Contemplating Europe

The other day, I’d just about had it. There’s been more than a bit of doom and gloom to go around lately, both on a national and a local level. Nationally, I’ve become more and more discouraged with the callous way so many people seem willing to dismiss the concerns of others. The political landscape has changed from one where people had their own ideas, to one where it feels to me like more and more are just taking their ideas from someone else and letting themselves be told what to do and how to think. America’s struggled a lot in the years leading up to COVID, and it’s struggled in different ways since then.

Locally, there’s been a host of issues that I can’t get into. None of them super serious, but all of them draining when they add up.

Ever since my one Plan A fell through and I found myself with no Plan B (back when I was set on being an English Professor), I’ve been a firm believer in always having something lined up for if your first choice doesn’t happen. This time, one of the most frustrating things has been that I’ve felt like I have no real way of making a difference in so many things. I try to do what I can, but there are times that feels far too weak.

So I’ve come up with a Plan B. Something I can work toward if things go pear shaped. People have joked for years about “moving to Canada” if things got too bad in America. I’ve been to Canada, and it’s nice and all, but for some reason the thought of living there doesn’t really do it for me.

Europe, on the other hand? I could get behind Europe. More than half the work’s already done for me, after all. My wife and children are all EU citizens, which means they can move anywhere in the EU and live and work there. Since I’m married to an EU citizen, I can come with them, and I can generally work wherever they end up as well. (I can write books anywhere I live, of course. That’s helpful. Having the New York Public Library select Perfect Place to Die and Don’t Go to Sleep as two of their Spring 2023 Reads for Teens was a pick me up today when I found out.)

This isn’t to say Europe’s not without its problems as well, and it’s not to say I wouldn’t have issues wherever we ended up. But Denisa and I have come very close to moving to Europe before. The biggest obstacle has always been how difficult it might be to move back. I like job security, and hopping from one job to another too quickly isn’t something I’m keen on doing. But at the same time, Denisa’s now lived more than two decades in my home country. If suddenly there were nothing tying us to staying in America? Why not give it a go somewhere closer to her home?

Do I think I’m going to move to Europe anytime soon? Not really. But the idea really appeals to me, and for some reason having that as a Plan B has helped me feel more upbeat about my Plan A. Take something that might seem like a really big problem, and turn it into an opportunity. Where would we live? Think of the possibilities! Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden (I’m an eighth Swedish, after all) . . .

I’d better start on some more DuoLingo languages.


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