The Antiques Diva is Moving!
The Antiques Diva is moving to Berlin!! That said, I don’t consider this to be “Tot Ziens” as I’m not saying Good-Bye to The Netherlands– instead I’ll be waving a hearty “Tot Straks to Holland” (or “See You Later Dutch Darlings!)” Though my home is moving to Berlin, a bit of my heart (and business) will be staying behind, firmly planted in tulip fields of The Netherlands.
A few months ago, my darling husband came home and popped the same question that started our expatriation nearly a decade ago, “Do you feel like learning a new language?” The first time he asked this question 9 years ago, I exclaimed “Oui!” with an exuberant burst of joy – “Watch Out World – Here I come!” Paris never knew what hit them and I had the time of my life. Leaving Paris 5 years later wasn’t as tragic as I expected, for I never really left Paris… Hemingway put it best when he said, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
When my husband asked if I was “ready to learn a new language” upon moving from France to Holland, my answer was a hearty “Ja, Graag” followed by a conditional clause making him promise we would make the 5 hour drive south to the city of light as often as the mood struck. Last year alone, the mood struck more often than it didn’t and we visited France over half a dozen times! We moved north eagerly embracing the Dutch warmth and hospitality, learning that “Gezelligheid” is more than a word, it’s an attitude.
Gezellig is one of those words that has no translation…. It sort of means “cozy” but it’s more than that… it’s like getting a friendly embrace, being in a comfortable and charming environment with enjoyable and gregarious people. Our time living in Holland, if described in only one word, was definitely “Gezellig.”
When my husband told me of a job opportunity which required us to move from Amsterdam to Berlin, I was elated for his new role and for the opportunity to live in another country, but internally I asked the question “Am I ready to move?” I’d barely wrestled the Dutch language into submission, and thoughts of attempting to acquire another language felt daunting…plus I’d made such good friends here, had a growing prospering business and a wonderful social life. For a few days I fell into despair… Move? Not Yet! And then suddenly, this diva got her groove back! Before I knew it I had visions of shopping at KaDeWe, strolling Kollwitzplatz hand in hand with my husband and hanging out with the pretty people on the Gendarmenmarkt. As I dashed to Berlin on a whirlwind house hunting trip, I started singing a new theme song…. My travels were accompanied by the world-weary singing voice of the sultry Marlene Dietrich. But in the background, just as Edith Piaf had whispered songs in my ear even as Johnny Jordaan had lured me north, Johnny Jordaan now competed with Dietrich. Before long I was going to need an internal CD player to keep my theme songs in order!
One of the best things about moving as frequently as we have (6 times over the last 12 ½ years of marriage) has been the opportunity to try on new cities and countries as if we were buying a new trench coat. In the beginning you’re never quite sure when to wear the coat – is it too light, too heavy, too dressy, too casual? But over time, you learn the best days to wear it (and inevitably you have days when you’d rather wear a different coat!) but over time, it conforms to your body – fitting perfectly in the crease of your elbow, the bend of your waist, gliding over your bum as if it were made for it. The collar stands protecting your throat from a brisk breeze and then one day, a button falls off into a mud puddle and you notice that those “comfortable places” are starting to show some wear. Unfortunately, as with a well worn coat, it seems in our life that just as soon as we start to feel comfortable in a new environment/country, it’s time to move again! And with this move to Berlin, it’s time to buy a new coat again!! Fortunately for me I was out with friends last week and found a vintage mink for a dime – so I’ve got the coat covered for the Berlin breeze – but I fear I am about to be uncomfortable again, learning a new language, learning a new city and a new culture!
I’ve been perusing expat blogs and getting tips on my soon-to-be German life and planning for adventure! But even as I cleared a spot on my bookshelf for some German travel guides, I knew this move, like the move from Paris to Holland, came with a conditional clause. I’ll be back… And not just for socializing and cultural kidnapping… but also for work – my tour business and public speaking arena.
I started writing this blog in August of 2007 – ironically, that first blog was about antiquing in Berlin. Shortly after beginning my blog adventure readers began emailing asking for tours, and before long a business was born. I hired Diva Guides in Holland, Belgium and France to help with The Antiques Diva Tours and with the help of these lovely ladies will continue to run Antiques Diva tours. But perhaps the best thing about having started this business is that it is a career in my suitcase. Each place I go allows me to expand my business!!! Once I get my bearings in Berlin, Diva Tours will expand to encompass a new country – Germany!
In the meantime, have patience as over these next few weeks and months I might not be myself as I go through wave one of Culture Shock – Berlin!! As I get settled in a new home, friends have come out of the woodwork offering to help – you’ll note several guest bloggers appearing on my blog in these coming weeks (as they have in the few weeks prior). Should you have an idea you’d like to share with Diva Readers, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org to find out submission guidelines!
As I close, I guess the words of a famous German-speaking Austrian-American come to mind….
The Antiques Diva ™