I was born in Belgium but grew up in Zurich/Switzerland. My parents only ever spoke French to me and my (younger) sister, so we were both really lucky to grow up bilingual French/German. I’d say that I have very much a French culture as I grew up with French nursery rhymes, French music and virtually all my school holidays were spent in my mum’s family in Liege/Belgium.
For me the ultimate goal will be that after having taken bite sizes of time out of my life for about a year I will make the move back to Germany on 30 September 2017 – after 22 years in the UK (I will turn 38 in October). On the back of this huge shuffle sits the very readable list of downsizing, selling my flat, moving into rented accommodation, terminating my job, handing over all freelance arrangements and business contacts I build in London, packing boxes, donating unwanted items, moving in itself, finding a place to live in Germany, registering the address, completing all the legalese, signing up for insurance, sorting out pension arrangements and setting up a bank account. I could add a few but this pretty much sums things up – except that it doesn’t…It would be a lie if anybody could sit in front of a computer intending to write a project plan and then pitch this to an audience in the form of a Gantt chart. We are talking human lives after all! On the back of this my humble steps will only be the first in an extended family move of an oldest sister and a twin sister with her family. Neither knows for sure whether their qualifications are transferrable to another country, but will work hard to transfer what they can – mine are definitely not so I will have to adapt professionally or start again. They will move to protect the future of their family, our extended family, marriage and their right to live together with three different passports and nationalities. All this plays out against the backdrop of a family of great grandparents, grandparents, parents, us three with partners and children reaching across three different countries with professional paths taking us from Greece and Germany, into Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland and the UK. We took our opportunities as the greatest accomplishment of our ancestors’ sacrifices. The story we wrote became our right and what made us unique as a generation; our glue is blue with yellow glitter. We travelled together by driving across border crossings at our liberty and saw entire walls crumble as we grew older. We shared fresh food from all over the world at our dinner tables. We drank wine from further afield then our grandparents could have ever walked to. The EU became our oxygen! It has become who we are – our DNA… Yet, all this changed in one night. Who knows where we go from here? What plays on all our minds is the fear of whether this is just the beginning of the worst nightmare we will come to witness OR the end of a bad dream we will eventually recover from.