Right now I’m downtown of the modern city in Germany where we live, listening to a street performer play the symphony renditions of the Phantom of the Opera on his synthesizer. It’s beautiful enough to pull me away from my determined roll home and stop to listen.
I just came from a medical appointment with a German provider and it’s caused me to reflect on some of the unknown hardships of living abroad for someone with medical needs. I think living in Europe or simply living far away from home and familiarity is one of the best thing we could do for ourselves, as individuals and as a couple. One of the exciting (at first), argument-causing (after the honeymoon) and tiresome things in our life as what we call “life maintenance”. Bills, medical problems and finding solutions, car troubles, phone/internet complications- all these nitty-gritty pieces of our life that are regretfully fundamental. Wasn’t it nicer when you were a kid and you could hand over a problem to your parents? But we’re not kids and it’s time to grow up.
But what makes living abroad such a good opportunity is this; you take all those complicated adult life problems and then try to solve them where you don’t know what’s open when, how to say “this doesn’t make sense” or know whether or not this provider will do regular checks on your wheelchair like your guy in the states did. Everything I thought was hard to do transitioning from walking to rolling is even harder in a new community, culture, government and language.
we’re almost literally forced to grow up.
I can’t wait to return to the states and run out of milk on a Sunday night and know that I can just drive over to the nearest 24hour Walmart. Learning to live abroad has given me the perspective to GREATLY appreciate the conveniences we’re allowed in the states; having 24hour stores, going to a medical provider without needing a translator, knowing there won’t be a “0” floor on an elevator… all the little idiosyncrasies of Europe that are shaping me from being a self-conscious, newbie paraplegic girl into a confident, capable, disabled woman.