2017, thanks for the lessons

When 2017 began I was panicking. I knew I was moving to Germany in August and wanted to have everything under control. I started applying for jobs with the hope of having “everything under control” by then. Back then, little did I know that applying for a job in Germany was a job itself. I got frustrated and just stopped applying. I was investing too much time thinking about the future and not enjoying the present. I was going to leave Panama in 8 months so  decided to adjust my energy and invest it in enjoying my time with family and friends. The family and friends that I was probably not going to see for a long time just on the screen of my phone.

Getting prepared to leave Panama wasn’t an easy ride. As my departure got closer and closer, I started feeling scared. The decision was just setting in. It is hard to let go of things that you don’t really want to leave behind. I loved my job, felt very sad to leave my mom alone, had made new friends with whom I would have loved to spend more time and a promising small business but I had to leave. The other founder of my own family, Viktor, was in Hamburg and the time had arrived for us to finally be together.

Nothing could have prepared me for these four months. They have been quite a ride but they have also taught me that I am more lucky than I realised. They taught me how to appreciate the little things in life. That my mom, wherever it is that I am will always be my biggest supporter. That being married is not easy but that when you have by your side a person that supports, takes care and lifts you up in your worst date, it’s worth the job. That your true friends will always be there for you, it doesn’t matter that you live on the other side of the world.

Life is not easy, that you may already know but I do believe that what helped me go through these tough times was staying positive. I had days in which I gave myself permission to feel sad and not see the bright side but that was it. The day after, I would turn these feelings into fuel and just kept moving forward but the biggest lesson that this year left for me is that I am stronger than what I believed. That my sacrifices and the hard work will be worth it and that if I stay persistent my dreams will become true.

Here I am, on the last Friday of 2017, feeling happy because we’ll spent New Year with our new friends. I’ll begin my professional path in Hamburg next Tuesday and I have already booked two trips for 2018.

My wish for you, you that take the time every now and then to read my thoughts. In 2018, please:

Be kind to yourself.

May your life be filled with good energy and good intentions.

May you stay healthy.

May you work hard to reach your dreams and goals.

From my side, I’ll still be here weekly, sharing with you my life in Germany. I am already thinking on some things that I would like to improve within the blog so stay tuned for that.

I wish you a healthy and enriching 2018.

With love,

Izmir

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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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How did you know what your life's purpose was?

This is a question I received on one of my latest blog post and to be fairly honest, I DO believe it is a positive thing to have a north, a purpose in life but I also feel it is a way of our society to put unnecessary pressure on us human beings.

My answer to Annie was that even though it might seem like I do that I always had everything clear. I didn’t and I still don’t. I actually do not know what my life’s purpose is.

I’d rather say I have an overall life goal but not that I have a perfectly calculated life. I will say it is more about living a thankful life where I appreciate all the blessings I have received in my life. I want to stay healthy, I want to stay positive and I want to work hard so that I can give my best to make my goals and dreams true.  

9 years ago, I was hit by a car when I was on the way to meet one of my best friends. This happened three weeks before my high school graduation and I am lucky that I didn’t get such serious injuries besides some scars, a broken toe and vertigo for a month.

Since then I decided that I was going to live my life without regrets. I did not want to look back one day and feel regret that I didn’t do something I wanted. All of this of course with restrain. I knew I wanted to study something that didn’t categorize me, that allowed me to work in different types of industries but at the same time that would allow me to make an income to keep enjoying my life. This is the reason why I studied International Business.

I then also knew I needed to obtain my bachelor so that I could apply for a scholarship so as soon as I completed my bachelor I applied for the scholarship that would then allow me to live and study in Germany. I won it and the rest is history.

When I look back, I can confidently say that these two years in Germany a life changer.  If I had to summarise it in one word I would take the word self-conscious. As a result, I changed my attitude towards life. I became more mature. I began focusing on myself. How could I be better. I became more emphatic and I began appreciating things that I didn’t treasure before.

But all of this just happened because I was brave enough to keep moving forward. Even at times when I was not sure if I was moving in the right path. I guess what is important is to keep moving because when you move, things change and change will always teach you more about yourself.

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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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