I’ll just go ahead and subscribe to the “better late than never” mindset for this post. Mostly I just want to keep track of last year for my own benefit, without going through the hundreds of photos stored on the hard drive. I suppose that will be a project for…someday.
Nonetheless, a few scattered thoughts from zwei Tausend elf (the first half)…
January: Began the year on a bridge in Paris, watching fireworks and Parisians celebrating. Realized it was the first time in years I celebrated New Years Eve with my parents and decided it was a lovely way to begin the year. Enjoyed another couple days in Paris before succumbing to the doldrums of January post-family, post-Christmas and post-croissants. Cobbled together a resume auf Deutsch and a cover letter, with help from a very patient friend. Applied for jobs and worried about getting no response or getting a response via telephone, a method of communication I am still sub-par with.
February: Chad left for a business trip in Arizona. I fretted about job applications. Had my first interview, in English, with a consulting firm that would later hire me. Heard nothing for the next two weeks. Convinced myself I would never be hired anywhere and continued trudging to German class. February was not my favorite month of 2011.
March: Consulting firm tells me they have no positions currently available. I say thank you and write them off, as in America this means they are not interested. Continue applying for jobs. Receive a phone call en-route to Baden-Baden from another company that says they are interested but cannot hire me without a work visa. Disappointing but also useful as they give me the name of a company that might be hiring directly. Enjoy a perfect birthday weekend in Baden-Baden and decide I most definitely love the Black Forest region.
April: Continue interviewing. It seems everyone went through their applications at the same time and I am interviewing two times a week on average. Consulting firm calls back and says they would like me to interview in Munich. I complete my first interview auf Deutsch, which is awful. I realize I do have some talent at charades, as that was my main method of communication during the interview. Am not even upset on the train ride home, just amused at the level of terribleness. Continue interviewing. Write a list of keywords in German to keep in my interview notebook. Consult them as needed and realize that is the key to speaking coherently during an interview in a foreign language.
Receive two offers within a week, two days before we leave for Croatia. Make the decision based on job position versus benefits and stability. Sort of regret it later. (But mostly don’t.)
Enjoy a damn good time in Croatia. Conclude that Easter sweets in Europe are far more delicious than in America.
May: Obtain the work permit and begin employment as a consulting engineer. Have a massively boring first day. Buy a car. Enjoy the fact that there are no speed limits between my house and my job. Secretly interview for a *better* position with a *better* company. Am reassured by all my German friends that they would have done the same.
June: Spend two weeks at home speaking English, driving large automobiles and eating and drinking everything in sight. Receive a job offer from *better* company while in the US. Discuss it with family in person rather than over Skype, which is a nice change. Decide to accept it. Do not enjoy saying goodbye to all the family and friends yet again. Arrive back in Germany just in time to celebrate three years of marriage with a very wonderful man.
To be continued…