This break was much longer than planned. Last year, the Flying Carpet flew back to Germany. Unlike my move to the US eight years earlier, my grandmother’s carpet did not just carry me and my two suitcases across the Atlantic. However, I’d like to believe it helped transport our entire household–me, my American husband, our American-born son, our dog, and lots of furniture, clothes and other stuff.
Moving our stuff over here and getting settled took a lot of time. The first months were spent dealing with cross-border bureaucracy like getting our car out of customs and registering our new residency in Stuttgart. It was also a time spent reconnecting with places, friends and family after so many years abroad. While all this was going on, I managed to write an occasional post for the Wall Street Journal’s Expat Blog. So if you are interested in how to move a dog across the Atlantic, how to relearn how things work at home or why expats always bitch about their host countries, check out those posts.
So a lot has changed for me and my family – just not on the Flying Carpet. But now that the physical carpet has landed in Stuttgart and we are settling into our new lives, the themes of this blog – transatlantic versus transpacific, international versus local – are rearranging themselves in a new pattern.
Rather than reporting on this year’s U.S. election and other Americana, I now re-discover my own home country with new eyes. Relocating to Germany has been and will continue to be a transatlantic experiment for our family. My latest piece for the Wall Street Journal talks about the back and forth between the American and the German mother in me when our son transitioned from American daycare to a German Kita.
But I was not always a “transatlantic gal” – and our move allowed me to reconnect with my transpacific professional roots. It’s been fun to return into the circles of the German Asia community, and I am proud to be the editor of the Mercator Institute for China Studies’ new blog, European Voices on China. I enjoy catching up with the current debates on China, and once I feel that I’ve caught up, the Flying Carpet may benefit from some new transpacific content.
Apart from international expat themes and geostrategic shifts in Asia, I also like to think about where I am in the here and now. Stuttgart, just like Washington, DC, turned out to be a fascinating place for local observations. It’s the city of Mercedes and Porsche, but yet it’s run by Green politicians. Stuttgart’s citizens are ridiculed for being provincial by other Germans, yet this place has one of the most diverse international communities of any German city. So be prepared to read more about my new hometown in future posts.