5 pieces of advice to my pre-expat self

Which advice you would give yourself if you could go back 3 years in time? 

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Three years ago some of us had just arrived in Germany while some others did not know that the universe was planning to bring us here.

If we could come back three years in time we would give us some advices before starting this expat adventure:

1. Never stop dreaming: If you can imagine it, you can achieve it

If you believe in something, go for it. Nothing and no one can stop you.

There will be days you will reconsider everything, there will be moments you will want to go back to your family (your comfort zone), sometimes you will feel homesick…

However, never forget that if you believe in yourself nothing can stop you. If you wanna change something just make the first move.

The most common obstacles while living abroad are traditions and language. Do not wait until the last minute to learn the language and to adapt yourself to the local culture. The earlier you do it, the earlier you will start overcoming any difficulty.

2. Do not lose your inner child 

Learn from each single moment, look around with the same curiosity as if you were a child, talk to different kind of people, laugh at yourself, enjoy simple things in life, face this adventure in a positive manner and never stop smiling, because this is the adventure of your life.

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3. Every person comes to you at the right moment

Every single person you will meet living abroad will come to you at the right moment. Together you will experience remarkable adventures which allow you to evolve as human beings, and your friendship will be a special relationship that will least the rest of your life.

Every person comes to your life for a reason. Learn from them because they will make a difference in your life.

4. Integrate yourself into the local culture

Do not be a conformist; learn the language, make local friends, try local food, travel around the country, go to local festivals, taste typical drinks, go to after work meetings, discuss with different kind people, get used to the local way of transport, speak the local language (even if you are just starting to learn it)…

Be ready to discover a new culture and to experience it, integration is the first step to feel at home.

5. Each situation will teach you a life lesson

Expats are outside their comfort zone. Expats are far from home. Expats are trying to be part of a new culture with different traditions.

Sometimes a trivial thing can be huge problem: a misunderstanding due to the language, looking for a job, a legal matter… Learn from these situation and keep always in mind that there are no problems, there are just solutions.
And the most important advice:  Enjoy this experience like you have never done before, because this is the best life lesson you will ever learn.

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expat.com – la comunidad para expats

Aquí os presento la última encuesta de la OCDE:

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Como nos movemos hoy en día eh?? Estoy segura que muchos de vosotros también estáis pensando en cambiar de aires e ir a otro país, por lo que os están surgiendo muchas preguntas: por dónde empezar? Dónde busco piso? Cómo encuentro un trabajo?… Aunque de primeras parezca difícil quiero que sepáis que no lo es.

Hoy en día internet es una buena herramienta para que empezar de cero no se nos haga cuesta arriba. Un buen ejemplo de esto es la web de expat.com.

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Qué podéis encontrar en esta web? Fácil; una gran cantidad de información útil antes de vuestra llegada y una gran red de contactos para que la vida de Expat sea muy entretenida.

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Antes de partir

Antes de llegar siempre surge esta duda: Dónde voy a vivir? En el apartado inmobiliaria podéis encontrar anuncios de pisos e incluso escribir vuestro propio anuncio explicando que buscáis en vuestra futura vivienda. De modo que así, en el caso de que alguien pueda ayudaros, se puedan poner en contacto con vosotros. image

La otra gran duda suele ser: Dónde puedo encontrar un trabajo?. En expat.com hay un apartado llamado empleo donde se puede buscar trabajo filtrando por sector, país y/ó tipo de contraro, para que encontréis lo que realmente estáis buscando!

Welcome home

Una vez en el destino uno de los primeros objetivos suele ser conocer gente con la que poder descubrir las maravillas de tu nueva ciudad. Gracias a el apartado eventos podéis acudir a distintos eventos en vuestra nueva ciudad y así conocer mucha gente nueva con la, quizás, podréis compartir vuestro tiempo.

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No os lo perdáis!!

Recursos 

Un apartado muy interesante, ya que aquí podéis leerlos la guía del expatriado, con interesantes artículos escritos por expats (información de primera mano!!), anuncios e información de distintas empresas localizadas por todo el mundo.

Foro & Blogs

Y aquí viene la parte más personal de la página. Por un lado tenemos los blogs escritos por expats ya en destino. Antes de mudaros, o incluso una vez en el país de destino, os recomiendo que leáis los blogs para conocer las experiencias de otros expats y saber como es la vida en el que será vuestro nuevo hogar durante un tiempo. Por otro lado, si tenéis alguna duda… Ahí están los foros. Preguntad, que no os de vergüenza. Todos los que vivimos en el extranjero hemos empezado así: investigando, preguntando, leyendo…

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Y después de todo lo que os he contado… A que comenzar a mudarse nunca había sido tan fácil? Os dejo aquí el link de la web expat.com para que os animéis a formar parte de esta comunidad y que desde el primer instante de vuestro viaje aprovechéis todas sus ventajas.

http://www.expat.com/

Advent Zeit in Deutschland

 

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Advent just arrived!!! This time of the year means Christmas markets, Glühwein and christmas deco all around the city. But… What exactly means the word “Advent”?? Why is it so important?? Here, in the NRW region, this time of the year is really special due to the catholic ideology that prevail in the area. But let´s explain what do we need to celebrate advent in a proper way.

Advent

 

Advent is the period of the year were christians prepare themselves to christmas time, usually it coincides with the four sundays previous to christmas. This is a reflexion and prayer time, as well as a time of spiritual preparation for Christ arrival.

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Advent Wreath

 

The most known pre-Christmas ornament. Although the Advent Wreath is more than a simple decoration. Its circular form symbolizes the uninterrupted cycle of the yearly seasons, however, christians relate also this circle with the infinite love of God. It is believed that this symbol was already used in the Middle Ages, although the Catholic religion adopted it as its own symbol.

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Advent candles

 

The four candles are usually placed in the advent wreath. Each candle represents an Advent week, and they are lighted every advent´s sunday. Catholic church considers those candles should have a purple color, however, you can find all kind of colours in the christmas  markets, mostly red and white ones. In some cultures people make a wish once they light up the candle. Usually this wish is to  improve some personal virtue or defect during the four advent weeks.

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Adventskalender

 

And here I introduce you the most tasty advent´s tradition: The Adventskalender. The calendar is formed by small “windows” which can be opened. Inside them you can find chocolate. The kind of chocolate depends on the brand. Last year I had a Lindt calendar which was really tasty! This calendar is use by children to start the countdown before christmas time arrives 🙂

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Happy Advent Time!!! 

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Gourmet Festival Düsseldorf

This week we are going to talk about food. As I previously told you in German it is usual to organize street festival during the summer season to enjoy the good weather. Ready to know more about it?

Gourmet Festival Düsseldorf 2015 

Last weekend took place the Gourmet Festival Düsseldorf. I have already talked you about this festival. During two days the Königsalle was filled with stands full of food.

The visitor could find everything. The avenue was surrounded with international and national stands where people could eat german, french and brazilian food, among others.

The festival takes place once per year since four years ago and it is a good opportunity for restaurants to come into contact with possible clients.

I hope that I have whetted you appetite and that you are motivated to take part in this gastronomic event. We read us again next week! 🙂

Food is our common ground, a universal experience James Beard

Maastricht

Probably most of you have already heard something about this city due to its well known University or because of the European Maastricht Treaty, however, this place has more to offer beyond politics and campus. Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. Its charming streets are surrounded by antique buildings and cafés full of nice people.

 

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What to see

Vrijthof Square 

In this square was beheaded William de la Marck. T

he visitor can enjoy a nice waffle while visiting the St. Servatius Basilica which is nowadays surrounded by cute cafés .

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Nolenspark

A huge park close to the old wall who surrounded the city in the ancient times. It is nice to have a walk in it or even to have a noon picnic.

 

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Heelport (The door of hell)

Located at the old city walls it is the oldest city gate in the Netherlands. If the weather is good I would recommend you to walk from Nolenspark to the Heelport. The path is really nice and peaceful.

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The antique buildings,the people, the parks, the terraces… It reminded me to the city of Amsterdam. Furthermore I would recommend you to have a walk among the old city and to try some tasty waffles!!

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Bisschopsmolen

Finally I would like to talk about a charming place. This mill was created in the VII century and, although it is still working, it belongs now to the city of Maastricht and it harbors a brewery and a bakery. Sitting in front of the mill in the small street where it is located could be a peaceful moment for the tourist.

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Do not miss the chance to visit this historical place!!

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Luxembourg!!

The first time I visited Luxembourg I was surprised, since I was expecting a city, in fact a whole country, full of mansions and expensive cars. However, Luxembourg is not that at all. It is a small international country full of history, which you can feel in each single street. Do you want to know more? just keep reading!

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A bit of history…

Luxembourg is the 7th smallest country in Europe. It is bordered by Belgium, France and Germany and it has three official languages, although during our time there we only listened french. We all know it as a “tax heaven” country. But Luxembourg has more to show us.

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Grund

This historical area is the perfect place to get lost. Walking across its streets the visitor can enjoy a nice view and discover cute restaurants, where it is possible to enjoy a nice meal in front of the river.

Furthermore, the Neumünster Abbey and the National Museum are located in this charming area.

Downtown

In the city centre, surrounded by stores and restaurants the visitor can find the Place d´Armes, Nôtre           Dame Cathedral and the Grand Ducal Palace. Do not leave without trying the cakes of the patisserie               located in front of the palace, amazing!!

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Clausen

It is the place for the night life, as well as for Microsoft, Amazon and some other well known companies. It is easy to access to this part of the city through Grund or walking across the old bridges which set up the city.

What to eat?

And finally… I want to show you a pair of cute restaurants that we discovered and which I would                     recommend you.

 

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9, Avenue Monterey L-2163 Luxembourg

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Place d’Armes, 1136 Luxembourg

Have you ever been in Luxembourg? Did you like it? Did you also have different expectations before arriving to Luxembourg? Share your experience! 🙂

Luxemburgo Centro

Das Haus der Geschichte and more

This week we come back to a place where we have already been and we will talk about a well known annual event. Are you ready?

 

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Bonn – Das Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

This museum explains the history of the German Republic from 1945 until 2010. While walking among its corridors, the visitor improves his knowledge about Germany.

The exhibition starts at the end of the IIWW, in 1945. Each hall talks about different moments in history. Its walls are decorated with photos and videos, which show testimonies of people. Furthermore, it is easy to find lot of digital screens which allow the visitor to play with.

 

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Something curious, that I really liked was the way they separated both parts of Germany. Every moment the visitor can experience the difference between living in the East and the West of Germany.

 

 

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Düsseldorf – die Nacht der Museen

 

Last weekend took place in Düsseldorf the Night of Museums. As you already heard  about it last year here I upload some random pictures to share with you the art we enjoyed this time.

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Bonn –  Das Haus der Geschichte: Free Entrance
Düsseldorf – Die Nacht der Museen: 14€ 

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History never looks like history when you are living through it. ~John W. Gardner

 

 

Latzenbier

 

Three times per year the Schumacher brewery produces a different kind of Altbier. It is the renowned : Latzenbier.

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Alt- oder Latzenbier?

The main differences between both beers is the taste and the volume of alcohol. The Altbier alcohol level by volume is 4.8% and it has a mild and spicy pleasant aroma. In comparison, Latzenbier has a balanced flavor between bitterness and malty sweetness, with some roasted malt notes. Its alcohol level by volume is 5.5%, a bit higher that the regular Altbier.

When and where? 

This production takes place in both Schumacher brewery only three times per year: March, September and November. During that day both places are full of people who enjoy live music and the taste of a darker beer.

In the Schumacher located in Oststraße the queue occupy the whole street and they open the Biergarten even in winter time. In the brauerei located in the Altstadt the probability to find a place to stay is barely possible.

A bit of history 

This beer, produced with mysterious ingredients, is supposed to appear before 1838 obtaining its name from the “Latten” or “Latzen” (wooden slats) where beers were served.

Last week, I got the chance to enjoy this famous day. The ambiance, the music, the joy of the people… Everything was really German and really charming at the same time. And the Latzenbier… I really enjoyed it!!! The taste was a balanced between sweet and sour, with a roasted malt end. It was the first time of the year, so you guys still have time to enjoy the next Latzenbier productions :).

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Prost!!