archives: change

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And So It Ends

It’s probably no surprise to you that I’m writing this.

It IS a surprise to me.

I’ve been pondering about it for months now, trying to make time for everything, trying to hang on, trying not to say goodbye.

I’ve rationalized too long, finding comfort in my internet securities.

I’ve remembered that the hardest decisions are almost always the right ones.

I’ve realized that in order to keep growing, you must allow change.

And, wow, have I grown.

I’ve been in Germany for over a year now and I have moments where I don’t even recognize myself. And, that’s not a bad thing.

It’s just….time to keep growing and make more changes in the hopes of reaching even bigger goals.

So, it is with a heavy heart that I’m saying goodbye to this blog. I know people have found it helpful. I just received an email from someone the other day, thanking me, but I think this is the right decision for me.

To be honest, I’m not sure if I will delete it or leave it up, although I’m leaning towards deletion.

I can’t let go of this name though, or the cool idea that jolted me back into a lost dream. So, you’ll still be able to find From Casinos to Castles in social media.

As for me, I applied for almost 20 jobs today. The boy is in kindergarten now and I am hoping with all my heart that something works out. Anything.

I’m not giving up my dream of being a writer either, so, you can still find me over at Tipsy Lit. You may not know, but I’m Managing Editor over there now. I’m really excited about that opportunity and I think this year, I’m going to grow even more than the previous one. I have so many things in the works.

I’m working on a memoir as well as my first book of poetry.

I’m also working together with 7 other fabulous women on a new site we will be launching soon that is community oriented with a goal of helping and supporting women.

I’m working on finding myself again and figuring out who that is without all of the labels I had before.

I’m working on making one dream come true, while letting go of another.

I’ve loved getting to know all of you and I’ve appreciated you coming here and getting to know me. As I said, this is goodbye for the blog, but not for me. I wish you all the best and if you’d like to keep in touch you can find me at these places:

Facebook – Author Profile
Facebook Page – From Casinos To Castles
Twitter – Author Profile (C2C will be deleted)
Tipsy Lit

And the new site isn’t ready yet, but you can follow on twitter to stay up to date on the launch!

The Sisterwives

Thank you again and I hope to see you at one of my other online locations!

 

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Saturday Feature: The Tide That Left

Ok you guys, again, I found it hard to choose this week so I ended up using the few rules of the link-up to break the ties I had among my final choices. Don’t forget that the post needs to be from the previous week and you must share via Twitter. 

Now on to the winner, Amy from The Tide That Left. I had seen here around the blogosphere for a little while, but it wasn’t until we both guest posted for Polly that I really discovered her. This story featured here is also the one (mostly) that I read on Polly’s blog and it blew me away. I love how international relationships begin, but I find inspiration in how they weather the storms of long distance, travel and sacrifice. Amy and her husband are a prime example of both sacrifice and fighting for the one you love. After you read her post, you’ll see what I mean.

Expat Life: Love Lessons Learned

I’m not a celebrator of Valentine’s Day. I’m moody and grumpy like that, but thankfully Mr Tide is moody and grumpy in the same way so we both spurn the day of love hearts and chocolates (who am I kidding? We NEVER turn down a chocolate) and all is right in our little love-nest. 
 
Last December I wrote the following as a guest post whilst the gorgeous Polly from A Girl and Her Travels married her Russky and enjoyed time with her family. I’ve given it a tweak or two, but the general essence is here in all it’s smushy glory. One obligatory Valentine’s Day blog post. 

Our expat relationship started as a long distance relationship in 2009 when I met Mr Tide just days before he moved to Libya for work. We fell in love via the medium of Skype, helped along by his visits home to England every couple of months. The thing about LDRs is that they need an end in sight in order to work, and so, a year after we met, I moved to Benghazi, Libya, to be with him. It was a big leap for both of us, but one well worth taking. And I guess that’s lesson one we learned about expat love - you need to be brave. You might take plenty of leaps throughout your time as expats, but if you can hold hands while you do it, you’ll both land firmly.Libya was incredibly hard for me, much harder than it was for Mr Tide. Our little love nest in Benghazi was a safe haven, but beyond that I was miserable. Mr Tide realised this, and so we decided to say goodbye to Libya and hello to Russia. In December 2010 we moved to Moscow, which is evidence of lesson number two - sometimes you have to give a little (or a lot) to make sure that you’re both happy. It can be tough to make those decisions when they involve the career of a loved one, but if you’ve chosen to be in this together, then you both need to be on board. In my experience, there will always be a way for you to both get what you need/want, if you’re willing to compromise.

Moscow was quite an adventure, and our longest stint together. We got engaged in Moscow and it will forever be a special place for both of us. One day in mid 2012, Mr Tide received one of those phone calls. His old boss had a job opportunity in Qatar we couldn’t say no to. The only problem was that they needed him to start right away and the decision needed to be made within 24 hours. We stayed up nearly all night talking through the options, discussing how we felt, challenging the circumstances to see if they could/would/should work differently. We learned, perhaps not for the first time, that communication is key. We were determined to come to a decision together on this, so we didn’t stop talking until we’d got to that point. June 2012 saw us getting married (we had to fast track our wedding plans) and moving to Qatar. We had three weeks to rearrange our wedding, and then we flew to Doha together the day after we said ‘I do’.

Since then we’ve lived in Angola and South Africa, as well as a short stint in the UK to sort out visa issues. We ended 2013 by moving to Tanzania. It was the year of learning to be flexible; most importantly to be flexible with each other. I used to be the kind of girl who needed her life mapped out, but since we started our expat life together we’ve both had to find a way to go with the flow. We’ve chosen a lifestyle that throws up the unexpected, and we wouldn’t be able to cope if we didn’t roll with the changes. That’s not to say it’s plain-sailing, but of we keep flexibility at the heart of our discussion we can usually find a way through.At the beginning of 2014, as we settle into life in Dar es Salaam, we’re aware that life is bound to throw up some challenges, but I’m sure if we remember all the lessons we’ve learned over the years we’ll be just fine. Better than fine!

What lessons has life taught you about love? 

After all that moving AND a long-distance relationship, you can see why I thought this was a special post. I hope you all are enjoying this as much as I am and that you keep linking up. I look forward to reading them every week! Hope you all have a great weekend!

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Expat Life: Releasing Feelings of Isolation

As I mentioned yesterday, we had a bit of a rough weekend. Nothing bad happened, it was more of a releasing of emotions. My husband is my very best friend and sometimes we just have to get it all out. These are things that are hard for me to share, embarrassing to share, but truthful. 

Sometimes, expat life is hard.

Sometimes the only way to be free of something, is to feel it completely.

I recently wrote this for another site and I realized that no one understands better than my fellow expats so I surely must share this here as well! If you’ve seen this before, feel free to disregard. 

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There are things you don’t fully realize when make a big life change. Sure, you know they are there, you know they will be hard, but you don’t realize just how hard.

In May, we will have lived in Germany for a year and it has been one of the harder years I’ve experienced. Underneath the romance and spontaneity of our move, lies the reality of it all. We started over, completely over.

Limitations. 

I’ve done this before, but this time, this time has been so much harder. I’m so isolated and not by anyone’s fault, it’s just the situation we are in. We’ve had to rebuild our life, so what does that mean? Well, my husband had to find a job to which he still is only employed under a temporary contract. We had to buy furniture, television, some necessities. The only furniture we shipped over was our son’s bedroom set. We are limited to one very small income and one car which my husband has to use for his commute to work. And, technically now, that doesn’t matter since I’m only permitted to drive on my U.S. license for 6 months, I can no longer drive legally; I need a German license. Add all of these things together and you can see why life may be difficult; how just the act of being social could be difficult.

Isolation. 

Most weeks, I only leave the house on Saturdays when we run errands as a family. I have no friends. I’m embarrassed even admitting this, putting it out there for all the world to see, but it’s the truth.

We aren’t living, but surviving.

I woke up with a heavy sadness today; a heavy, dark sadness. I wasn’t sure where it was coming from until I accidentally heard this song. Suddenly, as I was singing, tears started pouring from my eyes.

Why today? Why is this hitting so hard today?

Loneliness. 

Last night, I had an amazing two-hour Face Time date with my best friend in Las Vegas. I miss her. I’m homesick. I still know we made the right decision moving here. We are making a sacrifice for hopefully a better life for our family, but today, I am sad. I am lonely. And I wish had some friends here in this new home to help it feel more like home and less like sacrifice.

I will listen to this song on repeat and shed all the tears I’ve been holding back.

I will hold my little boy.

I will hug and kiss my husband.

And tomorrow will be better.

Release.

http://vimeo.com/7262278

 

How about you? Anything you keep buried that’s been hard about expat life?

And in case you were wondering, it helped. Letting it all out, crying, feeling it fully, helped. Today is a better day because of it. 

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Oh 2013, You Hurt So Good

Every New Year’s Eve, I find myself thinking, wow, I can’t believe another year has come and gone. I used to believe in New Year’s Resolutions when I was a kid, but as I got older, I felt they were too predictable and only set you up for failure with unrealistic expectations.

Although it’s the end of 2013, I have been reflecting not just about this past year, but about the past couple of years. Every one has brought huge life changes. Take a little look for yourself….

2011

My love finally has his visa and comes "home" to the US. We are finally together after a year apart.

My love finally has his visa and comes “home” to the US. We are finally together after a year apart.

We get married that next week and spend a couple of nights in this isolated, romantic cabin.

We get married that next week and spend a couple of nights in this isolated, romantic cabin.

Several weeks later, we found out what happens when you spend a couple of nights alone in an isolated, romantic cabin.

Several weeks later, we found out what happens when you spend a couple of nights alone in an isolated, romantic cabin.

2012

9 months later, I had one more handsome boy in my home to love.

9 months later, I had one more handsome boy in my home to love.

2013

One year later, that handsome boy turned 1.

One year later, that handsome boy turned 1.

For almost the whole month of May, we were in Las Vegas where we said goodbye to family, friends and the US.

For almost the whole month of May, we were in Las Vegas where we said goodbye to family, friends and the US.

On May 22, 2013, we made this our new home, here in Germany.

On May 22, 2013, we made this our new home, here in Germany.

In case you forgot what we did to get here, you can read about our huge leap of faith here.

2013 has been full of huge ups, huge downs and everything in between. We started our life completely over, from scratch. We had almost nothing when we got here except for one another and M’s family. Starting your life over requires a lot of work and sacrifice. We both know it will be worth it in the end and I couldn’t have done it without my amazing husband.

These past years have given us so much. We have received amazing blessings with almost mind-blowing life changes. For 2014, I am even more hopeful. I am optimistic of what this next year has in store for this little family of mine. But….if I could ask for one thing, one wish it would be this….calm.

Dear 2014, please bring this family the sense of calm and peace that goes hand in hand with growth and stability. We are ready to be settled. We are hopeful to continue simply moving forward. 

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Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

Frohes neues Jahr!
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I’ve Never Liked Roller Coasters

I didn’t know it would happen, but moving to Germany the first time back in 2008 changed me. It changed me in a way I suppose I can never get back. I’m not sure I want to, but I know this new person has always felt a constant longing ever since. There is always a piece of my heart missing and I suppose there always will be.

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I moved back to the states in 2010. When M joined me in 2011, I truly thought we would be there for several years. However, we hated it which was completely unexpected. Sure, we moved to the Midwest, which looking back I know was a mistake. I’m a West Coast girl and I longed for that kind of lifestyle. We did our best to make it work, but as you know the pieces of the puzzle just never fit.

We moved back to Germany.

And now, I still long for the West Coast. I miss my friends. I miss my family. We both love Las Vegas and we have the kind of friendships there that sometimes feels like only come around once in a lifetime.

But, I love Germany and the type of life my family and I can have here. There is so much security to be offered in a socialized government system. Life is more simple. Life is less stressful. Traditions are honored and maintained, such as Christmas. To experience Christmas here is like walking through a magic wonderland!

the-roller-coaster-largeAnd so, the roller coaster of life goes on. You expect ups and downs in life. That’s the nature of the beast. But for those of us who have two homes in two separate countries, our hearts are always divided. If we chose to live in Las Vegas, we would miss the best parts of Germany. By choosing to live here, we miss the best parts of Las Vegas. It feels like a no-win situation.

But in the end, you make a choice; the choice that you think is the best for your future and your family. It’s not necessarily the one that’s best for your heart.

For all of our family and friends back home, we chose this, but know it wasn’t easy. We miss you being a part of our lives. We think of you always. We love you all .

homeagain
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