Half a year has passed since the last entry on our blog. That’s not exactly as I planned it. Rather the opposite is the case: I wanted to document our re-entry into western ‘civilisation’ just as I did with our journey. Often I asked myself why other sailors’ blogs turn quiet pretty much the same instant they arrive ashore ? Now I know the answer and it’s rather simple: There is no time. The life on land is a busy one and sometimes quite depressing and that’s not something I want to document on the internet.
The question we heard the most often during these last months is: ‘And ? Have you settled in ?’ This question is asked without much thoght and unsuspecting that the answer might be a long and complicated one. Just as for the typical ‘How are you ?’: people expect a simple ‘Good/well/whatever.’ and definately not a lecture on the positive and negative sides of different lifestyles. So right now I could just write ‘Good.’ And all of you would be satisfied, wouldn’t you ?
Or do you really want to know how we are and what’s been going on these last months ? I guessed so…
The initial arrival was quite nice. Hugging old friends, knowing the surroundings and the neighborhood, meeting family and friends of our kids… All very lovely. But we also knew from other sailors’ returns that the actual arrival hits you after a few weeks and it’s not a nice one. It was just the same with us. It’s not that suddenly you realise that the journey and the free and wild life is over. It’s more subtle. The changes get you slowly.
One thing I miss the most are the intense, deep conversations we had with our sailing friends. It seems that the people on land are just too busy or too fearful to really dig in deeper. So the conversations stay on the surface and the essential parts of life mostly are kept out of focus. This is a thing that really makes me sad and it is something that one starts to accept after a while – although it really hurts.
Our kids took it the best, I would say. They really integrated themselves rather easy and fast and Viola had no problems at all to find heaps of friends and find herself to be one of the top students in her class. For Bruno it wasn’t that easy as he was rather slow when it came to reading and writing. He had done school on board in spanish and german but his new school was all english so this was a big step. But after a few months he also had settled in and is now gaining on the midfield in his class. His teachers are optimistic and tell us that by the end of the year he would be above average. Well at least that is no reason for concern anymore. Before arriving in Berlin we were quite nervous about school but it all seems to develop very well. The kids have lots of friends and frequent sleepovers and playdates and both are quite happy.
And how are the grownups ? Well we didn’t have it that easy so far. During the first weeks we had a lot to organize (appartment, insurance, school, taxes, furniture, jobs, etc.) but that was all settled quite fast. More difficult for me was the fact that during our absence the development in politics, economics and society are still in the wrong direction and even picking up speed. So rather than getting more independet from the axis of evil (the five eyes) we embrace them with TTIP and CETA and at home ‘our’ institutions ECB, European Comission and IMF do everything to make the situation worse, to play everything into the hands of a few rich people while the big part of the population in Spain, Portugal and Greece is driven into poverty and unemployment. The news regarding the global surveillance through the NSA are not publicly discussed and the rather shy comission of enquiry that the german parliament put into work was dissolved during the first hearing when a double agent was discovered on the team. Business has to continue. Business as usual with full speed towards the abyss. These developments make me rather nervous (a huge understatement) and I’m quite sceptic when I look into the future. But here comes one of the most important learnings of our journey into the picture: Even when the future looks rather grim, we still know that a different life is possible. And we HAVE lived that life for some years. That gives hope. As does the awakening of Podemos in Spain or Tsipras in Greece. Maybe all is not lost yet.
Well now I’ve disgressed completely into the political arena. But well. Politics is important and the developements right now will have a huge impact on all our future. So. What have Gui and me done during these last months ? Gui was busy with her clothes label Coquito and travelled to Argentina in January to create the new collection. On the side she works three to four days a week in a little french restaurant here in Berlin. I started to work with my old company again. Back at the computer instead of painting the deck or working on the engine. It’s not exactly better work but it pays better and that is quite important for us right now. But still it’s not what I would want to do forever. That’s why I’m currently trying to establish a new company together with a friend. We’re still quite at the beginning but it will have to do with conserving and monitoring energy, focussing on small businesses now but going towards private households in the end. This is really fun and involves a bunch of skills that I really like to work with. Mostly electronics, electricity, programming embedded and web and also installing the equipment on site which gets me away from the computer at least one day a week. But the best is that doing this work, we’ll improve the human impact on our planet just a little and that’s great.
That all means that we both ususally work six days a week while our kids are in a full-time school. We meet only shortly in the evening then everybody is really tired. During the weekends we usually work one day each so there is no time to do anything together as a family. We were prepared that re-entering the ‘normal’ life wouldn’t be easy but we really didn’t expect it to be that hard. But still: spring is in it’s starting blocks and slowly one thing fits to the next and the outlook get’s better and better.
Many friends also asked me whether I would be writing a book of our journey ? Yes. I want to. Definately ! It’s just – right now I have no time to do that. And with two jobs and a lot of chaos around us it’s quite difficult to organize my thoughts and put them on paper (or rather on hard disk). But I have tons of content, a lot of good ideas and slowly the story is developing in my head – despite all the crazyness around me. So don’t give up yet and bear with me. It’ll be worth it. Promised !
But the best thing right now is that in two weeks we’ll be sailing ! YES !! It’s not gonna be the tropics but a little trip in Flensburg with friends will really be good for us. And actually – speaking of the tropics: I will be back soon. In three weeks I’ll have to fly to Australia visit the Suvarov. We’ll have to move her to a cheaper marina and also there might be two potential new owners having a look or a testsail. So please keep your fingers crossed that we’ll sell the Suvarov. That would definately cheer me up !