There is a saying in German that I took to heart right from the very start of my love affair with this country, culture and language back in the early 1990s: Warum einfach wenn es kompliziert geht? (why do it simply when you can complicate matters?). Bizarre isn’t it? Well, that Germany for you – a culture that thrives on order, structure, logic, and chokes one its own convoluted complications and bureaucracy. A straight line is never just a straight line here, but a well conceptualised and planned notion that has obtained all the necessary permits, conforms to the national standards, carries the proper insurances, and follows the strict timeline. Oh, it has to have depth and purpose as well. It can’t just be there. It has to exist.
In a perfect world, life would be pre-programmed and unfold in a straight light. How boring is that?! I can think of nothing worse than a predictable life that has been mapped out for me by someone else. The way my life has been for the past decades, however, is very much to my liking – full of surprises lurking around each river bend, coaxing and cajoling me to rise up to the occasion and “paint all the colours of the wind”. Yes, I did just quote Pocahontas!
Well the time has come to chase the next adventure and start a new chapter in my life. Many of you have been following my (mis)adventures over the past 12 months trying to land a job to no avail. It eventually became a time-sensitive issue with looming deadlines of benefits running out. It was inevitable that self-doubt began to creep and and I was plagued with desolation, wondering what my chances were to get even a foot in the door. I applied all over Germany, then expanded my horizons to the rest of the EU, UK, USA, Canada and even the Maldives! The rejections came in faster than I could write the next application.
Then the unthinkable happened.
Out of the blues I received a phone call last week from a headhunter in Portugal, a country that was never really in my horizon simply because I’ve never been there nor do I speak Portuguese. Well, to make a long story short, within a couple of days and several phone and video interviews, I was informed this past Tuesday that I have been accepted hook, line and sinker. The catch? I start on Monday (yup, THIS coming Monday) – in Lisbon. That gives me barely six days to organise myself, my life, unscramble my befuddled brain and pack up.
Oh my freaking fudge cake!
I jumpstarted into action, quickly realising that I am about to pack my life into two suitcases and hurl myself 2313 km across Europe. Alone. This will be my 18th move in my lifetime but the very first within the EU. Portugal is terra incognita to me but I know with 100% certainty that I am doing the right thing, crazy as it may seem. In two days I bid farewell to the cold winds of Germany and hurtle down head first into sunshine, sunny climate and fish! My beloved coastal waters and fish, here I come!
After 120 applications, 15 job search platforms 30 headhunters, I landed a job that I never applied for in a country I know very little about. I was aiming for Madrid and Valencia in Spain, but apparently my aim is crap, so Life decided to give me a curveball that involved a new geography lesson. As Norman Vincent Peale put it so poetically
“Aim for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
The Spanish moon may not be my destiny, but the Portuguese stars are. So with renewed purpose, strength and courage, I am done struggling and am taking back my life in one bold move. This is my fight song.