Memory Strasse

My first day of Dutch preschool, circa 1980

I’ve been eagerly following the adventures of moving a family of 8 (!) across the Big Pond to live in France for a year over at Design Mom. Oh! And her sister‘s family moved to Paris for a year at the same time. Ooh la la! Dreamy, no? Visions of crunchy baguettes, gorgeous bowls of fresh yogurt and a contagious lust for a cultured adventure makes me ponder the time our family spent in Germany and The Netherlands when I was a wee one. Shall we take a short trip down Memory Strasse, lovelies?

While it was only for a few years and before I even set foot in kindergarten, the experience of living in Europe as a child was an incredibly formative one for me. But here’s the interesting part that I’ve been mulling over… Did the experiences themselves inform my identity, or is it the stories that I’ve created from the photographs from those years that have created this identity? Or is it simply the adventurous idea of my parents moving a young family overseas to chase a dream that inspires me? Hmmmm.

Regardless, I remember those years fondly and think about my parent’s choice often. Especially now with a family of my own when some days it’s difficult enough to just get out of the house to go grocery shopping and arrive home without mayhem ensuing. Taking small children on long, international flights and arriving in a country where you know no one and can barely speak the language? Oof. In some ways that just makes me feel tired and in other ways, energized. To pursue dreams, adventures.

Walking the beaches at the Isle of Wight, eating fresh figs in Portugal, taking walks by myself to the deer park or getting a loaf of bread or maybe some beer at our neighborhood store in the Netherlands, skating on frozen canals, sitting on the rocks of Stonehenge… these are great stories and photo memories, but what has truly stayed with me? Cliché, but true:

  • love of language and different kinds of people
  • appetite for fresh, good food
  • interest in trying new experiences
  • ability to easily adapt to new situations
  • expensive tastes. A European sensibility does not come cheap, my friends… oof.
  • desire to travel, see the world, push beyond my comfort level in far-off places
  • love of a simpler life: community, walkability, family, friends, nature

So is it important to me that Wren has a similar experience? Yes and no. I want her to develop these traits, but do we have to move our family to achieve them? I’m not sure. What do you think, lovelies?

If we were to move overseas, Scandinavia appeals most to me at this point in our lives. Similar weather that I love about northern Michigan, the aesthetic, fresh fish, natural beauty, interesting languages… but at the same time, if someone put me on a plane to just about anywhere in the Mediterranean right about now, I wouldn’t put up much of a fight.

Where would you go if you were to move abroad? What’s holding you back? I’d love to hear your thoughts, lovelies. XO

Yes, I wore wooden shoes. Wasn’t I a cute little kid?