Recently, the question ‘can you see yourself living here forever’ has come up time and time again. It is second only to ‘if you’re from Australia, why are you here?’ Read: doesn’t that giant island of sun and surf have everything you could possibly ever want?
‘Can you see yourself living here forever’ has started popping up because, over the last month or so, the purpose of my staying here has changed. Whereas I came for the adventure, I will stay for love. Whereas there was once the vague plan to up sticks when I felt the time was right, and try for an adventure in a new country (or on a new continent) now the sticks will stay in Germany.
For how long? I don’t know.
Can I see myself staying forever? I don’t know.
I never planned on being here forever. I didn’t think that far ahead when I got here. At 25, with a seemingly insatiable travel-thirst, forever didn’t enter the equation. Any equation. I wanted to spend my late 20s trying out life in different countries; a year in Germany, summers in Greece, a year in China perhaps, then edge towards trying out the UK.
But. The best laid plans and all that. I fell in love with someone whose job binds him to Germany and, with him, by choice, me. So, plans and time-frames aside, I’m here. And will be, longer than planned, and, at the moment, indefinitely. Forever? Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. And I think, for now, I’m happy not knowing. I don’t know if I see myself living here forever, but the again, I don’t know where I see myself forever, full stop. For now, I am happy here, teaching and writing, getting a handle on the German people.
So when people ask, they get the thoroughly unsatisfactory response of a shrug and slightly nervous (hysterical) laughter. Slightly nervous and indeed hysterical because, I don’t want to think about forever. It’s rather overwhelming. Forever without Mum and Dad being around the corner? Without my core crew of friends being 20 minutes away? A forever of cold Christmases and only the occasional Australian summer? I know I asked for adventure, but I never said anything about giving up Australian summers Forever. What kind of a deal with the devil was this?
To calm myself down, I philosophise; nothing lasts forever. Who knows where I’ll be when I’m 30, 40, 50 and 60. I could be anywhere, taken there by anything. I could have my feet up at Macmasters Beach, with a glass of New Zealand white in hand. I could be rugged up, glugging Gluhwein. I could be in China.
Can I see myself here forever? I don’t know. I’ll get back to you. But I can tell you that right now, in this moment, I’m happy here. That’s the best I can do.