5 Things That Went Wrong During My Move to Germany
I value honesty over anything else. I get tired of all of the blog posts about how everything went perfect and look how great my life is compared to yours. I hate the instagram posts that are like "woke up like dis" because no, you didn't, and stop giving people terrible expectations for how life "should" be. In the day and age of social media and constant connection, we are constantly bombarded with filtered and posed photos and snapshots of the best parts (and fake parts) of other people's lives.
In my Scotland edition, I had mentioned that Instagram is for liars and I still stand by it. Here is another rendition of the many ways in which I screw up in my daily life.
1. My original host family decided they didn't need an au pair anymore
YES, YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT. Before I had left for Germany, the parents were able to get their kids into a kindergarten near their work. They said my schedule might change but that we could work on it and get through it. I thought, hey no problem, I am fine with change. Well I didn't expect that after a week they would decide they didn't need an au pair and that I need to look for a new host family like, now.
So I was alone in a foreign country, watching as my dreams shattered to pieces. Thankfully, I was able to meet with a new host family just an hour away. It was a unique and ultimately perfect situation that we could meet in person; it is so hard to tell what someone is like simply through Skype. I felt lucky that I could meet them, see how they live, and see what their kids are really like before moving in. I am so lucky that we got along so well-the next day the mother asked if I would be their au pair!
2. I got tonsillitis and a double ear infection
Okay so I moved to my new host family and started to settle in. Naturally with all the stress I had been through of moving and then hearing that my plans for the year were as good as dog shit, my immune system was weakened and I got sick. I'm around all these new germs (and children!) so I wasn't too surprised. However, I was surprised when my ears started bleeding. Even now, a month and a half after I got sick, I still have a cough.
3. I moved three times
Moved to my first host family, then they moved into their flat in Munich, and then I had to move to Augsburg with my new family. I lived out of a suitcase for far too long.
4. My visa was late
Well, my original host family never registered me and so I had to start all over in Augsburg, about 2-3 weeks after I had been in Germany. Here you have a tourist visa that works for the first three months but you have to get a work permit and residence visa as an au pair before that time ends. Well, I didn't realize that they also counted my time in any Schengen zone. I had been in Sweden for two weeks so basically cut off 1 month on the 3 month tourist visa. Add some German bureaucracy (AKA SLOW AND LOTS OF PAPERWORK) and several holiday delays, my visa kept getting pushed back. Don't worry, before you think I am here illegally, I have it now.
5. I couldn't get a bank until after 2 months in Germany
So if you travel a lot, you know that using your cards overseas typically comes with a cost. And a lot of times, it isn't small. So I had been trying to get my bank account set up but of course, it was delayed when I had to move. I had planned on getting it set up right away but well, life happened and that didn't work out. I had to use my cards from the US for about 2 months before I got my account here in Germany. Yay, no more fees!