Since I can remember all I’ve ever wanted to be is a writer. Naturally that turned into becoming a journalist – what better job could there be than getting paid to find out interesting stories and crazy secrets?! My curiosity for everyone in the media; from sports personalities, to politicians, to celebrities to world leaders; I could finally see what they were all like behind closed doors and write about it.
The last five years have been fantastic, and working across lots of different media platforms and throughout magazines, TV and online has made me love the industry despite its downfalls. The chances of getting a job are low, and the quality of work has made way for quantity and speed a lot of the time recently but there’s still good to be seen in the industry of journalism as far as I’m concerned. The problem which I’ve found difficult to overcome has simply been that I want to settle in a country now where I don’t speak enough of the language to continue to work in this job full time.
With my relationship becoming more serious and my love for Germany growing there needed to be a compromise found in which I could both fulfil my career dreams and stay in the place and with the boy I wanted. So I started looking into teaching, a job I had tried in university and many of my friends had pursued after finding the downsides of journalism to be too overwhelming.
Teaching wasn’t something I had seriously considered before but now it seems to be an option that works for many reasons; offering flexibility so I can continue to write in a freelance capacity; providing a service that in Germany always has a great amount of work; continuing to be creative; and finding something that’s quite rewarding on a daily basis would be something I’d particularly enjoy.
After doing some research, it appeared that the course with the best reputation across the world is the Cambridge English teaching course, nicknamed the CELTA. It’s one month of intensive learning, and the only course which gives you in-class experience and is recognised in almost every English teaching school in the world.
I have never done anything like this before – my experience with teaching was mostly related to helping children learning gymnastics. The idea of standing in front of a group of adults and teaching them a whole new language terrifies me, but the idea of the CELTA course appears to be that you sink or swim. Perhaps I’ll hate it and then a new plan will need to be deciphered. Or I could love it and find it’s as great as journalism was for the last five years.
Oh and did I mention I’ll be living in provincial France for the month that the course takes place? I can almost smell the croissants now. It’ll be tough being away from my other half but I’m only 2 hours from our new home in Stuttgart so home trips on the weekend are a huge possibility.
After spending two weeks in Australia soaking up the sun, I arrived back in Germany just in time to celebrate my boyfriend finishing his exams and preparing for his graduate position to start. I had been desperate to go on a European ski holiday since moving to the continent and his love for snowboarding made for perfect timing to head away for a week to the slopes.
We didn’t have a lot of disposable cash and with ski trips often being pricey we saw this as a far-off dream at first. But two companies offer really good all-inclusive packages, the first being Action Outdoors and the second E&P Reisin and Events. The former was the only one which had last-minute 5 day trips available so we went with it and Chamonix was our destination of choice. We drove from Frankfurt, and it took about 5 hours to get there. The drive was beautiful from the German farms to the bright blue Swiss lakes and first sight of the snow covered mountains.
First day of skiing and I was on fire – teaching my boyfriend tricks, getting perfect marks from the instructor – despite not doing it for nearly 10 years i found my way quite quickly! But that was where I peaked. The next day the boyfriend decided it was a great idea to take on a blue run, which for those of you who don’t know is for intermediate skiers.
The day was certainly a challenge and a good reminder that I am in fact very much a beginner. On the plus side, the Apres Ski bars up on the mountain made for a lovely afternoon when I gave up on the skiing.
Every night we were away we tried to go out but fell asleep by 9pm. Rather disgusted with ourselves, we decided that the last night we would go out even if we were falling asleep in the bar. What began as a few pre-drinks turned into buying packages of 30 caramel vodka shots at the bar each. Suffice to say, walking home was not easy. The bar strip was great though and with a good mixture of relaxed places to some hardcore clubs it definitely offered something for every party-goer.
The next morning I wasn’t prepared to push that hangover to the side and get back on the skis. The sauna was the only place I’d be visiting before the long drive home.
Chamonix offered us a great chance to experience a European ski trip at an affordable price and the bars were as good as the slopes. Action Outdoors put on good food for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the hostel bar was lively every night though we missed most of that due to our lack of stamina.
I would go back but now I’m keen to try the experience of hiring a chalet – my love for skiing wasn’t really tapped into and I think the fact is I just generally don’t like it. The idea of staying somewhere where I can cook great meals, go for nice walks and build a snowman sounds more like a relaxing holiday for me. And the boy can head out on the slopes while I do it :)
After an emotional finish at the International Business Times on transfer deadline day – though it’s not really a complete cut of ties as I’m still working freelance for the company – I packed my final things and said goodbye to Frankfurt for now. Spending a couple of weeks with the boyfriend in his apartment was great but with him studying for his final exams I decided that getting away was the best option. And with my best friend’s baby set to pop out a trip to Australia seemed to tick all the boxes.
The last time I was in Australia was in April 2013, and it was a time spent overwhelmed by visa-related stress and desperation to get back into Europe and start up my life again. I spent three months living with my parents and by the end of it I was craving my independence like chocolate at Easter. The weather was great, being around old friends was wonderful, but I wanted to go home.
Before heading back to Aus I felt like I had two homes, as if i was completely split down the middle. I love Germany so much and am making a life for myself here which feels sustainable for the long-term, unlike in London. For the first time I’m considering suburbs according to how I would feel living here with a family. I’m thinking about long-term job opportunities and career possibilities rather than whether my 9-5 job will give me enough money to go wherever Ryanair is flying this weekend.
But Australia equally felt like home – going back there made Europe seem like a dream as though it never happened and I’d been hanging out with mum, picking up my sister from school and meeting the girls for coffee every day as normal. This time, as the plane landed and I got acquainted with my old life, it felt a little different.
It was like heading to a summer camp I’d spent time at as a child – the feelings of nostalgia and remembering the good times were great, but it no longer felt like home as such anymore. I suppose I’ve been living so far away for so long now that I’ve started to disconnect with it all.
The feeling of being so far from so many countries was really present in my mind as well. As I desperately tried to catch up with everyone, it didn’t have the usual relaxing feeling you associate with going to a place that you consider to be home.
Perhaps in the future I’ll feel differently about Australia – there are a lot of things I love about it that I would bring to Germany given half the chance – and the way my feelings have changed towards it over the last three years has shown me how much your relationship with a country can change, much like a person I suppose.
But for now and the future as I see it (and with the last three years ending very differently than I planned I would say that future isn’t too long term at this stage) Germany is the only home for me.