Thinking of Moving Abroad?

The first impression most people have when faced with moving abroad, is simply, “that’s too scary” or “it would be too difficult”. If my 17-year-old-farm-girl-self managed to move to a country where I didn’t speak the language or know anyone, anyone can!

I moved in 2009 to do an exchange semester in Germany. I had saved all my hostessing money, all birthday gift money, everything, in order to do the program with Youth for Understanding (YFU).

In 2010, I returned to study at Jacobs University in Bremen. It was a 3 year, intensive program in International Logistics Management and Engineering.

In 2013 I graduated and the beginning of 2014, I started working at Imperial Tobacco in Hamburg, Germany as a Graduate – Jr. Project Manager.

I often get the question, “why?”. Unfortunately, I have no answer to that question. The best I could give is, “why not?”. At 22 years old, when would I have another chance to travel the world? To live in a dodgy apartment with seemingly nomadic artists? To give up everything and try to make something new work!

There are difficulties which I would have never encountered if I had lived in the US, but these difficulties have shaped me as a person, and I have learned the meaning of patience. Maybe all of this should be saved for a different post. For now, I’d like to give some advice for those interested in moving to a new country!

1. Learn the language beforehand

In Europe, it isn’t always necessary to speak the native language of the country you reside in, but it does make things much, much more simple. For example, when I first arrived in Germany, I didn’t know what “Damen (ladies) und Herren (men)” meant. On some bathroom doors, there is simply a D or an H. This left me waiting until someone came out or in, so I would know where to go!

2. Don’t think too much

If you’re constantly thinking of what can go wrong, you will never leave your comfort zone. Yes, things will go horribly wrong. Yes, you will survive. There will be people who want to help you. There will also be people trying to screw you over. This is everywhere in the world. Trust your judgement and enjoy the adventure!

3. Take advice, but don’t always follow it

If I had listened to every piece of advice anyone has ever given me, I would be living with my parents in the small-town Iowa and would probably be a Veterinarian or something of the sorts. I also would have probably married that red-head farmer my parents were always so fond of. If you think it’s what you want to do, GO FOR IT! The timing will never be perfect, but the younger you are, the more time you have to catch up and make-up for your mistakes. 🙂

4. Stop delaying

The best time is now. Never postpone your dream. There will come a time when it is too late. Now is not that time. I have met women who moved with children, men who relocated for a woman, a family from the States who came so their sick daughter could get health insurance. There is every story under the book! You won’t be the only person in your situation.

5. Social Media is Your Best Friend

I met almost all of my friends at school, work or through other friends. However, some of the most amazing people I have met, was through Facebook. I joined several groups for people who are from out-of-town and went to some meet-ups. I will tell you that there are SO many sites to meet other people in the same situation. I am almost ashamed to say that the majority of my friends are also “Ausländer” (foreigners). We just have more in common!

Any questions? Need anymore advice? Let me know!

Paris

This week I experienced every romantic’s dream: Paris. The city of romance, love and inspiration for many writers and artists.

Alex had a meeting in Paris on Thursday and needed to travel out on Wednesday. Since I’ve always wanted to go, it was a perfect opportunity to join!

On Wednesday we arrived around 7 pm and took a taxi to our hotel downtown.  Total cost: €78. Thankfully this was a business trip!

It took an hour to arrive to the hotel from the airport. We stayed at Hotel de Suede which was a great experience.  Once we checked in, we dropped our bags off, and ran off to get dinner. Although dinner was lovely, it was very expensive (over €100 for 2) and not exactly our taste. We took the chef’s recommendation of beef wellington. Travelers beware: rare meat means one second cooked then cut. For beef wellington, ultimately that means very uncooked meat. We had it sent back and cooked a bit more which was great.

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After our dinner, we made our way to the Eiffel Tower. The lights twinkle every hour on the hour after dark and since we had gotten a bit lost and ended up taking a detour, our 20 minute walk turned into well over 30 minutes and we missed the 11pm light show. We decided to wait it out until midnight despite the freezing cold. When the clock struck midnight, it felt like we were the only ones at the park. (Which isn’t far from the reality)

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Throughout the trip we experienced the top of the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, the Louvre, and all the beauty Paris has to offer!

Isotretinoin

I haven’t suffered from poor skin my whole life. Of course there have been breakouts and ups and downs but for the past year or so, things have only gotten worse. After many different attempts with face washes, creams, lotions, etc., I decided to visit a dermatologist. Since having public health insurance,  it limits a little bit the choice of when and who you can go to. That’s why I decided to visit a private doctor.

He prescribed me isotretinoin, I had a blood test and signed a document promising that I wouldn’t get pregnant. The dosage is seemingly low, I switch every second day between 10mg and 20mg. According to the doctor, I’ll be on the drug for 8 months. A large expense, but hopefully it will be worth it!

I’m currently on day 4 and haven’t had any serious symptoms yet. My eyes have felt drier than usual and my lenses are sometimes uncomfortable but it hasn’t been a real problem.

Here are some before pictures for your pleasure.

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Hopefully by the end of this, those red spots will be gone!

An important person in my life

So I’d like to write a post about an important person in my life. This person has taught me patience, kindness and the true meaning of love.

We first met several years ago and my former university. I remember seeing him walking through the cafeteria with his best friend. Now to know how I really remember the first time I laid eyes on him, you first must know that his best friend starred in a promotional video which was sent to every incoming student. Wanting to be prepared, I had probably seen this video a half a dozen times! Anyways, he was hanging with an on campus “celebrity” and I remember noticing him within the first week of university.

Now, it’s disappointing but now we need to fast forward to my second semester of my second year. Of course nothing had become of us yet. The most I can say we were was fellow pupils studying the same degree. (Him – masters; me – bachelor’s)

I won’t say I was a great student, because that would be a lie. There was however a logistics professor who happened to be my academic advisor whom I respected greatly. I don’t think I missed a single class and even decided to go to the tutorials. Of all the things in my life I could remember,  my brain chose to remember that first tutorial with Alex. I was infatuated almost immediately.  He was so smart and patient and humble. Normally the tutorials are hosted by egotistical grad students who think they’re suddenly a professor because they are getting paid to host homework sessions in the evenings on campus for undergrad students.

Not him.

He seemed confident yet shy.  He knew what he was talking about and when there was a question he couldn’t answer, he would come back the next week and bring it up again for discussion with an answer. I was impressed at his attentiveness. 

At the time, I was in an on – off relationship with another guy and it was headed towards off again. Once it was officially off, I went out with my friends to the on-campus bar and saw him there. Being a bit tipsy as I was, I thought I might give a shot at flirting just a bit. After a few minutes of chatting, the last words were, “I’m going to let you get back to your friends now”.

Ouch.

Although I was a bit embarrassed,  I didn’t let it get the best of me and carried out my night dancing with friends and enjoying the freedom from classes. Years later, I’ll still never forget getting flat out shut down after a few minutes of chatting. I didn’t cease jokingly mentioning how hot my TA (teaching assistant) was.

Life does go on. I finished up my second year and hopped right into the third and final year while he graduated and moved to the nearby larger city about 2 hours away. Remember the off and on guy from earlier? It was back on and slipping towards forever off again. He had switched universities and moved to another country and things were looking pretty dim. He did come to visit during the first semester though to check out the yearly campus Olympics. So did Alex.  The first time that weekend we saw each other was at the nearby grocery store. I was with my friends and he was with his, both buying alcohol for the weekend to come. He greeted me with a hug like familiar old friends. It is common amongst students from the University to be friendly with one another. My friends gladly made comments and joked with me about my old crush.

We stumbled across one another several times over the course of the weekend but aside from some friendly chatting, we didn’t really connect much. A few months later, my best friend, along with a few other friends have a birthday in the beginning of November. He does too. My group of friends had the brilliant idea to take the train to the nearby large city.

His friends did too.

Long story short – nothing happened aside from all of us running into each other, drunk, and hugging. It was a brief encounter and I may or may not have sent a drunk Facebook message saying happy birthday with some gibberish mixed in.

He replied.

And that’s how it went. Our messages got more intense over the next weeks until he asked me on a date.

And that’s when the story of him and I became the story of us.

I never thought I’d be treated like a princess every single day. I can only hope it never ends.

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My loves

I’ve decided to use this blog to write about things I love.
So things I love might be random,  or maybe there’s a theme but I’ll leave it for you to decide!
My loves:
Weddings
Cats
Horses
Interior design
Project management
The color yellow
Acrylic painting
Baking and cooking
Cupcakes (the cutest ones!)
Traveling

So I’ll just use this blog to explore my interests and rant about whatever is on my mind!

Xoxo -C

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Personal photo of my love!

Adopting a cat from abroad

So since we’ve gotten settled in our amazing apartment and have gotten comfortable here, we’ve agreed to adopt a cat! By agreed, I mean Alex has finally given in to my pleas. 😉 Anyways, I’ve been researching and I’ve discovered a rescue which brings cats from abroad like Russia, Romania,  Ukraine,  etc. It’s a great organization run by a woman named Mariam Wagner and today I had a meeting with one of her volunteers! So before that I had to fill out a short and basic information questionnaire and today, Birgit came to our apartment and we had a cup of tea. We chatted about animals, work, life, everything and it was really nice. She was an older lady and very sweet. So far this process has been very pleasant! So in January we will hopefully be welcoming a little furry friend into our home! I’ve already set my heart on a pretty 3 year old Ukranian tortoiseshell. So keep your fingers crossed that everything goes well! And meet Oscha:

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Xoxo
-C

One year in Hamburg

So it’s been one year in Hamburg and I haven’t made any blog posts. Review of this past year:

I’ve been working for Imperial Tobacco since February as a project manager.  I really enjoy my job and travelling to new places for work. I live and work with my boyfriend Alex in a great apartment near work. We’ve been together 2 years now and we’re enjoying our expat life here!

I plan on using this blog as a way to put my thoughts down and rant if I need to! Hopefully this will help my boyfriend keep his sanity!
Xoxo – C

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