Yesterday, the (older) boys asked me when we'd leave Germany, finally, and move someplace else. And I didn't know what to say.
Alas, the times are grim. Don't get me wrong, we still have a very comfortable and cushy life. We still have money in the bank (and in some funds, albeit I don't want to look at those Merrill Lynch statements anymore) and we can still heat the house. Put food on the table. Throw a nice birthday party for Alan. Those things, you know.
But. We had anticipated to stay in Germany for up to six months. We're getting close to a year now. We had never really believed to stay for so long and somehow, when you expect to pack up and leave again, you settle in differently. Half-heartedly. So, for instance, I never bothered to wrangle the school over Alan's education. I thought to myself, we're gone anyway in a few months, so never mind. We can tough it out.
But. Doug's company just filed for Chapter 11. Not that they had any work for him in the last year or so. But we were "on call" which allowed Doug to do short-term work for other companies while still keeping his benefits, especially the health insurance. Now we are looking at being "let go". As far as we know, Chapter 11 prohibits BearingPoint to bid on any new USAID contracts which means they have no immediate use for Doug, which means we are only a financial burden. If you're in trouble and can't pay your bills, you get rid of all financial burdens. I understand that, it doesn't mean I have to like it. So we are waiting for a notice any day now and then we have six months to figure out something with the health insurance. (I'm not going into the delicacies surrounding COBRA. Not today.)
Doug still gets a decent amount of short term work. There are even some bids that other companies want to put him on. Some are nice, others would require a seperation (unaccompanied post). He's very good at what he does, so he is sought after. But there just isn't all that much work out there at the moment. We're hoping for the Obama effect but so far, we haven't seen it.
There are some plans to relocate to the US - both possible jobs there are vague, though, and are keeping us on tenterhooks. It very much looks like we're going to be here for a while, and while it is sweet and wonderful that our friends and neighbors really like this idea, we're less happy about it. (This goes especially for the schooling issue.)
The big question is, how do you explain that to your kids? I think they need to understand that there is an economic crisis, that we are still doing very well, but that this is a time where we might be even more up in the air than usual. On the other hand, I want to surround them with security and safety.
I should try to find a job here. Just in case.
(Did I mention we're sort of in the back corner of Germany where there are no jobs around? Maybe I should write that great German-American novel. Hm.)