Before we left for Germany, I was working my way through the “busy and productive” in my Project Proverbs 31. It was appropriate timing for the craziness we found ourselves in at that time, and still appropriae now that we’re here in Nuremberg, although for different reasons.
The Proverbs idea of being busy and productive is undoubtedly not the same as is thought of by modern-day society. I doubt the hurried, overstressed, overworked and often restless lifestyle many of us live is a lifestyle to be desired. It was, however, the lifestyle I found myself in, just a short time ago.
While we’ve certainly had our ups and downs, excitement and frustration in our first month here (crazy that we will have been here one month on the 15th!), one thing has manifested – we have been forced to slow down.
Here’s a bit of what I mean by that:
Without knowing the language, everything takes longer. Grocery shopping (never underestimate the power of pictures on food cartons!), locating a restaurant to eat in and ordering food, doing laundry and trying to interpret the instructions on a German washer and dryer.
We have turned in our rental car and have yet to finalize our permeant car situation; as a result, we are currently car-less and reliant on either public transportation or good ole’ fashioned walking. This means an otherwise 6 minute drive to the city center, or Hubby’s 8 minute drive to work takes at least 30 minutes with 2 changes in bus or tram lines. It means waiting at bus stops, and waiting our turn for our particular stop.
Our Internet doesn’t work properly in temporary housing, and our home computer is still in our shipped container which we do not have room for in temporary housing. Hubby has yet to get a cell phone. These modern-conveniences that are considered essential by most people today, have become “optional” almost right now.
This “forced slow-down”, while admittedly frustrating at times, has, also been a really positive thing for our family. It is surprisingly less stressful to let someone else completely do the driving. I have enjoyed watching all the people sharing our commute and have enjoyed watching the beautiful city we now live in through the windows. It has forced us to “plan” ahead for a 30+ minute commute. I’m learning to pay more attention to what food I’m buying and the cost (converting from grams to ounces/pounds and euros to dollars is a trip!). I’m learning that perhaps I’m not as patient (gulp!) as I thought I was. It has forced us out of the instant-gratification-get-things-done-fast mode.
We have become more present in daily life (even if for no other reason than we can’t make the particular action or situation go any faster even if we wanted to!).
Here’s another thing I don’t think we were totally prepared for – it is a truly humbling experience to not be able to adequately communicate. Humbling indeed.
But, overall, if I had to make one statement about this experience so far, it would be this – it has forced us to give up control, to loosen the reigns held too tight and to trust the Master Planner who placed this opportunity in our lives.
And you know what? Without a doubt, a forced slow-down is exactly what I think we need.