Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Hello dear friends of haus maus. I'm so sorry I've not been writing as regularly, I am busy with decor8, my e-courses, traveling for my next book and many other projects that I don't have the kind of time that I would like to devote to this lovely little blog. But I do pop in at least once a month and so today I am popping in to say hello and give you a little update on my life as an expat and some thoughts on why no man is an island...

custom made by sandra juto

This little man was made for me by Sandra Juto.

I recently (well not really recently, last August!) celebrated year two of living in Germany. This week marks 2.5 years now that I think of it! Am I fluent yet in German? No. Am I happy? Yes. Would I do it all over again, namely leave America to live here? Yes. I love my life in Germany, my friends and I actually am having the time of my life. I think I've had more inner peace and joy since I relocated here than I ever had before. I don't know why really, but living here has given me so, so much. I am so proud of myself for risking all and leaving everything (and everyone) behind because it all worked out well. I haven't yet been homesick, some days I miss certain things or places but not enough to move back. I wonder at times why I am not pining away for my homeland. I wonder if something is wrong with me but then I reason that something must be very, very right because if a person can change country and culture and manage this well then perhaps that is the sign of strength, self confidence and inner peace.

Buttcrack character

Oops! he he.

It's funny, I have few American friends here. There are several Americans living nearby but I don't seem to "click" with any of them with the exception of Sean, Joe and Emily (Hi guys!). Not because I don't want to or because I am intentionally not trying because I would love to have more friends who speak English fluently but it hasn't happened where I've made really good American friends here. I actually have made very good German friends though. I find Germans hard to get to know but once you know them, they are very loyal, helpful and really care. I also have a very good Danish friend, though she has lived in Germany nearly half of her life so she considers herself a wee bit German in her thinking, too. I never intentionally choose people based on where they are from, I try to be friends with everyone, but it seems Swedes, Turks, Danes and Germans (at least those I've met) seem to be a natural fit for my personality. I also really get along lovely with English girls and Dutch girls. I'm so happy I'm meeting such an international bunch of people here, I feel very connected and confident with my friendships and so, so grateful for what I have. I am extremely honored. My heart feels so full.

So, what have I been up to? I'm writing my second book so this has consumed me. In addition to that, I am teaching a two day workshop in NYC in March with my colleague that is currently all I'm thinking about (and planning!). I have 35,000 words of text to turn in by March 31 and I'll be in Paris soon, then London and the English coast, then New York City for 10 days. I just got back from the Netherlands. It's been a busy year and it's only February 7th but I wouldn't have it any other way. I love being busy with my work although my heart longs to have children now, and a dog maybe, and I want to take them ice skating and play together and cook and I long to write books for my kid's that I can read to them each night before bed. I never thought these feelings would kick in but all of a sudden, since October really, I've wanted to have children. I don't know where it came from but it just hit me after an entire lifetime of never thinking much about it. Sure, I always wanted children though the thought never became more than a mere passing one. Until now.

It's funny how we grow and change, isn't it? Perhaps the "wanting children" thing came because I am finally at peace with myself. This evolved last year after my first book was published, something I had wanted to do since I was a child. It almost seems that after I did it, and it became a success, I finally was free and at peace and felt full emotionally. It was all I had ever wanted for so many years, I guess seeing the dream come true was all I needed to move forward with everything else. We never really know our minds and the complexity of our emotions, do we?

I know that's a lot to reveal on a blog, but it's from my heart and now I wonder how many of you had this sudden moment hit them when they knew they wanted more - an island chain - a family?

(images: holly becker)
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39 lovely comments:

Jane said...

Holly, I love that you wrote so openly about what's on your mind with children.

I'm in a place where dreams are just starting to really develop into a reality, and I feel positive that I will be able to pursue them full-time in the future - but that has me internally struggling with the "when will we be ready for children" thing. I'm leaning towards accomplishing some big goals, first, because I think it'd be much harder post-baby. :)

frauheuberg said...

Oh, Holly...so touching to read your lines. I can understand you well, after my studies and work longer time I had this feeling there must be even more ... and the growing desire for creating a family become clearer. We're changing in the years and our desires to "grow" with us ... so, my dear I wish you all the love for all your projects and hopefully enough time for you and your loved ones and your request to get your own little family ...all the best and take care... hopefully see you soon ... cheers and hugs ... i ..

Jules said...

That's the way it was for me with children, too. I never thought I would be a SAHM, never thought I would enjoy motherhood the way I do...but suddenly there I was, staring at a little wrinkled mass that smelled better than a new puppy and I was hooked. My life completely changed, for the better. I love my boys, and I love being a mother.

My family--including my husband--is my everything.

Ariana said...

Thank you for sharing so candidly about your life, Holly. It is so nice to hear that you are so content, and that the risks you took, and the hard work you have put in are all paying off so beautifully. I think that when we pursue our passions and stay open to whatever life has for us, things just open up for us and we can step into a joyful reality-- although we may have to wade through some challenges to get there, as well.

I have recently been overwhelmed by the goodness of my life, after a time of intense uncertainty. But it is all coming together now, and I stayed brave and hopeful through the rough parts. I wish you well, and look forward to some baby news in the future!

susaninfrance said...

your post brought back so many memories for me! I moved to France (and Luxembourg) for 10+ years at 30 to marry and discover Europe. I felt so so free once I moved there and never felt homesick or wanted to move back to usa...until one day, after having my third child (and stopping my career for a bit) and suddenly, I missed home. And we've returned to the usa (and it wasn't what I remembered at all and I've not been entirely satisfied with home now). But after 5 years back, we are probably headed back to France which makes me happy. For some reason I feel freer to be myself in Europe...oh and I had the same longing for children once I reached mid 30s--all of a sudden and never before. I have 3 kiddos--I struggle with the career and kids at times, but it's great. for sure easier in EU than here as it's more, well I don't know what to call it, but just life is set up for families more in the eu than usa. who knows if it will always be that way, but everyone is just more accepting of children and their impact on your life, if that makes sense??! Best of luck with combining the two, of course you will do it brilliantly as all of your other endeavors!!

christine said...

I wondered if something was wrong with me when I didn't miss home after living here...I even began to think that I was unAmerican...but you're right its just a sign that you're in the right place at the right time.

Helene @ Homebound said...

Dear Holly, thank you so much for sharing your inner thoughts. I totally understand that "wanting children" has become a big and important part of you. I feel the same. My career has always been so fundamental to me and I didn't see the part of having my own family as important. But since I quit my corporate job last year and more and more friends having children I want this, too, for me. So, I 'only' have to find the right guy... ;-)
Holly, wishing you all the best with your dreams and heart wishes, take good care of yourself {and of course all the best with the new book}, xo, Helene

emilysmithpearce said...

Hey Holly--
Fun to hear what you've been up to. Books and babies feel connected somehow to me, too---both like your heart bundled in a basket and set out on the river. And lifelong dreams of mine as well. My first was born just weeks before I signed my first contract, and my little one was born just before that first book came out. I don't think I'll be able to have one per book, though, haha! Best wishes to you in your dreams.

24sieben said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts so openly with us. I was close to the end of my teacher-training (Referendariat) when I knew that I wanted to have a child. For me it was a rather 'rational' decision, I had to finish my education first because I knew I wouldn't have done it otherwise. But similarly to you, I never had really pondered on it earlier. I've always known I wanted children but hadn't had the 'urge' earlier. Which changed when I knew I was on the finish-line. :) And now there are three, and I would love to have a fourth but funds are limited. ;)

I'm wishing you all the best and I'm sure you can handle babes AND books! Katja

Chedva said...

Holly, I love how open and honest you are. I had the same feeling, out of the blue, 7 years ago... Some people thought I was crazy (I was 19 and just studying towards my BA) but I trusted my gut feeling (even though the process wasn't easy for us) and I'm so grateful for that. Now my son is 5 years old and we're waiting for that feeling to hit us again:)

Sophie said...

It is lovely to hear that you have so much peace and contentment in your life right now Holly. Many congratulations on feeling so fulfilled professionally and best wishes for you and Thorsten if you do decide to start a family soon. I noticed you were posting more kids rooms on Decor8 recently and did wonder if this might be on your mind.

rebekah said...

Could you post more like this? Because this was lovely. We're moving to Ireland this fall and I'm going to bookmark this on the days when I feel lonely or scared to know that living your dream can take a different form than planned.

All things nice... said...

Great to hear from you and delighted that you are really enjoying your time in Germany and now that you are all settled in you seem to be very happy :) It's strange how our lives change over time and our wishes and desires, it's like turning a new chapter in a book. I moved into my new home this year with my boyfriend, got a new job and I am getting married in two weeks time. It is all new to me and I can't wait to just get settled in and start enjoying married life in my new home and my career in my new job. I have lots of plans too that I want to achieve! You on the other hand as you say have achieved big goals in your life and your ready for the next big challenge. I wish you all the luck in the world with your future plans- and don't forget follow your heart!

All things nice...

Wibke said...

It's so touching to read someones thoughts about to raise a family. My husband and I are a "Jugendliebe" and decided very young to get married and to have children (I was 22 and he was 25). Now, 8 years later we have three kids and right now I'm sitting here and listen to my daughter playing piano... It's such a warm, charmed life! I wish you al the best and that your dreams come true!

Fatou said...

Hi Holly!

First those pictures are too adorable!!

Thank you for your openess, I know that takes a lot wether it is easy for you to do so or not. It's backwards for me as far as wanting kids. I knew that I always wanted kids down to what age I wanted to get married, have kids buy a house etc. All three happened accordingly, funny thing is the career. I was always a good student in school, really good at the sciences, where am from that meant you had to be a doctor. My parents pushed for it (I'm from Gambia, W. Africa), when I moved to the US went to college I was pre-med but something just wasn't clicking, I eventually dropped out, super long story short. I am FINALLY working on my true calling, interior design. It took my wonderful husband to see it and "push" me to go for it. I am still struggling with confidence because I never saw myself as creative, but am doing well and he continues to support and lift me. I guess I needed to find my true support system to go for what I wanted to do in life. For the first time in my life I am completely happy with how things are. All my dreams aren' realized but my life has never been fuller, and I am thankful that I can recognize it.

Okay longest comment ever. :-)

Thanks Holly!

Fenny Setiawan said...

I miss your post here though I visited Decor8 everyday, This space makes me know you better.

I ve never had a thought to have kids since I married till year 5 then the feeling to have one suddenly kicked in :). When the time is right you will have the urge I guess...:) But again, time sometime was never right till you got it... oh well!

Melissa said...

it is funny isn't it-- the feeling of wanting children? I was always like no way; not ready. But all of a sudden i have this urge. I guess it's true that we know, as women, when we feel "ready".
It's funny also cause I have been struggling inside with wanting to make a move to Germany (near Stuttgart). My husband's brother lives their and their life just seems so complete and fulfilled. I've always had a fascination with Europe, but now that I understand more about daily life in Germany, I feel even more compelled to pick up a go. It's tough, cause I have my family here. I'm travelling there tomorrow actually, so I'll get a taste of it. We'll see what happens...
Thanks for writing this post Holly :)

Eleanor said...

Wow, congrats on your 2.5 years in Germany, Holly. You really have a great attitude and a positive 'ausstrahlung' which is probably why things are going so swimmingly.

Interesting that completing a life long goal helped you get clear on your family desires. Wish I had that much clarity!

Nina - Living In said...

Holly, thank you for such a lovely honest and personal post. Although we've never met in person I have enjoyed following your progress over the years and couldn't be happier for you. You encourage and inspire so many and that is something you can be truly proud of.

I have also shifted country and although I have my moments when I miss Germany, I do feel that New Zealand is the place that makes me deeply happy. Of course being married to a native as you know helps connect you to your "new" country a lot more.

I chose to have children reasonably young and absolutely love being at home for them full-time. It is only now that I feel ready to start thinking about my work life again and feel excited about what the future holds.

Best of luck and I can't wait for your second book!

KAAM {hand-made} said...

Inspiring and helpful...as always. In one month I will be moving to Germany, not sure for how long, without a master plan but with some ideas and hope it will work out. I guess the main reason why I'm deciding to do this is because I dont have a familly yet and i still sort of feel like an little island... Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Ina said...

ich liebe deinen blog einfach.. sowohl decor8 als auch diesen den ich gerade entdeckt habe!
ich komme wieder!

Pickles and Onions said...

Hello! I was forwarded your blog after I wrote about living in southern Germany for over nine years. What a lovely blog full of feelings and thoughts and joy and wishes! Thanks for sharing with the greater world.

plastic cards said...

What a cute little guy. Reminds me of the doll my mom would make for me when i was young.

Ivy said...

Hearing this makes me smile. I'm a mother of 4 and I remember from early on how being a mother was all I wanted... so now I'm on the flip side and envious of the women that aren't tied down to the responsibility of parenting. I can't jet off somewhere fun without lots of planning, I barely complete a thought without an interruption from a wee one needing me. I wouldn't change ANYTHING. I needed to be a mom and I did it and I claim it as one of my greatest works. I now dream of peaceful quiet moments to reflect, create, photograph, read and snuggle with my husband. Those are the golden nuggets I look forward to. They will be here all too soon and I will miss what I have now-- I bet when that happens, I start begging for grandbabies to spoil!
I'm happy to see you succeed Holly. You have proven you can do anything if you put your mind to it. Children will come along soon!


abercrombie said...

So glad you are having fun, I feel positive that I will be able to pursue them full-time in the future - but that has me internally struggling with the "when will we be ready for children" thing. I'm leaning towards accomplishing some big goals,

inredningsvis.se said...

I really love your blog:) Great pics and so much inspiration..I wish you a lovely week.

LOVE Maria at inredningsvis.se

inredningsvis.se said...

I really love your blog:) Great pics and so much inspiration..I wish you a lovely week.

LOVE Maria at inredningsvis.se

Anonymous said...

Hi Holly, loved your comments. It is always great to dream big and accomplish big as well! I wish you luck with your dreams on all fronts coming true. I am also an expat American residing in Germany, and also call it "home." Funny how that does happen, but wouldn't want it any other way. Good luck and enjoy the journey!

Silkie said...

Just go for it! Get that gorgeous family!
I have two boys and a small but creative over here in Blighty that I started when my eldest was tiny...I do wish sometimes that I had done work first, children second..or at least when I was much more stable in my work place...but I didn't. So I think you are in the perfect position to start this next adventure... be guided by your instincts and don't wait!!
Hooray for babies!!

Monica Guerrero said...

Hello Holly,

I found your blog today and i really, really like it. I haven't yet finishing reading all, but so far i can say that you can add my name as another of your many fans :)
Living between two countries is not easy but it has so many rewards. I am a Peruvian living in the US who has lived previously in Germany. Your blog brig me back so many nice memories of my time in Germany. I hope someday i can live my dream of living between here, there and Peru.

I wish you all the best and please keep writing and taking photos.

PS. Do you know that the Becker Family comes from Germany/Denmark you will find many Beckers up in Flensburg, I know it because my boyfriend is from up there and so his family, maybe you will find your German roots sooner than later.


Anonymous said...

Your husband could become mr. mom....problem solved....sea horses do it...why can't we? ;) It really comes down to how much time are you willing to sacrifice to spend every second, minute, hour, days, years toward a tiny little child. I find it sad how culture tends to put children as accessories/trophy children...little knickknacks...and gives them to day cares and nannies, when what a child needs is love, ALL your time with YOU, guidance....you are their FIRST teacher. I gave up my job gladly to be with my daughter. I have posted it for LATER,for when she gets into regular school...she's 4 now. Its NEVER the right time to have kids...enjoy the chaotic ride...its SO WORTH IT! Wish you luck in your difficult decision...I'm blunt but, what I say is true. peace.

Irene said...

Dear Holly,
So glad to read your good news, especially about finding peace and confidence. This and another post you wrote on decor8 about your personal journey, made my heart skip many beats. Believing and mustering the courage and pieces falling blessedly together, so great.Wishing you all the best.

Heidi said...

Hi Holly,

I just wanted to chat for a moment with a fellow American. I've been living here in Germany for about 16 years now and I never feel homesick. Your instincts are right. This is a great place to raise children because the family still plays an important roll in Germany society and is monitarily supported by the government. I live in a rural town which is lovely. My kids have lots of room to run and play without fear.

Speaking for myself, I couldn't imagine living here and not being able to communicate to people in German. All of my friendships are with people from many different countries. The common denomiator is the German language and our position on the map. One of my very best female friends is from Czech Republic. Her English is not good, so I wouldn't have ever known without German.

I read all of the popular decorating and design magazines I can get my hands on and noticed the write-up on you. I checked out your Blog to get inspiration for my own Blog. Writing is not my greatest pleasure in any language, but lately I've been feeling like I should be saying something interesting on my Blog.

Congratulation on your successful book!

Best Regards

Aliszia said...

Holly, where are U? :(

toko baju muslim said...

Thank you for posting this. It’s exactly what I was looking for!

Coco said...

Reading your blogs almost feel like I know you. And I know I don't because I haven't met you in person, ever. But you speak so openly about every subject! It makes me love you through your words and thats quite amazing to me.

I've had children at an early age, I was 19 when I got pregnant. Although it wasn't planned we embraced it with all our hearts and my mom was in seventh heaven (after the big shock haha)! But I got totally depressed after giving birth. I didn't had any friends and let along that I knew girls my age that wanted or had children. I was lucky enough to met some girls through the internet who were the same age and had or were having children. But other than that I was socially on an island and got ppd (partly because of that).

Point is, that I understand that now you're developing yourself and your friendships I think its a great time and place for you to think about children. Its safe and comforting to know who you are and who your loved once are. And I think its highly important to have the social support to grow up a baby. Raising a child isn't something you do alone, you do it together with the support of your friends and your partner of course ;-)

I don't mean that my friends are raising my children and saying me what to do, or helping me out to baby sit for them when I want to go out. No not at all and they live to far away to baby sit for them anyways ;) but I do get immense support of them, I can complain and ask them for advice and I can get out of my motherhood and hang out with them if I need a little break.

You'll definitely become a wonderful mother and you have such a wisdom and knowledge to pass on to your children... And coming from the USA and living in Germany I think would be a great thing too to raise children - you can learn differences in culture and they become the new world.

Babe said...

The little man looks very pretty, it`s a nice present

martine said...

You sound so happy!

Marie Schaller said...


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