In four days, we’ll be leaving Switzerland and moving to Germany to start what will be the next chapter of our lives in Europe.
In July, Travis had a “Job Interview In Göttingen” Germany, where we spent a couple of days exploring the area. We really liked it.
A few weeks ago, he officially accepted a job offer from that employer and has been in negotiations with her since. We’ve been waiting for his official, signed contract before going “all in“ by committing to another international relocation. Up until now, our experiences with European employers haven’t been very positive, so we’ve both been a bit leery that the job would actually even pan out. After all, he had a written promise from his Swiss employer for two years of employment and a a verbal expectation of 3-5 years, a promise the employer failed to honor. We’re more cautious now – and less trusting.
In light of this, Travis and I agreed three weeks ago that we wouldn’t actually move to Germany before receiving his signed contract. He has a scheduled start date of November 2nd on his new contract, which was supposed to be ready for him to sign weeks ago. Apparently it’s hung up somewhere in the complicated branches of the German bureaucratic tree. It’s definitely a possibility that we could get there and have the employer say, “Oh geez, I wasn’t serious about hiring you – it’s just that I say some crazy stuff on Fridays.“
So here’s our plan.
Since we don’t have a place to live yet in Göttingen, we’re going to leave our stuff in Switzerland and come back for it later.
Friends in Romont have been letting us store most of our stuff in their storage unit since we moved from our 3-bedroom flat upstairs; they don’t mind if we store it for one more month through November. We’re going to leave our bed, bookshelves, armoire and the furniture we have in our current apartment in Switzerland through November for the new renter. She doesn’t have any furniture of her own, so it’s a great solution for all of us, an idea that Simone suggested and arranged for us.
We haven’t found accommodations for the month in Göttingen yet, but we’re planning to stay at either a hotel or some other long-term rental. Once Travis signs his contract, our German visas are approved, and we find an apartment and sign on it, we’ll rent a truck in Germany and drive back to Switzerland for all of our stuff. We’re a bit limited because we’ll have two pets – Tica & Touille – with us, but I’m sure we’ll find something.
As for Brisco Fatpants, he’ll be staying in Switzerland. In a stroke of luck that’s nothing short of a miracle, Simone actually likes the little bugger. He adores her. Since we moved to our flat downstairs, he spends at least as much time at her apartment as ours. Instead of chasing him away when he sits on her window ledge meowing incessantly, she welcomes him inside to snuggle with her in front of the fire, hang out when she has dinner parties, and traipse through her grand piano – an offense she repeatedly insists is quite harmless.
Who is this woman?!
She’s incredible, that’s who.
While I’ll miss the furry little vermin, I know Simone will take good care of him and he’ll be much happier (and less destructive) in Switzerland for an extra month than cooped up in a hotel.
He’s such a pill when he’s unhappy. He makes everyone unhappy, picking fights with Tica, ambushing Touille from any tall object, and chewing his way through things that ought not be chewed. I wouldn’t be surprised if he somehow ended up with a mutated Velociraptor gene.
The good news is that Travis and I are not lacking in experience with frequent and complicated relocations. We both moved away from home when we were 17 to attend different colleges. Since then, we’ve ping-ponged from as far north as Alaska near the Arctic Circle to as far south as New Mexico, to Spain for fun and to Costa Rica for study abroad, and finally to Europe. In less than 20 years, this will be at least my 15th move, with nearly as many for Travis.
Perhaps it’s because of that, or perhaps it’s just that we’re growing older and our priorities are slowly shifting, but sometimes we talk about actually “settling down” somewhere permanently in the distant future. His contract in Germany will be for just over two years, through December 2017.
For those who are familiar with academia, his PI’s contract will be ending at the same time, which would possibly leave him with the option of moving with her to a new lab when she leaves Germany. Where that lab will end up being could be anywhere in the world.
After that, if he finds an attractive job offer in Australia, Argentina, Alaska, or just about anywhere in between, it’d be difficult to turn it down. It’s an exciting prospect for both of us, but one that’s definitely too far away and too uncertain for us to ponder now.
For now, we’re packing again with our sights set on Germany.