Living a double life
Monday, June 10, 2013
Time has been very precious lately and I am grateful to be so busy---stressed yes but busy which is when I feel happiest.
I am incredibly grateful for the support for the difficult blog I felt compelled to write last time, that stress remains but I don’t want to dwell too much on it.
I feel like I am living a double life. Mind my mind and spirit are split between two jobs, two continents, two countries and three languages!
I began a position at the end of May as bilingual care representative for a very well-known worldwide company. A call centre position which unfortunately are known for their high attrition rates. I applied as a temporary but they wanted me permanently---what was I to do? Make my plans known and completely lose the chance or just go with their choice knowing that within the next two months I’ll depart. My family and I need the funds.
I am really enjoying this position, it commands a lot of attention to detail and acquisition of medical terminology---in English and Spanish. I will continue to train with 20 or so other people for the next five weeks---will I ever make it to the floor?! I am dealing with a great deal of guilt as there is a few new staff from temp agencies. One is bilingual like me and very professional. Whenever my time comes to depart I am going to put in a very strong word for her benefit. I hope she can take my place.
I am enjoying the experience of working in an office once again, being super productive and making friends. I know this probably sounds silly but I LOVE getting dressed up for work.
As some of you might know I am into vintage clothing especially late 50’s to -late 60’s dresses. I have a fine collection of well-maintained vintage dresses, that despite not being so expensive, are very loved and clearly love me back. What I mean to say…excuse me if I sound like I am bragging …I am a natural hourglass shape (always have been, looks better and better as the weight goes) and it seems to me that the fabric, tailoring and colour of vintage pieces suits me quite well.
I work out and eat right diligently, so I am very flattered by the compliments I get seemingly daily from company staff (LOL and two *unsolicited* phone numbers.) I noticed that a recent vintage dress purchase had a size 10 tag---does that mean I am actually a modern 8 or so? NO WAY!!!
Anyone who has worked in an office can tell you that for everyone there is a temptation to overeat and be underactive. Please don’t think I am being judgmental but it saddens me to see the high incidence of morbid obesity amongst my co-workers. Every Friday a huge variety of free doughnuts is available and our café sells all sorts of temptations. I have the fortitude to say no to all of that but I know it is tough.
According to my bodymedia statistics I am actually burning double now that work and my hour and half workout routine have combined. I am maintaining, by some miracle, very long days by getting up at 5 am to work out, arriving at work by 8:30 finishing by 4:30 and then eating dinner and studying German for two hours at work before arriving home around 7:30! I also walk on my lunch breaks.
As you know the dream came true at the end of April and as with any dream it has/will continue to talk a lot of hard work and sacrifice. All contracts have been signed and made journeys between the US and Germany! There have been many early morning meetings and skype chats.
This has been fraught with bureaucracy just as I knew it would be. At the end of June I will make 400 or so mile trip to Chicago and formally apply for my visa at the German consulate. Is this easy? HARDLY. They refused to make any concessions for an earlier application date or an application in absentia. …So I will be making the very expensive trip/taking unpaid leave from work against my wishes to get this done. Once I have done my part it is up to authorities in Germany as to how long they want to take to process my visa. My school has asked for an August start date and therefore will be putting the pressure on authorities in country. I wish them luck!
Finding a place to live and preparing myself for the inevitable paperwork to look forward to in country such as residency applications has been causing me a lot of stress. I have worked abroad a lot: Russia, Japan and England and I have never had to find my own place to live. Not going to lie: intimidating and more than annoyed. In particular, because I am not going to a large city like Berlin or Munich but rather a place just near Cologne called Mulheim where any kind of place is going to be at a premium.
…But a huge blessing has come into my life. My colleague who grew up outside of Germany to Bavarian parents (like my Mom) has stepped in and is helping me find an apartment. She has been a great friend and advocate overall and I am so happy she has shown up in my life! I haven’t met her in person yet but we have bonded.
She has also prepared me for the reality that I will have to be very self-sufficient in the classroom. In Russia I was literally left alone with the children and one hundred percent responsible for all curriculum/lesson planning and acquisition of resources. My co-workers spoke little to no English and the alienation between myself and very wealthy Russian-Tatar parents could be incredibly awkward. It could be very much a similar situation. …But I am confident and always improving my professional-pedagogical abilities and thankfully confident from a cultural-linguistic perspective at least I am on much more familiar ground!
Thank you for reading all of this and your continued best wishes