Wednesday, April 30, 2014

An Update to Our Lives in Limbo

It's been a long long 7 months.  Nothing I say here is going to come close to expressing the emotions of this last half year.  I've been journaling the experience but quite honestly, it has not been pretty and I can't say that the parties involved would appreciate the public voicing of my opinion and so it will remain in my private archives for the time being.

But we have finally made progress.  It was a long time coming.  An emotional rollercoaster like none that I have ever experienced before and I thought just moving to Spain was rollercoaster enough.

I can't even remember where I formally left off since I've been journaling all along.  So I guess let's back track to the fall and I'll update from there.  

Last summer Josh suggested to me that this year (as in school year) should be our last in Barcelona due to changes in his role here and the lack of work left for him to accomplish.  This would be a year earlier than we had planned.  Our plan was to then repatriate to the US this coming summer.  However, things never quite go as planned as we've learned. 

As Josh was transitioning his role to the local lead here in Barcelona in October, he was approached by higher ups at the company to see if he would be able to take on the interim CTO position for their subsidiary company, Albumprinter, located in Amsterdam while they look for a permanent person to fill this role.  Now you may remember me bringing up Amsterdam a while back ( - yeah, this is the same position he wanted a year ago but fell thru.  The position was expected to last 3- 6 months which in a way would be perfect as we figured it would probably end up being closer to the 6 month mark with the holidays, etc and would put us closer to the time we would be moving back to the US with the worst case scenario that Josh would go home to the US ahead of the kids and I and we would finish up the school year here and then follow.

Within a week (the first week of November) Josh was commuting every single week to Amsterdam.  It took some trial and error as far as when he would fly out and when he would come back home to Barcelona that would work best with all our schedules (the 7AM flight on Mon AM that required him to leave at 4:30AM did not work well!).  In the end, we've agreed that he flies out on Sunday night and returns most weeks (though not all) on Thursday night.  If he doesn't return Thursday night, he comes home on Saturday morning early.  It's a lot of wear and tear on him with all the travel because even though it's only a 2 1/2 hour flight, with the travel to the airport, waiting in the airport and the flight, it ends up being closer to 5 1/2 hrs every single Sunday and Thursday.  

At first it wasn't so bad.  Josh had traveled for work before although no where near to this capacity. But a few days here, a week there, it hadn't been bad.  But after the first week there was a second and a third and then a month.  Depression began to kick in.  It wasn't that this was soooo difficult with the kids.  I'm incredibly fortunate that the kids are older and more self sufficient than if I were here with a baby or toddler with absolutely no support.  

It was that I was lonely.  And not only was I lonely without my partner in crime, I was also stressed. I'm a planner and suddenly (or perhaps not so suddenly as we were in a bit of limbo before this, though closer to a solution) I had absolutely no control over our immediate future or that future, 6, 8 or 12 months ahead of us.  

Josh loves the job.  He has always loved his work at Vistaprint but the last year + had not been so great with all of the re-orgs and unknowns.  I could hear it in his voice how incredibly happy he was in Amsterdam.  It only pissed me off unfortunately.  The poor guy couldn't win.  His hope was that they would ask him to stay on full time and give up the search for an outside hire.  

My original "plan" was that we needed a game plan in place by December 31st, 2013 on where we would be living after the school year finished.  That plan came and went.  I was so far up Josh's ass it was ridiculous.  Pretty much going from highs to lows in a moment - I could have a nice conversation with him and then in an instant, I'd be ballistic that he had no new information.  All of this, of course, was beyond his control and the reasonable part of me knew that, but it didn't matter at that moment.  I'm sure the last 7 months have been super pleasant for him as well with his nut job wife here in BCN that he had to deal with daily.  

By the middle of January we received some great news.  They would like to hire Josh to work in Amsterdam full time.  Josh was elated and I wanted to vomit.  Another move?  And not home?  But at the same time, I was also excited for a new opportunity and for the kids to have more time living abroad - I knew the feeling of nausea would pass.  We then agreed that March 31st would be our new date for a variety of reasons.  

But here's the stickler and this is where we have been ever since.  Because AP is autonomously run, it wasn't as simple as just transferring an employee from one department to another.  And so the last several months we have been waiting to see if this is something that could even be done.  March 31st came and went.  We understood that they were making best efforts to make it happen but also that there is no guarantee that it would come to fruition.  The longer we waited, the more stressed I would become.  And so we have been waiting... and waiting... and waiting.  For four more very long months.

I have cried... a lot.  Like almost every day.  I'd have a good day and then several bad days.  I left the house only when I had to - gym, groceries, kid stuff and that was about it.  I wasn't proactive about getting together with people.  I just didn't care any more.  Normally when Josh used to travel, I'd take the time to have my friends over for dinner - nope, not at all.  I think in the last 7 months I've had 2 dinners here, maybe 3 aside from when I've had friends visiting from out of town.  I just had no desire to be social.  

I can't say this was probably good for the kids.  While I wasn't teary in front of them, nor was I super excited or happy or energetic either.  I was still getting things done because, well, they needed to be done.  But I can't say that they didn't sense my lack of energy or that I was highly emotional - I'm sure they did.

About a month ago, I decided I was done with this shit.  I can't live like this - sad and depressed all the time.  I don't like who I've become.  I don't like where it's going and I'm tired of being so emotional. And so I threw everything to the universe. Tossed up the white flag in defeat and decided what will be will be.  I've felt about 1000 times better since then.  I've no doubt that beautiful spring weather (not that winter here is anything to be sad about) helped in this process as well as having several rounds of friends and family on the docket for visits that will take us thru early June.

Last week Josh asked again when he might expect to see his contract.  He was told it would be this week.  After waiting for 4 months, I can honestly say I wasn't holding my breath.  So no one was more surprised than me when on Monday evening Josh called and said that he had his contract in hand.  It's not ready to be signed, but it's a start.  It's a step towards what will possibly be our future - in Amsterdam.  But nothing is definitive as of yet.  

So now we wait a little bit more but at least we have some forward movement which is more than we've had in quite some time - something that is a huge relief for us both.  We are looking towards the future and while we don't know for sure where we will land, we know it's going to be an adventure either way.



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