That’d probably be my number-one FAQ, actually, and it’s really a hard one to answer. Put as simply as I can, we have to go where the jobs are, so if someone offers Dr.Bob a job in the States, we’ll have to move. If he finds work here, we stay here. The American academic community is much, much better than the German – even now, with those morons trying to shut down liberal professors, and federal funding headed down the toilet, it’s still better than the monument to ass-kissing that is German academia – so it would be good for him to be there. But Germany is a lot more family-friendly. Speaking of families, we have lots of relatives here. I have family in the States, but none of them are near a university that would hire my husband.
Hee, sidenote: back in 1996 when Dr.Bob started the Ph.D program in Madison Wisconsin, the German friends and family were all, “Aren’t you happy to be moving back near your family?” at me. Uh, yeah. My family’s mostly around Seattle. We do not consider 2000 miles “near”.
So basically, professionally speaking we would both be better off in the U.S. We would make more money, we would pay fewer taxes. But as a family, we are better off here, because we actually get to see our kids from time to time. Americans work too much.
I am certainly more comfortable in the U.S. I really hate how difficult everything becomes when you have to do it in another language. I hate even more how this does not seem to be the case for other expats. I miss my family a lot, and my friends, and also stupid things like Target and decent peanut butter and roads that are a bit wider than the cars. I miss the Pacific Northwest like you wouldn’t believe. Everything about it. But the kids have an extended family here, and after five years they have really put down roots. Moving them now would be hard on all of us.
I try to visit about once a year, if I can manage it. It gets more expensive as the kids get older, but I can also work more as they get older, so that evens out, more or less.
But as I said, we have to go where the jobs are. If some university in the U.S. offered Dr.Bob work, we’d go. We’d have to.