Long-Time-No-See

It’s been a very long time since I last blogged and a LOT has happened since then. My last post was in November, I had just come back from Abu Dhabi after I had an infection in my ankle and it was clear I had to recover a little bit longer than I wanted. Instead of staying with my friend again, I decided to spend some time with my parents, my sister and her nephew back in the countryside in the house where I grew up in. Staying with my parents wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be and my nephew is absolutely adorable. It was good to be back ‘home’ even though it doesn’t feel like home again. Oh well, the joy of being a serial expat.

In November I went to New York City for two weeks, where I stayed at the Ritz Carlton Central Park. It was freezing cold in NYC and unfortunately I got yet another infection in my leg. This time even more serious and painful, than the time in Abu Dhabi. I had to fly back earlier than I wanted and went straight from the airport to the hospital. Unfortunately, it turned out that my metal plate on the fibula was infected and I needed another surgery. Just before Christmas I had another surgery in Germany where they removed the infected plate and immediately I felt much better. It’s still a long process and it’s almost May and I am still attending physic therapy two to three times a week. Just before the surgery, I signed a contract for a position in Dubai and I finally moved to Dubai in January.

Ever since I moved to Dubai, time is flying. I can’t believe it’s already the middle of May. Even though I only work part-time and have plenty of time off, it feels like I never have time. Don’t get me wrong, I am finally doing a lot again. I am socialising, I make an effort to wake up early (Well, I have a foster cat now and six kittens, so that definitely helps waking up) and I just got back into my healthy eating and living well routine. Dubai is fantastic and it was one of the best decisions to have moved here.

Ever since I left London at the end of 2014, I really struggled to blog regularly. After changing my name and rebranding in the summer of 2015, I lost my motivation to write. Of course, with the new domain my DA went down to 1 and it seemed to take forever to increase it again. I would like to start blogging again for the right reasons and not just for how many followers I have. I might be not in London anymore, but Dubai is such an exciting city to live in and I want to share more of my life in the UAE with my mainly UK based readers.

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My ankle is healing very well. I am actually walking without crutches since the end of September and life is slowly getting back to normal. It’s been over three months since my accident and in the beginning of October I moved to Abu Dhabi to start working again. I couldn’t wait to return to work. Well, actually I started a new position.

One week without work is great, two weeks without work are even better, but towards the end of my recovery I started to get bored and even depressed. Maybe to be off work for ten weeks is awesome if you don’t happen to have a broken ankle and can actually do something, but under these circumstances it was hard.

Life when you are unable to walk

Most of the two months I spent at home, resting on the sofa and watching TV. I bought Apple TV and binge watched Netflix, slept a lot and gained half a stone. The first weeks after the second surgery were especially difficult. Luckily, I was in a position where I could afford to hire staff and even though I couldn’t find one person to do everything I needed, I managed to find two people to split the duties and it worked very well. While one focussed on the housekeeping aspect of things, the other person took me to the doctors, shopping and whatever else I needed to do.

Getting independent again

I was very happy when I could more things by myself after the first five-six weeks. At the beginning of September I managed to fly to London for four days and spent time with George and Maximilian. It was such a wonderful time and I was very upset when I had to leave them again. The main reason to fly to London was to see one of the best endocrinologist in London. I got some shocking news, but I feel like I am in good hands now and we started a treatment plan that hopefully will improve my PCOS.

While I didn’t enjoy being in Germany, I was happy to spend two months with my closest friends before I head off to Abu Dhabi. I knew visiting them on the weekends wouldn’t be as easy as it was when I lived in London or Lugano. It’s been over three weeks since I moved to Abu Dhabi and what can I say? I am actually back in Germany looking for a new position. Why and what’s next for me will be covered in another post soon.

Broken Ankle Flowers
My last blog post was a while ago. I don’t know where the time has been since I clicked Publish for the last time. Shortly afterwards the last post went live on my blog, I travelled to Bern for an interview and to spend some time in the town to see if I like it. While Bern is not London, where I had hoped to move back to just a few weeks before, I liked Bern and the position was everything I could ask for. While I was looking forward to go back to London, I wasn’t too sad when I made the decision to move to Bern and I accepted the offer.
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On the train back to Lugano, I suddenly got very sick. I got fever and chills. I could feel it wasn’t just a fever, but it was actually quite high. The entire train ride home, I just wanted to get home and go to bed. Once I got to Lugano, I had troubles getting off the train as I felt dizzy and I could hardly walk. With a lot of effort, I pulled my suitcase to the taxi rank only to see that there was a long queue but no taxis. Great. After I waited for almost twenty minutes, I got in the taxi and all of I sudden I felt a stabbing pain in my left chest. I texted my employer who told me to go straight to the hospital and the taxi driver took me there. Upon arrival, I had 40 degrees Celsius, but luckily my heart was fine. They couldn’t find a reason for my fever and kept me in hospital for three days, doing several blood tests and other tests. For 24 hours the fever came and went, despite medication and they kept testing for several viruses, but all came back negative. After three days I felt much better and I could go home, just in time to prepare packing for a holiday in Sicily.
Processed with VSCO with 5 presetThe first week in Sicily, we stayed in San Vito Lo Capo. San Vito Lo Capo is a town in North-Western Sicily and has only 4000 inhabitants. The town is located in a valley and you get a view of the surrounding mountains. Beautiful.  I spent six nights in one of the hotels there, but most of the days I spent on the boat, with day trips to the island Favignana and one day we went up to a small mountain village called Erice. The second week we took the boat from San Vito Lo Capo and after a stop in Isole delle Femmine and Palermo, we stayed five nights in the port of Cefalu. I really liked Cefalu and was very sad when we left, but I was also looking forward to sleep in a normal bed again.
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Just a week after the return from Sicily, I was meant to move to Bern and have a small holiday in London before starting my new position on the 9th of August. I was really looking forward to a new start, even though I dreaded packing all my belongings again. I just moved in January to Lugano and it took almost two months until I was fully settled. However, moving would also mean that I get to decorate a new place, choose furniture and make a new ‘home’. All in all I couldn’t wait. Little did I know that I would have a little accident just a day after returning from Sicily.

One of the things I had to do in my last week in Lugano, was to go to the local comune and to notify them about my departure. I had to sign some papers and tell them that I will move to another comune for a new job. On the way there it happened. I chose a shortcut from the house into the village, a small grass path I had walked 100s of times up and down. It’s very narrow and on the right, it goes downhill, not deep but steep. The grass was quite high and I didn’t see where the path ended and the grass slope started.

Broken Ankle Flowers
What happened next will probably give me nightmares for a while: The grass was still a bit wet and I only wore espadrilles, that I bought in Sicily, with a flat sole and my right leg slipped down the slope. It all went so fast and all I could hear was a loud crack coming from my left leg. It took me probably two minutes, at least it felt so long, until I could look at my ankle and I wish I hadn’t. It was dislocated and completely turned to the left. Luckily I was in shock and the pain wasn’t too bad. I was unable to unlock my iPhone and started to scream in panic. I called for my employer, I called for help. Aiuto! Aiuto! After a short while I was able to unlock my phone and I tried to phone my boss, but she didn’t reply. My best bet was to call an ambulance and that’s what I did. The lady who answered the phone only spoke a little German and no English, she thought I was in a fight with my partner as I was crying and couldn’t talk properly. Luckily, two workers from the construction side nearby, came running and I handed one of them the phone while explaining the other to get my employer. They talked to the medical dispatcher in Italian, they saw my foot and they could also explain the exact location. She then spoke to me and told me that the ambulance will come soon.
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 Shortly afterwards the ambulance arrived and so did my boss. She was shocked when she saw my foot and directly called her sister-in-law who is a doctor at the hospital to come outside and ‘greet’ me when the ambulance gets to the hospital. Three medics started asking me questions, how it happened, whether I fell on my head and I tried to answer, but I was still in shock and talking wasn’t easy. I could hardly hear what they were saying, all the colours around me were ‘weak’ and I felt like I was standing beside me. The medics gave me some painkillers and started to prepare me for transport. Inside the ambulance I got more painkillers as the first didn’t seem to help and within minutes we got to the hospital. Once inside the hospital a doctor immediately came, looked at my foot and his eyes said everything. The nurse asked me to undress and put on a hospital gown, I already knew that didn’t mean anything good and shortly afterwards I had my first x-ray. It confirmed my ankle was broken, but they didn’t tell me too much. They knew it would freak me out and I was already very scared knowing that they would have to relocate my ankle. It was going to be very painful and I wished it was just a dream.  Unfortunately, it was not. Luckily, they told me that they will sedate me and that I won’t feel any pain during the procedure and I didn’t. I just saw the moment two doctors put the ankle back in place, but I felt no pain and a few minutes later I woke up and I was ready to go up to a hospital room to wait for my surgery. You can’t imagine how thirsty I was but I wasn’t allowed to drink or eat anything. It was very hot in Lugano and the hospital didn’t have air conditioning, so I just hoped that I won’t have to wait too long until the surgery, but they told me it was around 8pm or even later.
My boss visited me around 6pm and a few minutes later they picked me up for the surgery, much earlier than I thought and I was very scared. The nurse and my employer brought me downstairs to the operation theatre, where I had to say goodbye to my boss. Once inside, they prepared me for surgery. The surgeon answered all the questions I had and explained the procedure to me. They would use an external fixator to stabilise the broken ankle until I could have the final surgery a few days later. He said it will only take fifteen minutes and assured me that everything will be fine. The anesthetist who had earlier sedated me, arrived and started with the general anesthesia. Of course, I can’t remember what happened next, but I woke up around an hour later and I felt okay with no pain. The nurses brought me back upstairs and after they checked my blood pressure I could finally drink and eat something.
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My parents arrived in Lugano the following day and stayed for four nights. Initially the doctor thought I could have the second and final surgery on Friday and that I was able to go home the Tuesday after, but a CT scan showed that everything was worse than thought and that I couldn’t have surgery until at least the following Tuesday. I had broken the ankle three times, a very complicated fraction and a ruptured ligament. The days at the hospital were long and the nights were short. I got lots of medicine, painkillers as tablets, morphine injected into my leg and thrombosis shots – every single night. I couldn’t sleep well, so I also got sleeping tablets and yet, I woke up many times during the night. The first week I shared the room with three ladies as the hospital was full but the doctors promised me to transfer me to another hospital where I have a room to myself.
Just as promised, I moved to the other hospital on Sunday, just a day before the Swiss National Day and while the hospitals belong together, the other one was just recently renovated and it was so lovely there. The hospital had air conditioning, electrical blinds and I had a TV in my room. I was also a bit more independent. On Tuesday, the 2nd of August, I finally had my surgery and everything went very well. I have three plates on my ankle bones now, and I have to walk on crutches until the end of September. Last Sunday I could finally go home. I am currently in Cologne and stay with my best friend Kim. Luckily, there is a very good private clinic here who specialises in orthopedy. Three times a week I have physical therapy and manual lymphatic drainages there. I will also start with isokinetic training. Every day I have to take a lot of painkillers, when the pain gets really bad I have to take morphine and I had to learn how to inject myself with the thrombosis shots. That’s what I have to do every single night until the end of September. On Wednesday the stitches will be removed and then another four weeks before I have another x-ray.
I am trying to be as positive as possible, but it’s hard. I am unable to do the most basic things and it’s hard. I am grateful to be able to afford someone to help me with my daily life, take me in a wheelchair everywhere I need to go, help me with my shopping, cleaning, cooking and so on. I have found another job in Abu Dhabi and I will start in October, so you can imagine how excited I am. I have seven weeks now and I want to concentrate more on my blog, I am planning to move to WordPress next month and redesign a little bit. I also want to focus a bit on improving my Italian. It’s important to me to try and do as much as possible during the time I can’t work.
Thanks for reading this post. I hope you all have a lovely week.

The Real Cost of Being an Expat
I moved abroad for the first time just two months after my seventeenth birthday. I wanted to take a break after the 10th grade and improve my English. Becoming an Aupair in England seemed the perfect choice. It gave me independence and the opportunity to discover another culture. Back then, I never thought I would still be an expat almost ten years later.
It’s been nearly nine years, four countries and even a short stay back in Germany since I first said goodbye to family and friends.

Personal life as an expat

Being an expat is great when you are young; single and you don’t have a care in the world. Now I am slowly starting to realise what a cost expat life has to my personal life. I am nearly 26 and never had a serious relationship with someone. My friends back at home get to experience all those things. They are moving in with their partner, getting married or even having children. I don’t even know where I will be next year and making commitments in my personal life is very difficult, if not impossible.  Well, I had what you would consider a serious relationship with someone for three years, but he is constantly moving for work too. One year I actually ended up flying back and forth to New York City twice a month. However, we had an age gap of fifteen years. He wanted to get married and have children. For me it was too serious when I was 23. I dumped him and with him London shortly after.

How did my life as an expat start?

In 2007 I said goodbye to my grandfather who kindly dropped me off at the airport in Cologne with two suitcases. A very kind airline didn’t charge me for the eight kilos excess luggage I had.  Of course, my parents weren’t at the airport, after all I had fallen out with them over a year ago. Back then we were on non speaking terms. Shortly after drinking milkshakes with my grandfather and boarding the plane, I landed at Stansted Airport and was excited to start a new part of my life. At the beginning I lived in Sevenoaks, where I also went to college. In January 2009 I moved to London. I fell in love with the British culture, yes, I was young and naive and at the beginning everything looked perfect. The move to London as a just recently turned 18 year old girl seems like everyone’s dream and it was mine. Even though I worked 5-6 days a week, I would be out partying three to five times a week. Sometimes I would only have two hours of sleep. Those were the days, when I still had the energy. In 2011 I wanted a change from London and I go somewhere else. I knew that I wanted to return to London after one or two years. After a successful job interview in Brussels the moving van and I were off to Belgium’s capital in April 2011.

The expat bubble

While I never felt like an expat in England, I felt like one in Brussels from day one to the day I moved. Belgian people do not welcome foreigners with open arms, at least all my expat friends and I thought so. Being an expat is like an inner circle. You go to great events thanks to organisations like Internations and meet other expats but you never truly belong to one place or to that local group of girlfriends who see laughing and chatting in the cafe around the corner. It’s hard to break out of that circle.
Surely, I met many great people on the way, but I feel, although those friendships are great, they hardly ever go deeper than having great times together. Can I say I would ever count on one of them when my house burns down and I need a place to live? I am not sure. Also, many expats of course will move to another city or country at some stage. Some stay a year,  some a bit longer, but hardly ever someone stays for good.

My friends are all over the world

Of course, I have really great friendships with people I met when I was a young teenager, but they are still back at ‘home’.  They don’t understand what it means to leave everything behind you, to start from scratch in each new country you move to. They don’t know what it means never to know, how long you will stay in your new place and it’s hard to explain it to them.

While I am writing this, I am sitting at home – on my own, wishing someone would be here to watch the first match of the German soccer team with me tonight. I know I am moving back to London in August, where I feel home and I hope I am staying for at least two years. Including the move to London, I am moving for the fourth time in 20 months and financially I can’t afford another move anytime soon.

Just before Christmas last year I had surgery. I wasn’t feeling well for a while, I gained over 50lbs in less than eighteen months, thanks to a diet full of sugar and carbohydrates. It lacked all the nutrients my body needs and my PCOS played up big time. Instead of being full of energy and wanting to live my life to the fullest, I felt like an old person and was already tired by the time I woke up. Tired is not the right word. Occasionally I bursted into tears while brushing my teeth as I knew I had to work. I was not tired, I was exhausted. I never prioritised my health and it caught up with me. Every month I was in pain when one or two of my ovary cysts ruptured and for the first time in my life I had to call in sick at work once a month for a few days. My social life was nonexistent, getting ready seemed too much for me and most of the times I would work, come home, spend some time on my computer and fall asleep. That’s all I did for months and eating. The surgery was a wake up call and I really wanted to change my lifestyle habits for the better in 2016 (and the years after).

1. Moving and starting a new job 

I didn’t make it a secret that I was very unhappy in Germany. While I felt loyal to my employers, nothing else kept me in Cologne. I wanted to go and so I did. In January I moved to Switzerland for a new position and to have a fresh start. A fresh start from myself. It was me who neglected my body and I realise now how much harm I caused myself. My new job pays better and I work less hours. So it’s a win win situation.

2. Ditching the Diet Coke

I have probably blogged about this before, but I was one of the biggest diet coke addicts out there. I would drink four litres of diet coke a day. Every day. I knew how bad it was for me and I couldn’t stop. On more than one occasion, I tried to stop only to have a horrible headache and be moody after a few hours without it. I had my last diet coke on the flight to Milan, that was the 6th of January and then I went cold turkey. It was one of the best decisions I made so far this year, all my stomach issues are gone.

3. Going back to Paleo

In 2014, I went three months on the Paleo diet and nothing else has helped me not only to lose weight, but also improve my general well-being as much as Paleo. Since the beginning of January I switched back to a diet without processed food, sugar and dairy. I do have the odd treat when I am on holiday though without feeling guilty, but I go straight back to healthy heating. I have lost weight, my skin is improving and I have much more energy.

4. Working out again

While I never worked out a lot, I did work out 2-3 times a week, either running or having a session with a personal trainer at the gym. I am now working out 3 times a week with a personal trainer here in Lugano and I can already see improvements.

5. Losing weight

Well, Number 3 and 4 only lead to number five and yes, I am down 12lbs already since the beginning of January. It’s still a long way to go, but I hope to be there by the end of this year. I don’t have a goal weight, I would like to be fit and healthy. I don’t care about the numbers on the scale.

6. Starting Yoga

It’s something I wanted to do for a while now, but I was always too embarrassed to try. However, having moved to Lugano and trying to care less about what others think of me, I am starting a Yoga class in March. It’s a beginners class and I can’t look forward to start next week.

7. Better sleep

My sleep can be described in a few words: Quantity but not quality. So while I always slept a lot or at least enough, I never felt like I got a good night’s sleep. While I am still adjusting to my new home in Lugano, I am already sleeping better. It’s still hard to fall asleep and to sleep through the night, but overall I feel better in the morning when I wake up.

8. Drinking Water

Drinking enough water every day was something I really struggled with, especially as I was so busy drinking diet coke. I am now drinking three to four litres a day and it really became a good habit. It helps me losing weight and improving my health.

9. Spending less time on my smartphone

Okay, I have to admit. I still use my iPhone a lot, but it is a lot less than I used to. In the past it was so hard just to leave my smartphone somewhere and I guess I spent 6-8 hours a day staring at my phone. I am still trying to reduce using it over the next few months.

10. Being happier with myself

I was very harsh to myself, blaming myself for too many things and in general, not loving me. I am more positive about myself now and I am very optimistic about the future. I am finally feeling a lot better than I did the last two years, especially last year, and I have all the energy back I need to reach my goals.

How about you? Have you made any changes this year? How do you feel?  Let me know in the comments box below! 

It’s Tuesday again. Time flies so fast – even in Switzerland. I have been in my new job for nearly two weeks and everything is going well. I really like Milan and Lugano and I am lucky to be able to travel within a short time to one to another. 
On Sunday I went for a little walk around Lugano Town. I shouldn’t have trusted the sunny weather, even though the sun was out it was freezing cold. Silly me went outside without a scarf and gloves. I had lunch at the Manor Restaurant. Manor is a store just like Debenhams or House of Fraser here in Lugano and even though it’s closed on a Sunday, the restaurant is open. The restaurant is buffet like, but the food is amazing. The chefs prepare fish and meat just to your likings in front of you. Unfortunately, the chef didn’t understand what I mean with rare and in the end my steak was nearly well-done. Nearly everything is closed in Lugano on Sundays and as it was too cold for a long walk around the lake I thought about going home early. Luckily, we have the LAC in Lugano and I wanted to check it out. LAC stands for Lugano Arte e Cultura and one of their current exhibitions is Anthony McCall’s Solid Light Works. It sounded interesting and I bought a ticket to see it. You are in a dark room and see nothing than the light projecting onto the walls. It was amazing but unfortunately very short. 

After I saw the exhibition, I bought myself an adult colouring book in the LAC shop. Recently so many bloggers wrote about the form of art therapy and as I felt very stressed last year, I wanted to give it a go. I bought a lovely Mosaics Art Therapy book and started as soon as I came home. I am now addicted to it and colour until 2am in the morning. On my way home I pass the lake and even though it was cold, the sun was out and the lake looked nothing but beautiful. 

It’s been a month since my surgery and I am feeling much better. Every day I have more strength and I am able to work out again. I eat better again and I cut out all the diet soda. I can’t believe myself that I am only drinking water now. I am at a much better place now and it was a good decision to move to Switzerland. On Saturday I fly to Germany to pack my last belongings and in February the moving van arrives in Lugano. I can’t wait to have my belongings back, especially my kettle bells. 
Have you been to Lugano? Do you like adult colouring books? 

After one year back ‘at home’ I left Cologne last week to split my time and work between Lugano and Milan. I spend 12 months too long in Germany and I am really happy to be an expat again.

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”

Last Wednesday I flew to Milan Malpensa as I stayed in Milan the first days of my new job. On Friday we then drove to Lugano, it’s about an hour drive. Unfortunately the weather hasn’t been great and it rained a lot, but today the sun came out and I managed to get a few pictures from the view I have from my bedroom terrace. It’s just such a wonderful view, don’t you think? I can’t wait for summer so that I can have a dive in the pool.

My New Year, New Location Resolution was to start a healthy lifestyle again, cutting out all processed food and to finally quit diet coke. I can proudly announce that I haven’t had one sip of it since last Thursday. This might sound very ridiculous to you, but for me, it’s a huge accomplishment. I went crazy if I didn’t drink coke zero for two hours and I would order a takeaway in the evening when I was too lazy to walk ten minutes to the supermarket to get a bottle of diet coke. Further, I went back on Paleo and I am strong so far. Mentally, at least. Physically, I am quite tired, having cut out not only around four litres of diet coke a day and only eating roughly 8-10% of my usual carbs
So, I am looking forward to what’s coming next and I am off to bed now, exhausted and happy. 

PersonalTuesday-Book-Red-Background

Yesterday I had an endometrial ablation. It’s a surgery that destroys the uterine lining. As some of you might know, I had quite a few health issues and that was one of the things that I had to ‘get done’. I was really scared and couldn’t sleep the night before, but in the end it wasn’t bad at all. I arrived at the clinic at 7am and I left just after 8:30am. Even though I had a general anesthesia, I felt fine once I woke up. I even walked from the operating theatre back to my bed. Afterwards, I was able to go food shopping and I bought everything I need to start my new healthy lifestyle. I am really looking forward to moving to Lugano soon and to start Yoga. I really need to do some exercise again.

I am not a big Christmas fan and this year I am not really in the Christmas mood at all. I am spending Christmas with my two aunts and my aunt, also my little cousin, but it’s difficult as I am so different than my family and we constantly clash. They don’t understand why I am eating healthily and why exactly a healthy lifestyle is so important to me after all I went through the last years, especially this year. I feel like an old woman and I am only 25.

I am really positive about 2016, at the moment I am planning my two week trip to Las Vegas beginning at the end of June and straight after I will head for two weeks to Sicily. I want to look my best on my summer holiday, I want to be strong and healthy again.

Merry Christmas to all of you! I hope you have a wonderful festival season and you can start 2016 at your best.

Everything is happening so fast now. Last Tuesday I handed in my notice at work, I was really scared to tell my employers as we are very close, but they were very sweet and we leave on good terms. I loved working for them, but living in Cologne hasn’t been great for me and I guess Expat life is the way of living for me at the moment. Maybe I am ready to settle in a few years, my family would appreciate it a lot I think, but not yet. I am off to live in Lugano and Milan, a few days a week in one place and the rest of the week in the other place. My flights are booked. I am moving on the 6th of January, so in exactly one month. Of course I am very excited and I can’t wait, but there is so much to do in the meantime.
I have to decide what to take with me and what stays in Cologne. Luckily I can store all the things I don’t want to take with me in my grandmother’s cellar, so won’t have to pay for self storage again. Then I have to dismantle all the furniture, pack my things into boxes and paint my room white again. Luckily I am only working until the end of December, so I have a week off before I move to do all these things. Until then, I am sorting out my belongings, selling some things I don’t need anymore and throwing away others. I somehow like doing it all, even though I complain every time, but in the end, it’s great to declutter and to get rid of the things I don’t need anymore. 

It was an expensive year in Cologne, I was unemployed for the first three months and then I had to find my own place to live. Previously, all my jobs had accommodation as part of the package, but the job here in Cologne didn’t offer it. It wasn’t planned and with my savings used up during my unemployment I had to take out a loan to buy all the furniture I needed, to cover the first month of rent and the deposit. Luckily I didn’t have to pay an agent, but it was still very expensive. Salaries in my profession aren’t so high here in Germany as abroad and so I was on one of the lowest salaries I have ever been on, but I really liked the position and hence I accepted the job offer in March. Before I start my new job, I will sit down and plan my finances for 2016. This year I overspent a little bit too much and I am trying to be better next year.
One of the benefits of working in Germany again was having access to great health care. Before I leave on the 6th of January, I will have several doctor check ups and also a surgery. I am not looking forward to have that surgery, but it’s important and one of the reasons why I haven’t felt great for a while now. In Switzerland, I will have to pay for private health insurance, it’s a requirement to get my permit. So of course it’s understandable why I am trying to get all check ups etc. done before I am leaving in January. 
So, I am off to bed now. My plan for the week is to sit down and make a list with all the things I will have to do before I leave. Wish me luck! 

It’s official!

I accepted the job offer in Switzerland and I will move in January. Needless to say I am very excited and I can’t wait to see what comes next. The first thing I have to do now is to hand in my notice at work, I will have to do this by next Tuesday, but I am ill at the moment and I really feel a bit bad about handing in my notice a week after I have been sick for four days. On the other side, I didn’t choose to get viral meningitis. I started last Friday and looked like a stomach flu at first, but when my neck got stiff and my eyes started hurting it became clear. While my eyes still hurt a lot, at least my neck got better and I can manage the fever with Ibuprofen.

Last year at the same time I was also in the process of moving to another country and everything but Christmas was on my mind. This year it is just the same, but luckily it won’t be as stressful at last time. Last year I sorted out all my belongings and this year there is not much to do, but of course I have to pack up all my things and decide when what comes to Switzerland with me. I have one month trial period and I only want to take things with me that I will need during that time. Then, once it’s certain that I am staying I can get over all the things I want.

I am looking forward to being an Expat again. While my family has absolutely no understanding of me wanting to move abroad again, I can’t wait to get away from here. I am not running away from something as my grandmother suggested,  I just want to broaden my horizons even further, meet new people and being exposed to another language, in this case Italian, would be good for me too. I can settle down somewhere, when I am 30, when I have a partner and children. My family doesn’t get my desire to explore the world, they always stayed in one place and when they went on holiday, they mixed usually with only with other Germans at a holiday resort and not with the locals. They don’t understand. I am usually close to my grandmother, I try to understand that her upbringing was different to mine and that it was very different ‘then’, but she should also understand me and not try to emotionally blackmail me. It’s hard and it’s my family, but I only live once.

Last year just a few days before Christmas I left London for an exciting job opportunity in Istanbul. It was a huge step for me, even though I left London once before, in 2011, for a position in Brussels. While Brussels is a wonderful city I missed London a lot and I returned ten months later. However, after living in London for seven years in total I wanted a change. I am young, without dependants and I am not sorry to say that I would put my career before any relationship at the moment. I gave up a lot in London for the position in Istanbul and unfortunately things didn’t work out. 
I left Istanbul after twelve days. 
I had already given up everything in London, so my only option was to stay with my family in Germany until I found a new position. I thought it was going to be easy, after all, it always had been for me in London, but this time the job search proved to be tricky. While I am perfectly bilingual and confident speaking English, in fact, I actually prefer it these days to speaking German, I am not a native English speaker. Most of the positions outside the UK are for native English speakers only and there are a lot of candidates for each position advertised, so you can guess how hard it was for me.
I looked for a new position everywhere, I flew to Abu Dhabi, Doha and Milan for interviews, but nothing was right for me or I wasn’t right for them. I also interviewed for a position in Cologne, where I was born, the employers were lovely, but of course, I didn’t plan to ever live in Germany again. I declined the job offer back then in January, but while I was looking for a new position, I still worked a few days for them and I loved it. When they couldn’t find the right candidate and I couldn’t find a position overseas, I accepted their job offer. I can’t say the job was a second choice, everything but the location was great, but after two months in Cologne, I got used to being close to my friends and family again and it just felt right to stay. Surely, a year or two are over in no time, right?
Everything was exciting, I was looking forward to live somewhere chosen by me for the first time in my life. Very quickly I found a great flat and signed the tenancy agreement. I spent ages choosing furniture, the colour of my walls and I was very proud of the result. Without going into too much detail, shortly after being back in Cologne, I ended the friendship with my ‘best friend’. It was overdue and I am glad I did, but then my other good friend moved away.
Then things changed. Everything changed.
From one day to the other, I wasn’t happy anymore. Suddenly everything annoyed me about being back ‘home’. I can’t even call Cologne my hometown, because it’s not. I was born here but I lived abroad for such a long time, for too long,  I feel like a stranger here. I feel stuck. Nothing challenges me, I feel like I am not moving anymore. Then, once I found a job, I was constantly contacted by agencies with job opportunities. Job opportunities overseas. Macau, Zurich, Doha…
I turned all of them down, even though my heart wanted me not to. While I love my employers here, my job can’t be the only reason for me to stay. I am really unhappy, I find it difficult to go out and socialise, I am not good at my job anymore and I just know staying is not right for me. I want to quit my job and leave.
But I feel guilty.
Luckily, I talked about my unhappiness with a few people and they all told me the same. If I am unhappy, I need to make changes. It took me a while, but I made the decision to leave. At the same time I was contacted by one agency for a position based in Switzerland. The job description sounded good and I got in touch with the employer. The job is based between Lugano and Milan, there is also a fair amount of travel. It sounds like a really great job and I am already feeling more optimistic about the future.
I realise that this post is all over the place, but writing down your thoughts and feelings is never easy. 

Until tonight, I was happy and optimistic about the future. Since mid July I have been full of energy, looking forward to tomorrow and I finally forgot a little bit about my depression. Even though, I wasn’t really looking to meet somebody at the moment after all of last year, I started talking to a guy I have many friends in common with. Really quickly, we realised that we like each other and even though we were both not looking for a partner at that time, we both liked the idea of having someone else in our lives. In general, I don’t like to talk about relationships, but to explain the situation this is necessary here but I try to keep it short.

Last weekend I went to Barcelona to spend two days with him and everything was perfect. From the hotel room to the tasting menu at the two star Michelin restaurant, it felt like we have known each other for ages. Everything was great, until today when he told me that he can’t see it going any further. Seriously? After all we talked about, this really was a huge shock for me and not something I expected. However, he is an incredible self conscious guy who hasn’t been in a relationship since he was at university and that was a while ago. He is also not the typical ladies guy and he told me that he can’t believe that somebody likes him so much as I do. Anyway, he is coming to stay with me on Thursday until Saturday and I think we will sit down to talk. A conversation on Whatsapp is always different to speaking face to face. We knew from the beginning, that it would always be a ‘long’ distance relationship, as he lives between Vienna and Hamburg but travels around 250 days a year worldwide for his work. I am fine with that, but I knew that he would always have an issue with it. I think talking to him on Thursday will be important, he is somebody I don’t want to lose and if we only become good friends. 
I really can’t fall into that deep hole again and this time I am actively trying to avoid this. My flatmate goes to the local Fitness First Platinum club and I think it will be a nice treat to join as well. Even if I will only use the swimming pool and the sauna, at least I am doing something that is good for me and cheers me up a little bit. There have many great classes too, and this might be a time to work on my core. I trained with a personal trainer at a private gym studio and she said it’s important to focus more on my core strength. She is not the first person to tell me this, so there must be some truth to it. 
I am also focusing a lot on my diet again and I am actually picking up a juicer this week. I don’t want to go through a long detox or similar, but I think it is good to replace a few meals a week with a green juice. A close friend of my boss also has diabetes and she really inspired me to give juicing a go. I really want to be happy and enjoy life again.

I haven’t blogged regularly for a long time now. I had so many things going on in my life, not much was positive and I don’t want to be one of those people that constantly complain. Instead, I wanted to focus on making things better. I made many changes to my life and the biggest positive impact was ending a toxic friendship that I should have ended a long time ago, before investing so much emotionally. Life is going uphill now and I am happy. Really happy. 

I also had to make some chances to my blog. As you might notice, I am not the German Girl in London anymore. It just didn’t feel right. When I first left London last December, I planned only to live outside London for one or two years. Then things didn’t work out in Istanbul and I went to Cologne to stay with my family for a bit while figuring out what to do next. I wanted to work in the Middle East, but I am not a native English speaker and too young for most of the jobs in my industry. Instead, I stayed in Cologne and I accepted a job offer just because it felt right. I wanted to focus on getting better, improving my health and waiting until I am a bit older to find a job outside Europe.

Of course, that is still the plan, but I don’t see myself in London again after that. Now living in Germany I am thinking more and more about starting my own family in the near future and the life that I want I couldn’t afford in London. Of course, it would work out, but I don’t want to raise my children in a tiny flat or get a bigger place with an even bigger mortgage, trying to make ends meet. Living in London is amazing, when you are young and single and you have your life ahead of you. But I am turning 25 in a few weeks and I feel so much older than I am, maybe because I moved out of my parents’ home so early. Don’t get me wrong:  I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t lived in London for over seven years. I moved to London just two months after my seventeenth birthday, so I pretty much ‘became an adult’ in London and I am glad I had this amazing opportunity. If money wouldn’t matter, I would be right back in London tomorrow.

I met so many extraordinary people, made the craziest memories and discovered a city so full of history and culture. I was proud to be the German Girl in London, even though I wasn’t the only one. But I am just not in London anymore and initially I had planned to not change the name of my blog, but because I don’t know where I will be in two years time I wanted my blog name to be something that wouldn’t restrict it to one location.

I hope you like the new look and the new name, I am seeing this as a new start and I am motivated to blog regularly from now on. I would be incredibly happy if you would let me know your thoughts in the comment box below, enjoy the rest of the weekend!