“Do not leave the house!” I raced over to peer up from my basement window.
Had I heard correctly?
There it was again. Loudspeakers belted from the streets, warning everyone to stay inside. I shuddered. It felt very “dystopian;” especially considering I live in Munich, Germany, the Nazi seat of power during World War II. I couldn’t help but feel an eerie sense of déjà vu, imagining those poor souls trapped in their basements, speakers belting into the streets, albeit under very different circumstances.
We have been in lockdown in Germany for six weeks now. Yesterday marks seven weeks since school closed.
That hasn’t been the hardest part.
I’ve spent almost half the time in lockdown struck down with illness, self-isolating in our basement, away from my husband and three children.
My husband has shown incredible strength in this time caring for our three children, while managing to work full time. However, it’s been the kindness and prayers from my MOPS mums pulling me through the hardest days.
We relocated to Germany from our native Australia two years ago without knowing a soul. Luckily within weeks I met a fellow Aussie who introduced me to the local Munich MOPS group. I’d left my beloved Bible study, mothers group and mum friends back in Australia, and here I’d found a loving community of all those things rolled into one! I couldn’t believe it.
Starting out in a new country with young kids can be socially isolating. You are literally the desperate mum at the park trying to strike up conversations, no easy feat when you can’t speak the local language. I had no car and it was impossible to get a kindergarten place for any of my three children, so I was basically homebound.
So it was truly a blessing that, under these circumstances, I met and connected with our international group of MOPS mums hailing from across the globe, all the way from Romania to South Africa. They even encouraged me to come along to the meetings with all three kids; I could have cried! Eighteen months later I stepped up to co-lead MOPS, to give back to the community that gave me so much during those first “fly-by-the-seat-of-your- pants” months when you move across the world.
So, back to the basement. I’m in self-isolation and peering out of the basement window, feeling like death. Our region has the worst coronavirus rates in all of Germany; so I’m trying to avoid a hospital stay. My MOPS community came through, blessing me with groceries, meals and most importantly, prayers. These prayer warriors kept me out of the hospital. Incredibly, against all odds, I regained my health and narrowly avoided an emergency hospital admission.
It’s very difficult to leave your home country. Leave your job, family and friends. But the hardest thing for me to leave behind was my support network. Those people who have your back, step up when you’re down, and love you, no matter what.
What did I find in my new home in Munich? Warm pretzels, majestic snowcapped mountains and cows dressed up in flower garlands (yup, it’s a thing). But, I also found so much more in a community of MOPS sisters, who are there when I need them most.
Sarah Dudgeon is a co-leader for MOPS Munich, a mum to three beautiful kids, and a wife to her wonderful husband who she followed on a crazy adventure across the world from Australia to live in Germany. She is a chronic chocoholic and former forensic scientist. Sarah left a career as an environmental policy advisor to become a freelance writer. You can find her on IG @timeovertechnology or check out her blog at https://timeovertechnology.com/ where she inspires families to find a digital balance.