"We moved to Berlin for my husband's job."
Megan is that friend you are almost upset with yourself for not getting to know earlier. She left Sydney and the comforts of her corporate job for the sake of her husband, more accurately, for the sake of their marriage.
2 years on, they've come to the end of their assignment in Germany and Megan shares the highs, the lows and more importantly what you can learn, if you and your partner are in the same situation.
I meet women like Megan all the time. Incredible women who describe themselves as independent and confident back home, yet since making the move abroad, they feel lost and barely recognise the women they've become.
I've had the pleasure of meeting over a thousand Generation Y Expats in the 8 years I've called foreign countries, 'home.' Sure, among these thousand story is unique, sure, but there are two categories which keep popping up over and over again.
We move because we're in love and we move because we're looking to further our careers.
I've done both but today is about Megan. This conversation is important because I believe should be your best self, no matter where you are on the planet. No matter who you love or where you've decided to build your homes. I can't tell you how to be a supportive partner as I am still working it out for myself. But Megan can, and that's exactly what she's is about to share with you.
In this video, Megan and I talk about:
- The the truth behind the not so exotic moments of being a newlyweds in a foreign country.
- What she'd wished she'd known before making the move to Germany.
- What she'd tell herself if she had her time again.
- If she and her husband would make the same decision again.
Here is Megan's very real, very raw story.
It seems like a lifetime ago Jurgen and I decided to move to Berlin. I reflect now and realise how very wrong my expectations were, not just of Berlin itself, but also its impact on me as a person.
Everyone I spoke to before we moved were so supportive,
"You will have an amazing time!"
"Think of all the wonderful places you will see."
"What an exciting adventure."
You get the point. Unfortunately no one mentioned, nor did I think about, the trauma of it all.
I vividly remember landing on a warm May morning to the flat, unexciting Berlin skyline. Our flight had been traumatic enough, with us both having a round of food poisoning (thanks, Atlantas Dubai), but it was nothing to the horror of what the first month would bring.
Prior to our move, I had been working for one of Australia’s largest retailers and alongside a boss who I adored, as well as, an extended team of nearly 300 people. I was constantly on the go, on the phone, emailing, out and about, talking to people. On any given day, I would interact with at least 50 different people to ensure we were all doing the best we could to support each other and the company. Not to mention friends, social gatherings, social media interactions and the like. It was always so validating to have something to do, somewhere to be and people to be around. During our first week in Berlin, I remember speaking to 2 people. One of them being Jurgen, my husband.
Feelings of isolation and loneliness completely consumed me. These were very new emotions for me and I really had no tactics to deal with them. So I cried. Lots. And I don’t mean ‘Oh, let me wipe away my single tear’ crying. I mean, doubled over on the floor, howling and starting to hyperventilate crying. This continued at least twice a day, sometimes all day, for at least a month.
Jurgen’s first day of work was about a week after we arrived. It was particularly bad, for me that was. I was crying before he even left. So much for being a supportive wife, hey? I phoned my parents the second Jurgen walked out the door. Later they told me I was so hysterical they couldn’t understand a word I was saying for about 45 minutes.
Who was this person?!?
What happened to the strong, independent, self reliant Megan? Apparently, I had left her in Australia along with my entire support network. A very daunting realisation.
Now, 2 years later, after all my ‘amazing times’, ‘wonderful places’ and ‘exciting adventures’. I realise the tears were my initiation into a new life in Berlin. I meet women every week who have made the same choice I did by following their spouse overseas and I try to tell them the same things I wish I had been telling myself from day one.
Be patient, finding success in coconut milk
It’s going to take more than a week to learn a new language (German is hard!) or to know where you can buy normal things that aren’t so normal in your new country (try finding creamed corn in Germany).
All your feelings are valid
Every single one. Don’t let yourself be judged for your tears, your anger or your fear. Many people have been in your situation, but no one has been you in your situation. How you feel right now is valid because you feel it.
It will get better
For no other reason except it can’t possibly get any worse.
Love moves us. It moves us emotionally and it moves us geographically.
We're human, after all. And I am thankful.
If you'd like to get in touch with Megan and ask her your own question, leave a reply in the comment and she'll get back to you.
Until next time, my dear fellow explorer.