Column: A little dirt never hurt


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.

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