Today, a year ago, I left Singapore and the life that I had built there for 12 years.
I said goodbye to our helper who is so dear to us and our kids. Hoping that the new family she’s working after us is going to treat her kindly. She deserves that.
I said goodbye to my friends – without whom I would have not survived the grueling hours of the university and its assignments.
I said goodbye to the Indonesian community that always made me feeling like I am home – far away from home.
I said goodbye to the delicious halal food that is a plenty – easily reachable whenever I was bored with homemade food – and all of those hipster foods that I hadn’t had any chance to try.
I left the strong Muslim community I had – the weekly Sunday class with Ustadz Fatris, the chance to perform Ied prayer at open space – all the perks that I took for granted.
I took my boys away from the environment that they know so well – the friends that they have there, the comfortable weather all year, and all
We faced lots of hardships during our first few months here. I had emotional breakdowns – I needed to do so many things in a short time. Adjusting to the new job, new routines as a chef, housewife, and working employee, in a country which I have no idea of how to speak their language. I think I spent my first few weeks wanting to go back to Singapore and just to be done with Berlin.
I was miserable. We were miserable.
The adjustment period gave shocks to our relationship as couple, parents, and family, it tested our patience – but most importantly, it made us even closer to Allah.
Now, after a year, I am glad to say that things have taken a turn to better. The kids are finally adjusted with life in the childcare and more or less having a schedule. Both I and Husband have accepted that things are not going to be as smooth as they were – but there will always be helping hands everywhere.
Forced by the situation, I can finally cook edible (and sometimes good!) Indonesian food at home. I have learned (not mastered it – yet) how to adjust my schedule with the kids’ – long gone the days when I could sleep at 3 am and still could function during working hours.
We take the kids out on weekends to whatever is available around the city – despite not knowing much about the German language. Our eldest speaks German better than us and that’s a good sign since he’s going to primary school in 2 years time where all the lessons will be in German. We are still going to talk to him and his brother in English at home, so hopefully he’s not losing his roots. It will be a challenge to teach them Indonesian though – but for now, as long as they understand the instructions in Indonesian, that’s already enough.
Moving forward – I want to be able to at least speak conversational German. I also want to be able to multitask better without losing focus – that means less time for less important things, including social media. Some aspects of my life need to be fixed and upgraded too, especially when it comes to managing emotions and my quality of prayers.
With the kids, I want to be even more patient with them. I think they can sense when I am angry and while I do think it’s important for them to be able to asses the situation, I don’t want them to associate me with ‘anger’. There must be a way to talk to them and letting them know about the limits and have them obey that. I am still searching for ways to achieve this.
As for my husband, there are times in the past one year that I thought that we were too busy being a parent that we forgot about become a couple. Not sure how we are going to find some quality time with the hectic schedule that we haven’t been able to fully mastered yet – but we are going to take it easy and perhaps will start with watching a movie together haha.
There are still so many things that fill my mind – but I will process them as I go. Here’s for (hopefully) another blessed year in Berlin.
One evening in autumn,