Creating my happy life on the other side of fear.

Monday, 2 September 2013

What made me the way I am.

Happy Labour Day!
I hope you're enjoying that extra day off, relaxing and doing some fun stuff!

Alas, I will have to go into work later this afternoon, but don't feel sorry for me: they pay me 2.5 times more than usual! Sometimes government jobs are just ace.

Tomorrow is the first day of Blogtember!
In true back-to-school, eager-beaver spirit I already did tomorrow's homework. And I can't wait till tomorrow to post it, so here it is.

This is the prompt:
Describe where or what you come from. The people, the places, and/or the factors that make up who you are.

Okay, here goes.


This is one of the very few photos that exists of my family. They really don't like having their picture taken.

I was born into a merchant's family. My grandfather built up a tiny grocery empire after WWII in a village that used to be in the middle of nowhere: In the South-East of Germany, right by the border to the Czech Republic and the former border to east Germany.

Before 1990 (when the wall came down), nothing ever happened there: no travelers, barely any new people, no improvements. It was a forgotten little corner of the world that got pretty cold in the winter with biting East winds, lots and lots of gray skies and grumpy people.

The house I grew up in

Work was the most important thing in our family. My grandfather vehemently disagreed with the idea of a vacation, so our store was open 6 days a week, every week of the year.
My parents had it a little bit better: they took one 2-week vacation a year; mom, dad, my sister and I would load up our old blue VW bus and take off to Sweden, Austria, Northern Italy, or, one year, to Yugoslavia (before the wars).

I just love the 70s! Look at that wall paper. And how cool is my dad with the cigarillo? Very, my friends.

My mom and dad met when they were 15 and 19, respectively; they got married four years later when I was on my way.
Both my parents have worked in the family business all their lives. 

Dad is a hardworking, quiet man who is prone to mumbling into his beard so people have no idea what he's saying; mom has extreme mood swings, from being upbeat and bubbly to getting quite mad at times.
Are they happy? I don't really know. Germans have a deep-seated sense of responsibility and doing their duty; being happy isn't their main consideration.

There never was a question of my dad doing anything else but taking over the store; it was what was expected of him, so he did it, with my mom by his side.
My sister, mom and I in Venice. I chose this picture because it shows that I loved red dresses at a very young age.
I hated our store. It took away all of my parent's time, energy and attention.
They did their best, but they were permanently exhausted after 11+ hours at work every day.
That store ruled all our lives; there was no spontaneity possible. My parents barely had free time; no time for hobbies, sleeping in, simply doing nothing. 

Cheese and bacon. Essentials for any hike.
My mom forced my poor sister to wear these wrap-around braces during the day, for instance on a hike on vacation. Yikes.

It did teach me some valuable lessons:
I was very shy as a kid, and terrified of talking to customers; having to do it nevertheless helped me a lot overcoming my shyness.
Hard work has been such an essential part of my life, I'm not afraid of it.

But.

Is it worth it? Live to work? Being a slave to a business that doesn't satisfy you and doesn't even provide you with a comfortable, care-free lifestyle?

No.

I seemed to inspire the strangle hold in various boys throughout the years - no idea why.
It was suffocating. I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I knew one thing: I wanted to be happy. Happy and free.

I don't wanna give you the impression that I had an unhappy childhood. Definitely not, quite the opposite! My sister and I played outside every day, had a family dinner every night, grew up in a safe environment.

It was not until I started to grow into an adult, trying to suss out a life for myself that I became so restless. Restless, searching, trying to find my path to happiness.

That yearning led me to Canada. It gave me the courage to take a huge leap of faith, leave everything behind, and face an uncertain future in a new country with a man I barely knew, but couldn't stop thinking about.

So what's the moral of the story?

Follow your heart. First, figure out what you want from life; then, go for it!
Look at the hard and difficult parts of life as valuable life lessons. Everybody has to go through them - try to turn it into something positive!

I am grateful for everything that has happened in my life thus far. It's been an exciting journey and I can't wait to see what will happen next!

xoxo Miriam


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20 comments

  1. that's a great story with a great moral :) it's nice to see where you come from.

    i might participate with this blogtember project, looks like fun!

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  2. Really enjoyed reading your story, I love your house with the shuttered windows. You are right about following your heart and being positive, I did this and I am now very happy. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Have a good day Miriam :-)

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  3. I loved reading your story! I love all of the family photos! I'm so glad I found your blog through Blogtember!

    xo Becky
    Seductive Mania

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  4. What a wonderful post, my grandparents are German and I can relate so much of how I saw them as a child to what you say here. I also agree with following your heart, mine has lead me to a life in Northern Sweden all the way from California!

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  5. What a cute story! I'll be following your blog now :)

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  6. I love all the stories you used. I really loved this part "Follow your heart. First, figure out what you want from life; then, go for it!"

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  7. What a historic background and I loved the moral of the story. It was when I was in college that I said, this isn't working for me - I don't want to live to work. I think we all need that moment at some point, to follow what makes us tick and not what makes us hope the minutes pass quickly.

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  8. what an interesting story! stoping by from blogtember!
    xo, sarah grace
    www.gracefullymadedesigns.com

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  9. I love your story, I came over from Blogtember! You are very brave for taking the leap and moving to Canada, great family photos :)
    Amia
    www.teapotsandbelles.blogspot.com

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  10. I just stopped by from Blogtember! Great story, and good for you for taking that leap of faith and moving to Canada! I thought moving across the country was huge, but moving from one Country to another must have been quite an adjustment! Can't wait to read more! :)

    Tawnya
    www.littlebabyscarlett.blogspot.com

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  11. hi, glad you found your path. Family was an important force in my life too. I am enjoying reading all of the Blogtember posts today. Hope you can stop by. :)

    Mary-andering Creatively

    Mary-andering Among the Pages

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  12. This is a great post- love the idea! I might have to try it myself. :)

    ~Allison~

    www.the-curious-cupcake.com

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  13. Great story! :) I also just finished my first Blogtember posting! I can't wait to read what else you have to write about!

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  14. Great post. I'm really loving today's post and reading everyone's stories.

    Mel
    Mel's Corner

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  15. Thank you all for the kind comments! I'm a bit overwhelmed by the response, but happy overwhelmed! Thank you!! I haven't had much time yet to read all your stories, but I read some and it's so interesting! Can't wait to read more.
    What a fabulous challenge.

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  16. Great start to Blogtember! x Sunday

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  17. this such a great read for me. I love travelling and learning about different background and your story gives both. I work.

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  18. That was a great post & who would have thought you've been so shy in your teens. :) Good thing you've overcome it all.
    I remember participating in Blogtember last year as well (probably for 2 or 3 posts only), but i remember doing a "Where i come from" post, in case you'd like to take a look, just search for that title. :)
    Thanks for sharing. xo
    Luchessa @ http://luchessa.org

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