Sunday, 12 April 2015

What have I been doing?



The last three months were not the easiest in my life and I hope to never have to go through a similar experience again. Three months ago I moved involuntarily back to Germany and even though I didn't want to stay at all, I have now decided to stay for a while in Cologne, my home town. I signed a two year contract and my new employer is nothing but amazing, so staying here became a lot easier. I looked at jobs in Istanbul, Doha, Abu Dhabi and Milan and staying in Cologne just felt right, even though I didn't want to live in Germany ever again. I am telling myself that it won't be forever and that I can use the time to get better, have more time to myself and having access to great health care is a huge plus too.

Before the Easter weekend I moved into my new flat in Marienburg. I live right by the river Rhine and can see the boats passing by from my bedroom. The Rhine is the second best view to have after the Cathedral. Instead of having to commute to work every morning on public transport, I can walk ten minutes door to door. A dream!

I have decided not to plan any holidays this year and I also cancelled my trip to Las Vegas. This was a very hard decision to make, but I am glad now I have done it. I found out a few of my friends aren't going either and it makes it easier of course. I might end up going somewhere warm in June with my friend Kim though, the plan is to pack our things and just head off south, stop and stay where we like it. It sounds exciting!

I am amazed on a daily basis on how inexpensive Cologne is compared to London. The flat I am living in costs 1200€ rent a month, that's just under £900. Marienburg is one of the most expensive parts of Cologne and the flat is 1100 square feet plus an additional large conversatory and a balcony. Prices that you could only dream of in London.

I am not changing to name of my blog, even though I am not in London anymore. I discussed the topic before, I still mainly write for UK and US followers and I am returning to London, the question is just when. I also have all my social media attached to the 'German Girl in London' and I don't want to change all of that. That's one of the things I love about blogging, you can do it from anywhere in the world. The last few months it was quiet around here, but I am now finally breathing again and ready to start again where I left off last year before I went to Istanbul.

I am feeling so much better.

To new beginnings...

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Staying in touch with friends and family at home

Many of my friends live in another country than me. Staying in touch with them isn't as easy as having your best friend living next door. I lived in different countries and I experienced myself how difficult it can be staying in touch with loved ones. I moved to England in 2007 two months after my seventeenth birthday, leaving my best friends and my family behind. It wasn't easy, but I was excited to discover a new country, improve my English and make new friends.

I lived in Sevenoaks with an English family who did not speak German and went to the local school together with people from different countries but no one in my class spoke German. From Day One in England I had to speak English, from the time I got up until the evening when I went to sleep. The family I was staying with allowed me one twenty minute phone call every week, I had five minutes to call my parents, five minutes to call my aunt and the rest had to split between calling my friends. Social networks weren’t as popular back then as they are today and calling phones abroad was very expensive with my mobile phone. I wish I had known about Lebara back then, an affordable mobile phone provider who makes it their mission to support migrants living abroad. Due the nature of my profession I could end up working in any country and the last thing I want to worry about is about how to stay in touch with my loved ones.

Lebara is part of the Lebara Group and was founded in 2001 by Rasiah R Leon, Baskaran Kandiah and Ratheesa Yoganathan who shared a vision to shake up the international calling market and to bring happiness to the lives of migrant communities all over the world by making their lives easier. Their ambition is it to care for the migrant community, supporting them on their journey by providing innovative experiences that directly relate to their lives. What’s one of the main things you want to do when you live abroad, possibly when you moved on your own or just with your closest family? Of course you want to stay in touch with your family at home, but many phone providers are expensive and you are rushed in telling your family at home all about the new country, your work or the people you have met.

I am now back in Cologne and I am glad to have the opportunity to not only call my friends back in England, but also in Switzerland, Turkey and the Middle East as well as the States for a small amount of money. Staying in touch with your family and friends abroad should be affordable and Lebara makes it possible.

They have just launched a new website and their goal is to reach a billion migrants by 2020. Check out their new website:

Four days in London



On Monday morning I took a flight to London Gatwick to stay three nights in London. My first three nights in London as a tourist, I never thought this would happen. My EasyJet flight was delayed, I was slightly angry as I had to get up very early after a short night and wanted to have a short nap on the plane. However, not only me, but a school class from Germany decided to fly to London that exact morning and probably never been in London before, they were very excited and even louder.

I had mixed feelings about going to London, I was worried about missing it too much and regretting my choice to take a break from London. On the Gatwick Express to Victoria Station I was sad and cried, I didn't know why. I took the tube, I missed the tube so much and taking a cab to the hotel is just not the same. It's only a few stops from Victoria to Embankment station and I travelled light, so it was actually quicker and easier than taking a cab.

The hotel we were staying in was very close to Trafalgar Square and right by the river. If you ever think about staying at the Citadines in Northumberland Avenue, I can only recommend you not to. The hotel was a real disappointment, we had to change apartments after checking in. It was in horrible condition and we were locked in on the second floor after the door handle fell off. The service wasn't much better and I was never so glad to check out of a hotel. The room keys constantly stopped working and I actually had to get four replacements one day, every replacement was given out by the staff without showing ID or actually saying our names. All that was needed was the room number. Security, anyone?!



After checking in at the hotel and changing rooms, we all took a walk around Westminster. From the hotel to Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, down Birdcage Walk to Parliament Square and then walking back from Big Ben to the hotel on Whitehall. I actually did a lot of touristy things while I was in London as I was with some people from San Francisco who had never been to London before. On Tuesday we took a river tour from the London Eye Pier to North Greenwich to take the Emirates Airline, but it was closed for maintenance work. Instead, we headed to the Tower of London. I didn't see the Tower from the inside before, but we were too late to see the Crown Jewels. Next time.









On Wednesday morning I had breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien in South Kensington before visiting the Dinosairs at the Natural History Museum and checking out the Science Museum. In the afternoon we took a stroll around Southbank and taking a ride on the London Eye.







I realised while I was in London that London will be the place where I want to live long-term, but that I need to live abroad for a while. Living in London made me sick, I am now trying to get better in Cologne. Life here isn't as fast paced as it is in London, I have enough time to 'look after me' and live a healthier life. Most importantly, I have more time to blog.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Personal Tuesday












I know, I know. I missed my Personal Tuesday for the last two weeks. I haven't had much to write about apart from my unhappiness in Germany, being stuck in limbo and not knowing what is coming next. I had lots of good news last week and I am so glad everything seems a bit more promising now. I feel a lot happier already. I got to the point where I actually stopped believing in myself. Every job application came back with the feedback that I am too young or I was rejected because I am not a native speaker.

This week will be a rather exciting week for me though. Today I am flying to Qatar for a second interview and on Friday to Milan. I am more optimistic now and I have every reason to be. It's about time that I get my life in order again, I have gained 20lbs since December (Yes, not kidding!) and I need to start working out again. My diet is horrible and my weight isn't the only issue because of it. My skin got worse and I actually got some eczema on my arms.

Staying with my family is not easy. They are lovely and they support me, but they are so incredible narrow minded and ignorant in many things. I have different views on many things, I don't expect others to have the same but my family does. When I disagree and try to get my point of view across I am arrogant and feel superior. I don't want to argue with them, it is my family after all but no, I just can't stay in Germany, especially not in Cologne. When I had two potential jobs here, I thought, yes, maybe it's a good idea to be close to friends and family, however, I am really glad now I am trying to find work outside Germany, preferably outside Europe. Being too close to my family is just not good for me, after all there is a reason why I moved to London many many years ago.

My family can not understand the nature of my job, after all I am not formally qualified yet my wages are much higher than people who work in the public sector in Germany, lawyers and even most doctors. Those professions are just an example. I have to explain on a daily basis, why I am earning that kind of money, that my job is a career job and that I don't need an apprenticeship or Ausbildung as we call it in Germany.

I am planning to work and live in Doha, should I get the job there. Chances are 50/50, but I keep my hope down. I don't want to be disappointed again.  My grandmother had never heard of Doha or Qatar until I told her about it YET she insists that every woman has to be covered up there including her face. I tell her otherwise, but no I am wrong and she is right. You know, my grandmother knows everything about Qatar. EVERYTHING! I guess my friend Moni who lived in Doha for two years must have lived in a different Doha then or she lied to me. What can I say.

Then we argued last week about butter and margarine. What should you eat? What makes you fat? What is better for your heart? I eat butter. Butter is good for me, yet my grandmother believes that butter makes me fat and eating margarine is good for me. So I send her a link to a website in German from a health organisation that writes about why exactly society was made to believe that butter is bad for us and we were told to consume margarine. My grandmother replies I am presumptuous and that the best thing is to not eat butter AND margarine. Oh well, you can't really win, can you? Maybe it's best just to give up on it and only discuss those kind of matters with like minded people. I could go on with things my grandmother insists are right, because that's how she learnt it but I would bore you.

I am heading to the airport at 6am, so I am staying up tonight so that I can sleep on the plane. I am flying with Qatar Airways from Frankfurt to Doha. So, I will probably tweet and Instagram while I am there. Wish me luck!