I did it! I finally found a job in Germany. But now a new, unexpected challenge has popped up.
Ever since we left Brazil three years ago, I’ve had one clear aim: I would learn German in order to be independent and find paid work. That was it. I thought of language learning as my job and approached it as if I was paid for it: focused and persistent.
I had one another job, which I also took very seriously: taking care of our apartment. It was always spotless and I was always looking for ways to improve my cleaning skills – I even read a book about it. For three years my expat life revolved around these two tasks: cleaning and studying. Until I was hired.
Seven months ago, I finally returned to the workforce. And while I knew that it would be difficult to adapt, there’s been one challenge I had completely overlooked: an untidy apartment. I am struggling to let go of my cleaning habits. For years, I had so much time to look after the apartment, and seeing it clean and organised brought me such a sense of peace. But trying to keep up the same standards while working 40 hours per week is driving me crazy.
I can’t go on like this and think I am finally ready to take a more realistic approach. I have to accept that my apartment won’t be as spotless as before. But that was never the goal for my life in Germany anyway.
A column by Cristina Rocha
Cristina Rocha is a Brazilian expat partner who lives in the south of Germany with her husband and now works as a customer service representative. She writes regular columns for Global Connection.
This article was originally published for the thousands of expat partners that Global Connection supports around the globe. It is reproduced here in its original form.