An expats journey..

Living in Germany

As most of you well know, I took a challenge and moved to Germany as a contract engineer.

It was a complete new start and a chance to learn new skills and build an alliance in the military sector.

But it is not as easy as first described and there was times I almost fell to pieces and quit. However after taking 5 minutes to breathe and think about my options, I slowly overcame a lot of issues that were thrown at me through other contractors advice and of course the bar maids… it is almost true that they hear it all… and there advice is actually Pretty impeccable… ‘ here, this shot will make you feel better’.

Beer in the sunshine at mannheim’s saint Christopher festival

Well…. I suppose they are also bad influences, but the next morning when your drinking a cup of coffee to fix the hang over, everything else seems a breeze within reason… by no means am I suggesting that drinking is the answer, but the courage to open up to people and find solutions is like no other.

So what is it like being an expat in Germany… well if you can’t speak German it’s not the end of the world as many Germans can speak basic English but it does help to speak some German, especially when you want to get groceries and basic needs or not feel so lonely and want to speak to the locals. So I came here speaking no German what so ever, I was on my own and my workplace gave me an apartment in a very small town called Ludwigshafen… so let’s make this easier to understand … big cities = English speaking , small towns = pretty much no one can speak good English ….

So I am living alone, never lived abroad in my life and trying to order a beer at my local tavern. I eventually managed to order by pointing at other people’s drink and sticking a thumbs up, not the best start, but the locals certainly remembered my face.

From here on I had to try and speak some basic words to help me along the way and not look so rude, so I downloaded an app on my phone called Duo-lingo… it’s free and it takes you through the basics step by step and it was great! After a week I was asking for basic drinks and food!

That’s when it got slightly easier, the bar staff saw I was making an effort and they made an effort to learn basic English and we taught each other how to communicate.. not very easy and took a few months but it certainly gave my mind some peace in knowing that I was going to be ok. Beside who wouldn’t want to be in the middle of Europe with some incredible sights.

Time passed and I visited some of the best places in Germany, Berlin, cologne, munich, Nuremberg to name a few. These places definitely opened my eyes to new experiences and it is crazy to think that even though they are all in Germany… they are completely different, with different dialects (which made speaking German very hard..) and different people.

Christmas festival in Mannheim

But as an expat contractor working in Germany, you may have to move around and work on other bases/sites.. now that would be easy if I didn’t carry my whole life that doesn’t fit in one car load. But that was a challenge I managed to figure out eventually…

So I was based in Mannheim from July 2019 until January 2020 where I was posted in Bad Fallingbostel north Germany. And boy was it cold up there.. I didn’t want to move base but it was more money and well new towns and sites to see I guess.

The first night on the base was life changing.

I was unpacking my clothes ready to start a new challenge and in walks my next door neighbor to say hello…. in short her name was Summer Taylor-Bird and has not left my side since that night on the 25th January 2020.

Our first night away in Hamburg

We are crazy in love and with so many things that could go wrong… and did… we walked the long winding road hand in hand…

Working on this base was the biggest challenge I have ever faced, unfortunately Covid19 hit in mid February to March and the whole world came to a halt.

We had to continue to work 60 hour weeks, but we were not allowed to leave base, except one a week to go to the shops for 10 minutes.

It was full stop horrible, we were cramped into a tiny room with no WiFi, amenities to cook and we were served prison food.

I was lucky to have Summer by my side and we did the best we could to keep each other sane through the tough patches. And we made it… slowly the world started to re-open and we slowly got some of our freedom back which helped a whole lot. It made us realize how much this world has to offer and that there is so much beauty in the smaller things. And that’s exactly what we did…

On the 25th July 2020 we quit our jobs to explore some parts of the world 🌎, safely under covid guidelines and a few quarantine’s and of course test’s (not nice at all but worth making sure we were safe).

Brandenburg gate Berlin

So in the light from the 25th of January 2020 to The 25th July 2020, they were some of the worst days, but also some of the best days of our lives because one, we would never of met and two, we would of never appreciated this time together.

So, with the world slowly coming back, this is where our story begins to unfold ❤️

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” …

Natalie and Summer

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