Squirk's Overseas Experience

The tales of one Kiwi returning to Mother Britain and exploring the Big Wide World... without being eaten by a shark.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tales from the middle of the woods

I was walking down a path through the dark forest— last night when I saw it. A shape in the darkness, on the path ahead of me. Something like a dog, I thought.

I slowed my pace, unsure of myself. The dog-thing glared at me, and I waited.

Suddenly a troop of six or so little piglet-shapes trotted across the path, with the big beasty following suit.

After that, the crunches and snarls from the trees weren't quite so creepy -- after all, wild pigs don't attack people, right? Right?

The two Indonesian dudes that were coming the other way hadn't seen the pig and remained utterly freaked out, however.

Good times.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007


Without address. No fixed abode. As of midday today, I am officially homeless.

I'm going to find a hostel to check into for a week or so, and see what happens on the job front. I had a bunch of interest from various recruiters on Friday, so that's encouraging. Two roles in particular stand out, but neither one is in Berlin.

Pondering my next move, I realised that I'm actually homeless in a way that I never really appreciated before now. If I ever did need a break, I can't really go home and get back on my feet. I don't even know where I would call home at this stage. London? Auckland? Christchurch?

I'm starting to think that home is more of a state of mind than a place. Like always, it's not where you are, it's who you're with.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

The clock keeps ticking

Living in the student residence has made all the difference. I've had a constant expectation of social interaction, which means that I've spent very little time on personal pursuits like reading or software projects. I've had no convenient Internet or phone access, which means that I've had relatively little contact with the world outside Berlin. It also means that job-seeking is a major chore. To top it all off, the sheer cost of this room has put a big dent in my savings.

My original plan included looking into the work situation here, finding nothing, and returning to London. That might still happen, but it's a bit more complex now.

I've enjoyed learning the language, and going back to an English-speaking country to work seems too comfortable. On the other hand, my German is still at a relatively basic level: it's entirely possible that working in a German office will push straight through enjoyably challenging and right into frustratingly difficult.

To top it off, I'm starting to feel what could be described as homesickness. I'd like to visit good old New Zealand, eat some tasty food and catch up with friends and family. At the same time, I don't think I'm ready to come home for good. If living in an English-speaking country is too comfortable, I think I need a new category for living in the country I grew up in. Then again, challenges come from all kinds of sources – not just work or language.—

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Monday, March 19, 2007

The Clash understand

My return flight is scheduled for this Sunday, but I've got to decide whether to take it. I'm currently unemployed, and after school finishes next week I'll be homeless. The choice should be easy, right?

Yeah, it should be. But it isn't.

It's been a fantastic couple of months. Let me tell you, though, it feels like much more. They say time goes faster as we get older; I reckon it's more to do with how we spend our time. Working long hours was certainly rewarding in its own way, but I sometimes found the months flitting by as though they were cars passing on the street.

My life has changed again, pretty drastically, which is always a bit un-nerving. At the same time, I know that I've changed before and I'll change again. In some respects I feel like I'm living life backwards: I've gone from running my own business, to consulting, to working for a big company to working for a small company. Now I'm a poor student, living a relatively care-free life. What comes next? I don't know.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Bon Jovi understands

I booked an 8-week course, and I'm just past the half-way mark. I've already learnt more here than I expected; not just German, but about myself.

My first couple of weeks were a bit confused, but I knew they would be: I was changing my life pretty drastically. Then I started to wonder if I was too late to learn; I seemed to have a lot of trouble in class. At the same time, I felt like the outsider at home. I wouldn't say there were problems, but I didn't find myself "clicking" with anyone.

Part of it boils down to simply being in a different situation than the other students. Most people in this school are here on a break from University, and they're here on their parents' dime.

A few weeks later and I'm feeling much more comfortable with the people and the situation, not to mention the language.

Where will I be living in two months' time? I can't really say at this stage, but it'll be wherever the work is. As much as I'd love to dedicate the year to studenty life, my savings only last so long before they need a top-up...

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