10 Reasons I Became a Trailing Spouse

In the expatriate world, “trailing spouse” is a term used to define the person who is “following” his or her partner on a move abroad. I’ve mentioned before how I hate this term because it implies that the spouse didn’t have an opinion on the matter and is just sitting in the passenger seat for this adventure.

I certainly had a lot of say when it came to our decision to move to Germany and do not consider myself a trailing spouse in the undertone of the word. I am, however, technically, a trailing spouse. I am only in Germany because my husband received an amazing work opportunity. And you know what? I’ve fine with that. We are a team. What is good for my husband is good for me and vice versa. We went into this decision together and if I weren’t okay with moving here or felt it unsafe or unwise, we wouldn’t have come, like most decisions in our marriage.

Funny story to show how true this is. One day Vinn came home from work and said, “Hey, a position is opening up in Japan. We could go there as my international assignment for three years. Do you want to go?”

My response, “No.”

Vinn: “Don’t you think we should talk about it?”

Me: “I think we just did.”

No is a full sentence and in this case is exactly that. I have nothing against Japan but it would have certainly been a different experience moving there as opposed to Germany. My biggest reason, though, for saying no right away is because the work culture and working hours are incredibly difficult. Most people work 12-14 hours a day and there would be no way for me to get a job in Japan, the language is much more difficult and I would be home by myself all day long. So, no. And I’m 100% happy with that decision because it allowed us to accept the German position when that one opened. Everything happens for a reason.

Anyways, I’ve shared the 10 things I wish I knew before moving abroad and today I thought I’d share what exactly what into my thinking process for moving abroad and the 10 reasons I decided to become a trailing a spouse.

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  1. A new adventure. The number one reason I said yes to being a trailing spouse is that this would be such a great adventure. I mean, giving up everything to move to another country is an exhilarating experience. The adventure has definitely been a wild ride but one that I will never forget.
  2. Getting more passport stamps. The great thing about moving to Europe and Germany specifically is that it is centrally located and you can get to so many countries really quickly. We can drive 4 hours and be in Austria,  Switzerland or France. Unfortunately, when we drive we don’t get any stamps in our passports, but we have visited so many countries in our one year here and are only traveling more this year. It is so fulfilling to travel together and see some incredible sites.
  3. Immersing myself in an entirely new culture. From the language, to the food and the interactions, life in Germany is certainly different. But it sounded like a lot of fun to step out of my comfort zone and experience something totally new. It has certainly been an adjustment, but it a great experience, none the less.
  4. A special time for my husband and me. I had such ideas about how great this move would be for our marriage. And it definitely has been that. For the first few months, we only had each other. We could only lean on each other and it has made our relationship deeper, more intimate and wonderful. We will look back on these years as some of the best years of our lives.
  5. A growth experience. Combine 1 -4 and you have a growth experience. No need for an explanation.
  6. I could (hopefully) find my passion.  I wasn’t sure if I would find a job so I hoped that something would open my eyes to a passion that could eventually turn into a career. I truly love writing and think I have discovered my passion. I just need to put in more effort so this can turn into a career.
  7. Meeting new people. I hoped that our move to Germany would bring friends from around the world and we’d make life long friends. And, let me tell you, it was really hard, but we have a great group of friends now and ones that I hope we’ll have for years to come. We are even planning weekend trips coming up in April and May.
  8. A step towards a great future. I knew this move would be a step in the right direction for Vinn’s career. As part of the managerial track, it is important to have an international assignment, so this move is closer to management. It was definitely a big motivating factor, as I want him to be happy and satisfied in his career and to be in the best position moving forward to climb that corporate ladder. Plus, it is never a bad thing to have international experience on your resume!
  9. It will be so fun. What wouldn’t be fun about traveling around Europe, speaking German and eating pretzels and drinking beer?
  10. When would we get this experience again? The opportunity came at the perfect time in our lives. We don’t have children, so we didn’t need to worry about schools or anything. When would be able to pick up and move to another country again? Never. This is certainly a once in a lifetime experience and one that we do not take for granted. We are experiencing everything to the fullest and not wasting any minute of it.

Well, there you have it. The 10 reasons I decided to become a trailing spouse or move abroad. It was definitely the right decision for me and my family. I wouldn’t change a thing.

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Why Belle is the Best Princess

Over the weekend we finally saw Beauty and the Beast. To say that I was excited is the biggest understatement of the year! I remember when the trailer hit YouTube and I pretty much started crying. Beauty and the Beast was my favorite Disney movie growing up. So much so that I was Belle three times for Halloween. And I even wanted to find an adult Belle costume to wear this weekend. It was quickly squashed by Vinn, unfortunately.

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The verdict for the 2017 live version? Fantastic! It is certainly different from the cartoon, 1991 original, but it does an excellent job of finding its own way, while keeping the classic moments. I was quite surprised to have liked it so much! I really appreciated the fact that the new version answered some questions that you have after watching the cartoon. Like, how did Belle get the Beast on her horse after he saved her life from the wolves? What happened to Belle’s mother? All are answered in the new film.

As far as singing goes, Emma Watson is fantastic. Josh Gad, who plays La Fou, is top notch. And Luke Evans, Gaston, and Dan Stevens, the Beast, sing so well that there were times I was in tears.

One of the reasons I love Beauty and the Beast is because Belle is such a fantastic character. Emma Watson captures her spirit and brings a modern play to the character. It got me thinking about all the reasons why Belle is my favorite and reasons why Belle is the best Disney princess. Here are my reasons. I’d love to hear in the comments who your favorite Disney princess is!

She doesn’t settle for just any man. 

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Even though the most attractive man in the village only has eyes for her, she knows he’s not right for her. She doesn’t settle for a man who isn’t right for her. Top notch. She’s one of the few princesses who clearly doesn’t need a man to make her happy.

She knows what she wants from life. 

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And like above, she believes that her life is more than just a small town “funny” girl. She wants to travel, see the world and experience everything life has to offer. She doesn’t let other people plan her life and doesn’t let anything diminish her dreams.

She reads. 

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Belle loves reading and visits the book shop several times a week. She loses herself in books and builds her dreams around characters she reads in books. I love reading books and Belle is one of the few princesses who is proud of the fact that the books she reads don’t have any pictures!

She can see anyone’s inner beauty.

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If a girl can fall in love with big Beast, she can definitely see beyond personal appearance. Belle falls in love with the Beast because of who he is on the inside and not his money or what he looks like. I wish society would be more like Belle.

She is selfless. 

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Belle trades spots with her father while he is held captive in the Beast’s castle. What is more selfless than that? Belle proves that love and family are the most important things in life and nothing can come between you and those you love.

She doesn’t back down.

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Belle is opinionated and knows what she feels and thinks. She doesn’t step down from her convictions and isn’t afraid of a fight.

Overall, Belle is an incredible woman who knows how to live a great life. And everything worked out for her in the end, right? She fell in love and got to follow her dreams.

Who is your favorite Disney princess?

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Friday Favs {March 24}

It is Friday, TGIF. Wow, oh wow has this week flown. Something happened almost every single night this week and I am so excited to spend tonight snuggling on the couch with my favorite guy and puppy. We’re also (finally) going to see Beauty and the Beast tomorrow with some friends and then grabbing dinner. Last week we ended up not going because the movie time was too close to when Vinn played tennis. It is going to be a great weekend!

But before we get to that, here are my Friday Favs from the week! I’d love to hear what you’re loving this week.

National Puppy Day

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I would be remised not to include this cute face since yesterday was National Puppy Day. I know I talk about Copley so much but I seriously can not imagine life without her. She loves to snuggle, play fetch, go for walks and makes us laugh every single day. She clearly gets a lot of attention and can’t stand it when we busy doing something else and will do whatever it takes to turn our attention back to her. Yes, even working. As we say, “We gotta work. Someone’s gotta put treats in the bowl!”

Celebrating a friend’s 1 year in Germany

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Yesterday was one of my closest friend’s 1 year anniversary of living in Germany. She moved her with her German husband who works for the same company as Vinn. Her husband was an “expat” from Germany and working in the US for five years and his contract brought him back to Germany. She invited a bunch of people over to her house to celebrate with a magnum of prosecco and we talked about the past year, how it’s been tough, yet amazing and plans for the future. It definitely reminded me of all the thoughts that were going through my head on my one year anniversary of living in Germany. I am so blessed to have met her and my other friends because it has made life in Germany so much better!

Refinery29 Article

This article on Refinery29 really hit home for me. The title alone, “My Husband Makes $110,000 – & I Gave Up My Job for Him” made me instantly want to read it. Her story and mine are very similar, except that her husband is in the military and they are living in Alabama. She talked about how lonely not working can be and that she sometimes feels like a “moocher.” I totally relate to that but the takeaway is that you make decisions as a couple that are right for you and you have to focus on that. Kinda like how you can’t compare yourself to others because it is the thief of joy.

I think that’ll do it for this week! What are your Friday Favs? Have a great weekend.

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Comparison Traps

The other day I heard something super enlightening on one of my favorite podcasts. The concept of comparison came up on this podcast, I think it was The Lady Gang, and how easy it is to look at someone and think they “have it all” or that their life must be so perfect, so great.

And then one of them said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Wow, something so simple, yet so profound. And it really got me thinking about how I’ve fallen into the comparison trap in my life and how I want to release myself of these thoughts.

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Of course high school is one of the biggest times for comparing and judging other people. All roads lead back to high school, don’t they? I would see that popular girl getting all the attention from the guy I sorta liked and think, “What does she have that I don’t have?” Or I’d look at someone else’s test results and wonder why I didn’t get as high of a grade as so in so. This was just the beginning of the comparison trap closing in my leg like a bear in the woods. Like that bear in Fox and the Hound. 

And then in college, I got out of the trap a little bit but then fell back when it was time to get a “real” job. I started to compare my resume with the resume of friends, even strangers, and hope I was good enough to even land an interview.

After graduation, the real comparison trap opened. Here’s where I started to really get that trap pushing and pushing deeper into my leg. I would compare my engagement ring (which is beautiful and I love it) to other people’s. I would wonder why I had an apartment while other people were buying houses. Whenever I attended a wedding, I would compare my own to the current one. I’ve compared where I am in my career with my college and high school friends. I’ve compared my vacations with vacations from other bloggers or Instagrammers and thought, “Why didn’t we go to that place?” or “Why did their picture get more likes than mine?” I’ve looked at stay at home mom’s going out all day with their kids, wearing the most fashion-forward, expensive clothes and going on amazing vacations and wonder how in the world does she have all that money to do all of that. Why don’t I have that?

As I type this, it sounds so silly, so immature. Yet, it is human nature. And thanks to social media, people can portray only the best parts of their daily life. I’m definitely guilty of that. Comparison is part of the human race and is natural, but a waste of time.

After hearing the simple phrase, Comparison is the thief of joy, I’ve started to stop myself from thinking these thoughts. I don’t allow myself to compare my German skills with someone else’s because she most likely studies a lot, has lived in Germany longer and has a German-born husband. I’ve realized that you never know what’s happening behind closed doors and what people portray isn’t always reality. The girl with the great purse could be in massive credit card debt because of it. And the flip side, the girl with the okay purse probably has a lot more moolah in her savings account than I do. The point is, I have no idea what is going on with anyone else, so why waste my energy on it?! I found myself not feeling happy because my life didn’t match other people’s who I thought had a better life. Comparison is the thief of joy. 

Moving forward, I want to stay in my lane. I can only worry about how I’m doing in life and hope that today is better than the day before. Easily, I could be comparing my beginning to someone else’s middle and wondering why I’m not there, too. My life is pretty darn fantastic and I want to put all my energy into making it the best life I possibly can for me, my husband, my dog and my family. People are different, different strokes for different folks.

So, next time I feel myself comparing my life to anyone else’s, I’m going to think, Comparison is the thief of joy, and remember how great I have it!! I hope you do the same.

Have you ever fallen into a comparison trap? 

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Happy Birthday, Momma!

Well, hello there. Happy Monday, Happy First Day of Spring and, most importantly, Happy Birthday to my amazing momma.

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I won’t say which birthday this is because you will kill me, but I want to dedicate this post today to my beautiful, amazing, strong mom. I know everyone thinks they have the best mom, but I think my mom would definitely rank in the Top 5 ever, only to be behind Caroline Manzo and probably Kate Middleton. Could you imagine if Kate Middleton was your mom and you can raid her closet?

Here are the top reasons why my mom is the absolute best:

  • She introduced me to great music like Carole King, Diana Ross and other classics. We would jam to some oldies, acting out Ain’t No Mountain High Enough while driving around looking at all the huge houses and wondering what it looked like inside.
  • She is an amazing cook! Like incredible. Everything from homemade crab cakes to marinara sauce and the best coffee cake with all the cinnamon crunch on top, which is probably why I was fat as a child.
  • She is the strongest person I know. She battles an incurable disease but you would never know it. She never complains and puts everyone else’s needs above her own.
  • She feels her emotions. It’s because of her that I am in touch with how I’m feeling and every time we’re together we go through pretty much every emotion, especially crying and laughter.
  • She taught me that life is for living and that money can’t be happiness.
  • She is passionate. She taught me that finding your passion in life is the most important thing and to always follow my dreams.
  • She is my best friend.
  • She taught me how the best is yet to come always.That life always gets better when you surround yourself with great people, great food and great wine.
  • When I was going through the mean girls phase of middle school, she taught me that girls are mean when they are insecure with themselves and it has nothing to do with me.
  • We share a love of housewives and she can insert a housewives quote at the perfect time.
  • Her laugh is the best thing in the world. I seriously can’t count how many times we’ve laughed so hard we’ve started crying in my family!
  • And since becoming a wife, I’ve learned so much more from my mom. She taught me how putting your marriage first will create a bond that can’t be broken and will make your love last a lifetime.
  • She makes the best cheese plate ever. Well, any appetizer actually. All food as mentioned above. She taught me that it’s always better to have too much food than not enough when having people over.
  • She always find the fun in a situation.
  • She taught me how to use shopping as an aerobic exercise.
  • Most importantly, she knows that the sun never sets on a badass.

Love you, Mom, to the moon and back! I’m sorry I can’t be there today but May will be here before you know it!! I love that you’re my mom.

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