All I want for Christmas is…

Do you have a wish for Christmas?

That’s what my parents-in-law ask as soon as Christmas season is getting closer and because I know them must of the times I have an idea in mind for when they ask. This year I actually didn’t have an answer for their question because what I wanted for Christmas was something they couldn’t get me, a job.

A few weeks ago, I was job hunting and I found a vacancy that called my attention immediately. I felt my resume and the position were perfectly fitting and what’s a plus is that the working language was english #win

At that point, I had finished reading How To Win Jobs & Influence Germans: The Expats’ Guide to a Career in Germany and decided that I was going to put to the test one of the tips that are given in the book to see if it could work. I decided I was going to give a call to the hiring manager, whose contact information was posted in the ad, and I would manage to get relevant information that would allow me to write the perfect cover letter for my application.

What I didn’t see coming was that this call was going to become a mini interview that would make me sweat because I was not prepared. Nevertheless, I did manage to obtain the information that I wanted and I wrote the cover letter that same night and sent my application just after that.

Am I speaking to Frau Henry? It’s xxx from xxx and I am calling to invite you to an interview.

I close the phone and started to cry. Apparently, calling the hiring manager managed to be a good strategy. This interview has been one of the toughest ones I have had because even though I was prepared, there were some questions that I hadn’t thought about. In the end I just hoped for the best and rushed home to tell Viktor all about it.

Apparently my gut hadn’t failed me, this seemed like a good opportunity for me and even though there was a downside with regards of my salary expectation, I decided to focus on the bigger picture and confirm that I was interested in being considered for the position.

In the second interview, I felt more nervous than in the first one. I guess I was more nervous because I was going to meet the person that’s the right hand of who would be my boss if I was hired. Interview #2, check. They would get back to me by the end of the week.

Surprise, surprise…the hiring manager called me the same day, some hours after to ask me how did I felt about the second interview. I thought that was kind of him.

What I once again, didn’t see coming is that just after hearing my reply he told me that he wanted ME on his team.

I closed the phone and broke into tears once again. My Christmas present had arrived and earlier that I expected. From January 2, 2018, I will be a Global Sales Assistant in a logistics company from Bremen and I can’t be more excited.

This is what I wanted. An opportunity to start my career. I didn’t care if I had to begin in an entry level position. I just wanted to find a job that would motivate me to get out of bed and to be part of a team of great people. It took long because good things are worth the wait and even though the ride wasn’t an easy one the important part is that it made me grow and appreciate all the little lessons during the ride.

All I wanted for Christmas was a job and my wish came true.

Thanks for being part of this journey.

With love,

Izmir

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Will you adopt the German citizenship?

Will you adopt the German citizenship, she asked.

I have no clue, was my answer.

This was a question that stuck in my head after this conversation with someone I know.

When I got my residence permit, it was said to me that I had to take an Integration Course. An Integration course has two parts: a language course and the orientation course. Because my knowledge of german is more advanced than the levels the test covers, I do not have to take the language part just the test that will leave a written proof that I, indeed, have a knowledge of the german language till the B1 level. I will take that test, the DTZ, next month.

As for the orientation course, I will be attending it till mid-December and I must confess that even though the amount of hours I have to spend in class are a lot, they have so far being very interesting. I consider that I am a curious person so when I heard my one of my classmates, M. I will name him, complaining about the fact that he has to take this course made me feel kind of sad.

Why wouldn’t someone want to learn more about the country where he/she is living? About its history, legal system, culture?

I can totally understand that you appreciate and value the culture of your home country but I also wonder if the the country where you are living doesn’t deserve the same appreciation.

Beyond appreciation I would say it’s respect and thankfulness. It’s making your life here a bit easier because you will know be able to understand why are certain things how they are in Germany. Three days in this course and that already became clear to me.

Even if eventually, I do decide to become a german citizen, I will never stop being a Panamanian. That is the place where I was born. My home and wherever I am I will represent it and respect it. With or without a passport. I guess that where M. and I should keep in mind. Our countries and their traditions, values and history are with us wherever we end up living. Let’s respect our home countries and not forget where we come from. But let us also be grateful and respectful to the country that we know call home.

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Good things take time, they say

I woke up to a message from a recruiter on my Inbox.

“Are you still searching for a new professional challenge?” – she asked.

“Yes”, I replied and I immediately forwarded my CV to her.

Next day, we had a call. Less nervous this time, the recruiter explained that an opening within a Pharmaceutical company was available and she wanted to know if she could nominate me for the position. I was static.

Salary range, great. Job description, challenging. Just what I am searching for.

One week after, I am still waiting for a reply. I feel anxious about it but I ignore it. Truth is, I might end up sending a follow up message by the end of this week but then I begin to wonder.

Is this a sign? A test? Is the universe trying to send me a message?

I am starting to believe that is what is happening here. My oh so long well-followed life path is shaking. Shaking every fiber in my body and making me question EVERYTHING.

I do want to get a job. Even though I am enjoying the time free time I have and taking the most advantage out of it, I also start thinking that I didn’t burn my eyelashes for this, this many rejections.

I like to be productive, I want to learn from others and I like to challenge myself. This is part of my self-career statement.

Nevertheless, apparently, life has other plans in store for me and these lasts weeks I think the message became clearer to me. Yes, it is cliché but good things take time. This time will probably force you to reevaluate your plans and goals. Time will even make you consider things you once said you would not do, like going back to the university again to take a second Master or even consider changing your career.

What makes feel even prouder about this is that I am learning to live with uncertainty and beginning to internalize that indeed good things, the good things I want in my life will take time but they will make this journey worth every day.

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Do you have a job already?

This is the question I have heard the most the last weeks. Whenever I get it I take a deep breath and answer: no, not yet.

I have been searching for a job since the end of August making a total of 15 applications sent to this day. The lesson that I wasn’t expecting to realize is that finding a job in Germany is a job itself and that is the job I will have for a few months. In these months I have to keep being patient and persistent and so far, that has not been easy.  Some weeks I am and some weeks I am not.

When I am none of the above, I cry and I cry because I feel frustrated; anxious and impatient. This was something I was not prepared to, I mean, of course, I knew it was going to be a challenge but all the things that start crossing your mind start to become overwhelming.

When I feel overwhelmed, I give myself permission to cry. When I cry, I feel all these feelings leaving my body through my tears and these tears actually give me power.

They give me power when I reach the bottom because they help me remember everything that I have already overcome. They help me remember all the things I want to do. All the things I want to experience. All the places I still have to visit. Things that this job, this job I am working on finding will help me accomplish and finding a job, a good, well-paid job will take time.

After I dry my tears, everything falls into place once again. This too shall pass and I am the only person that will take me out of it, so Izmir: suck it up and only then I also happen to realize that the question Do you have a job already? is the way in which my family and friends remind me of this and the only thing that is left is to keep on going.

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“A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor”

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Te mudas a Alemania, ¿y tu mamá?

After living two years by myself, I recognize that it was difficult for me to return back home and live with my mom. I believe I changed a lot during my years abroad and I am certain that it  was difficult for her to accept this reality. Instead of arguing with my mom I decided that it was time for me to go to talk to someone neutral that could help me deal with this situation.

I went to therapy with my psychologist and in one of our meetings she explained to me what was happening, my mom was dealing with a pre-empty nest syndrome. This syndrome refers to “feelings of depression, sadness, and, or grief experienced by parents and caregivers after children come of age and leave their childhood homes”.

Even before I permanently left the nest, my mom was already grieving. Even though her daughter had left the nest already, her daughter, her only daughter was now going to leave the nest and make her own family on the other side of the world.

From this moment onwards, I realized that this was a time I had to cherish and these moments will forever be on my mind. I know that sometimes we don’t understand the reasoning behind our parents’ decisions and actions but we have to keep in mind that even though they are our parents they are also “figuring it out” and that wherever we are, we will forever be their babies on their minds.

Yes, I moved to Germany and I miss her very much but I also know that if I am happy she is happy as well and that is one of my greatest blessings.

Venus is my superhero and she should never forget that.

Venus is one of the strongest persons I know.

I wanted to dedicate this post to her because she needs to know that I am proud of her.

Venus has been through so much and despite of all that below that tough skin there is a person with a kind soul.

Venus is the person I miss the most and every time I read her good morning message it makes my day.

We have might have many kilometers between each other but the truth is we had never been this close.

¡Te amo mamá!

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