Video

Living Abroad during a Pandemic

Living abroad can be tricky, but mix in a global pandemic and the challenges are bit more.

How has your experience been? Have you found any things that help or new connections that pleasantly surprised you?


Released on December 9, 2020

Video transcript: do this they’re not socially driven
00:01
that’s the culture in lieu of all this
00:03
germans have been becoming a lot more
00:06
friendlier than they were before
00:14
everybody welcome back to my channel if
00:16
you don’t already know
00:17
my name is aston i’m an american living
00:20
in fantastic meaning germany
00:22
and i talk about what it’s like going
00:24
abroad topic is one that i definitely
00:26
connect to a whole lot expats in general
00:29
i think we’ve all
00:30
felt some stage of it or even have it
00:33
just
00:34
now and then but i find it to be even
00:37
more important
00:38
this year because it doesn’t really
00:40
matter i think your living situation
00:42
it’s more the thing where everybody’s
00:45
going through this
00:45
and everybody’s feeling something very
00:48
similar living abroad in general has its
00:50
challenges
00:50
and some of us are able to move
00:54
abroad and already have some
00:57
sort of connection some sort of
00:58
foundation there maybe you’re moving
01:01
for school or maybe you’re moving here
01:02
for a partner or for a dog or something
01:04
my situation
01:05
i’m one of the others that moved here to
01:08
build a new life and i moved to album
01:09
myself and so i had
01:10
really really start at the bottom and
01:12
build everything up i’m not saying i’m
01:14
complaining
01:15
i think in itself in where i’ve come
01:18
from
01:18
who i am now it’s been a really valuable
01:21
experience and
01:22
i’m happy what i’ve been able to do how
01:24
i’ve been able to use the resources that
01:26
i’ve been lucky to get
01:28
and become who i am now but of course
01:31
it was very very hard and at times it
01:34
can still be
01:35
very very hard to do that i
01:40
struggle a lot with feeling
01:43
both alone and lonely
01:46
because i mean yes there’s a very big
01:48
difference between the two
01:51
but i came here and i of course
01:54
it’s better now but i still have the
01:56
strongest social
01:58
foundation i would say i don’t really
02:01
have any family any sort of
02:03
um network or support
02:07
in that regard this past year which has
02:10
felt like so many
02:11
so many years and one i’ve come to
02:13
realize there is a very big difference
02:15
between
02:15
feeling lonely and being alone being
02:17
alone is like if you have
02:19
absolutely nothing nobody only you
02:23
which i feel like to be only the
02:26
smallest smallest percentage of people
02:28
i mean i of course
02:32
don’t have too much you know
02:35
in terms of friends and family etc
02:39
but i have been able to meet really
02:41
great people
02:42
and really good have really good
02:45
connections i mean i have wonderful
02:47
colleagues at my job
02:48
and so i would not say i’m alone
02:51
the biggest annoying thing i feel kind
02:53
of bad is like if i’m doing these like
02:55
emergency forms i don’t never have a
02:56
contact i could put on it or if i go to
02:58
the hospital they’re like who should i
02:59
contact
03:00
i’m like me but
03:03
if i really need something i do have
03:06
friends
03:06
in other places other cities other
03:08
countries or so the best part about
03:11
i guess living in this time or having
03:13
everything happen in this time
03:14
is the benefit of the digitalization
03:18
that’s super ingrained into our society
03:20
and culture people may not be
03:22
close to you like in a physical
03:24
proximity but
03:26
there’s always somebody i think
03:27
somewhere where you can reach out to
03:30
and in my situation it’s kind of been
03:32
like that the other day for example i
03:34
was having such a hard time
03:36
with getting my furniture delivered i
03:38
have been
03:39
flat so it’s just a nightmare and
03:42
for days straight i was staying at home
03:44
waiting for this package to be delivered
03:45
because i can’t pick it up because it’s
03:46
very big and heavy
03:48
and the guy kept you know giving me
03:50
notifications so he tried to reach you
03:52
but you weren’t home
03:53
and i was like yes i was i even got my
03:56
neighbors
03:57
post because i was home it’s
04:00
this no and i was getting frustrated and
04:03
i called their customer support and
04:05
you know they didn’t help me at all
04:07
they’re like well just wait the next day
04:08
they’ll come
04:09
so i called my friend and really no like
04:11
please i don’t know what to do
04:12
i mean you’re german is there some chick
04:14
i don’t know and he goes
04:16
yeah you just have to be grumpy with him
04:17
sound too nice give me your information
04:19
i’ll call and so he called them
04:21
and it was like you need to tell your
04:23
delivery to stop being
04:24
lazy and then within a couple hours it
04:27
was delivered
04:29
so you know i think it’s really it’s
04:32
really nice thing is i want to be very
04:33
clear with this
04:34
is that whether you’re alone feeling
04:37
lonely feeling alone
04:39
i’m not saying you shouldn’t very much
04:41
against that whole mentality that you
04:42
always have to be happy and you always
04:44
have to look on the bright side and
04:45
you always have to be like well
04:46
something could always be worse
04:48
something could always be better
04:49
yeah of course true that’s life but
04:52
no matter who you are where you come
04:54
from what your situation is
04:56
we all have the same feelings we all
04:58
feel them at the same levels of
05:00
intensity
05:01
and it’s just that spectrum is very
05:05
equal
05:05
so sometimes if you’re feeling bad and
05:08
you know
05:09
you shouldn’t have to feel better
05:11
sometimes you just need to sort of get
05:13
through that get out of that and then
05:15
maybe rationalize it later
05:17
so you’re not forever in like this
05:19
little slump which
05:21
i sometimes find i fall into but luckily
05:24
running has been one of those things
05:26
where it definitely really helps out
05:27
right now things
05:28
are definitely getting a bit more tricky
05:30
like the final culmination of this
05:34
really really annoying year it’s winter
05:36
time
05:37
currently in germany it’s getting very
05:39
very cold
05:40
running right now is just
05:45
very difficult i find it’s a tool that
05:48
i’ve
05:48
been able to use to get myself out of
05:50
these periods where i’m not feeling
05:52
so great if you have alone and you have
05:54
feeling lonely
05:55
feeling lonely i think this could be
05:58
broken down into maybe a couple
05:59
different factors
06:00
and what i’ve found to be is things that
06:02
make me feel lonely is when one
06:04
i’m feeling disconnected or there’s just
06:08
a lack of familiarity which i feel
06:11
especially as an expat
06:13
this one always gets you super hard when
06:16
you start
06:17
and when you first move abroad and i
06:19
mean even if you’re in your own country
06:21
once you move around to different areas
06:22
or different cities you have that period
06:24
where you’re like oh
06:26
i don’t know how to do stuff i am still
06:28
adapting
06:29
i’m uncomfortable i’m not familiar and
06:32
i just don’t connect to this place these
06:34
people but
06:36
living abroad it’s a little bit i think
06:39
more tough well i think it’s a little
06:42
bit more long-term there because
06:44
i’ve been in germany for so long but i
06:47
still
06:48
feel like this middle ground where i
06:50
don’t belong
06:51
like people do here but i also don’t in
06:54
the states
06:54
and i understand a lot of stuff but i
06:57
don’t
06:58
connect with it the same or i just
07:02
certain things are not familiar to me
07:05
and
07:06
i and it’s not that i get nostalgic for
07:09
being in the states again
07:10
but just knowing if i’m there all these
07:13
little daily activities little tasks
07:16
i don’t have to think about them you
07:17
know it’s like going to the grocery
07:18
store and i know
07:19
what aisle i know what row i know where
07:21
everything is located
07:22
even in germany when i’ve been here for
07:24
ages i’m still like
07:26
why is this product next to this product
07:29
this doesn’t make
07:30
sense to me and i know it and i go for
07:32
it but it’s just
07:34
that thing where i can’t quite always go
07:36
on autopilot because i’m always like
07:37
okay remember
07:38
this is how it goes here and that’s the
07:41
type of thing
07:42
where it’s just the trade-off you have
07:44
to accept
07:45
but it does always perpetuate this just
07:48
feeling of well not always the most
07:52
comfort
07:52
and you don’t want to come to this sort
07:54
of feeling of
07:56
discomfort i then in my experience
07:59
at least kept trying to find resources
08:02
or ways that
08:03
i can maybe just create that for myself
08:06
and it wasn’t always dictated by my
08:07
environment
08:08
of course you don’t really have control
08:09
over that and you can’t
08:11
always just go through every day feeling
08:14
those bad things
08:15
and so for me running was one of the
08:16
things where i yeah it helped me so much
08:19
i’m going this forever because
08:20
it’s just it’s just incredible too for
08:23
so many things
08:23
it’s such an incredibly mental sport of
08:26
course you have to have some
08:27
physical shape as well and endurance
08:29
there but for the most part
08:31
it’s just so in your head going those
08:34
last couple kilometers in a race
08:36
or even just getting up and going out
08:38
for a run in general
08:40
you have to think in your head i’ll do
08:42
this otherwise
08:44
you just don’t and that’s i think the
08:47
biggest thing to it
08:48
and so it was something where i knew
08:51
okay maybe if i was having bad
08:53
time i was feeling not my best if i go
08:55
out for a run i’ll feel good because i
08:57
accomplished something and it always has
08:58
a positive outcome you know
09:00
you are always a couple steps better
09:02
than you were before
09:03
and you know if you’re saying all right
09:06
i’m going to go run this amount
09:07
and you do it easy when and
09:11
you did something great for yourself
09:12
aside from that it’s also
09:14
one a great way to connect in a great
09:17
way to
09:18
find these social resources as i said
09:20
before i do
09:21
really love all my online communities
09:24
and
09:24
the way it’s connecting with people in
09:26
itself you know you go to a race
09:28
and it’s the most supportive and amazing
09:32
community ever because people there
09:34
they’re not really racing against each
09:36
other
09:36
of course technically yeah a little bit
09:38
they are but at the end of the day you
09:40
go there because
09:41
you have something in your mind that you
09:43
want to accomplish for yourself
09:45
but you’re still going to support
09:46
everybody else around you
09:48
so it’s sort of like you’re doing
09:50
something alone
09:51
but together it’s sort of like it’s
09:53
always a win-win situation
09:55
that’s been maybe my go-to resource
09:58
because
09:59
of course i i do other stuff when i’m
10:01
feeling like that
10:02
one thing i used to do is if i was
10:04
feeling a little bit lonesome but
10:06
not so great i would just go off
10:08
somewhere social i’d go and go for a
10:09
walk and things forgotten or there’s
10:10
lots of people around
10:11
i go sit in a cafe read my book and you
10:14
know that little
10:15
social energy buzz and everything going
10:17
on around you can be pretty comforting
10:19
and pretty pretty nice we’re all kind of
10:21
confined to staying home being in the
10:24
reality of everything
10:26
so it’s a little bit unfortunate there
10:28
sort of coming up that i struggle with
10:30
is always the holidays because
10:32
i don’t have um i really don’t have
10:35
things to do for christmas you know no
10:37
people know this that family etc
10:39
and then uh times like new year’s as
10:42
well so it’s been long stretch of time
10:43
where i feel just really
10:46
i don’t know bummed out and of course
10:47
the weather’s always cold so you’re like
10:50
not not for me something where i was
10:52
surprised that once i was more actively
10:54
trying to just find something
10:56
i was kind of rewarded the tricky part
10:58
about living in bavaria it’s a very
11:00
conservative state and in munich it
11:02
seems like
11:02
every year for christmas everybody
11:05
leaves and they go to their family and
11:06
you know last year
11:07
i was having a particularly bad year one
11:10
of the issues
11:11
is that too oftentimes if people are not
11:14
familiar with something
11:15
they feel uncomfortable with it instead
11:17
of you know acknowledging it’s from
11:19
their side
11:20
that negative feeling they put it on you
11:22
and this is one thing where
11:24
with my situation oftentimes i get
11:29
really not the nicest behavior and last
11:31
year was kind of thing where
11:32
some people are making me feel very bad
11:34
because
11:36
they couldn’t understand why i was by
11:37
myself and they couldn’t understand my
11:40
situation but
11:41
they had to keep asking and pushing me
11:43
and then eventually they just were
11:45
treating me back for it i was feeling
11:46
really upset
11:47
um and it was christmas and the 25th of
11:50
december
11:51
and then i saw that there was going to
11:53
be this christmas drag show
11:54
some of these drag queens in munich that
11:56
i’m like so obsessed with they’re so
11:57
amazing so great in general drag
11:59
i love it a lot of my very good friends
12:02
do it and it’s one of those things where
12:04
there’s so much skill and there’s so
12:05
much talent and i just appreciate that
12:07
so i was like you know what why not
12:11
i’m gonna go there and i’m gonna put on
12:13
my sparkly boots and i’m gonna make a
12:15
bunch of
12:16
friends and have a nice time and watch
12:18
like these amazing queens do their thing
12:20
and it was the best time ever
12:27
[Music]
12:34
it was really really great because i got
12:36
to be around all these great
12:38
people that were so nice to me and you
12:40
know they didn’t treat me bad
12:41
because i had a different situation that
12:43
was the coolest thing ever
12:44
and it’s actually one of the queens i
12:46
wrote her a little bit ago just to say
12:48
oh
12:48
yeah i’m really sorry that i can’t see
12:50
you but you know she’s been putting a
12:52
lot of
12:53
really great content in lieu of this
12:55
whole last year situation
12:57
so that’s actually i think my last point
13:01
would tie into
13:02
is that you can’t always do things you
13:04
used to do
13:05
or have these resources but they’ve been
13:08
developing and really
13:09
really creative we’ve been finding new
13:11
forms i
13:12
am a huge huge fan of reddit i love it
13:15
so much i have to be careful
13:17
otherwise i’ll spend my whole day on it
13:18
just all these resources if you want to
13:20
connect with something if you want to
13:22
do an activity at support for something
13:25
reddit is the best place for that
13:26
there’s so many different threads and
13:28
odds are you can very easily find
13:29
somebody
13:30
who is interested in the same thing or a
13:32
group of people that
13:34
support the same thing i mean and that’s
13:36
the only community started i actually
13:38
the other day was super super cool
13:39
is there’s this other x type on youtube
13:42
except she’s an american that lives in
13:43
france
13:43
jessie sent me this really really sweet
13:46
nice email
13:47
and then of course the internet stopped
13:49
all of her accounts and i was like
13:51
okay she’s nice but she also makes such
13:53
great content and she’s so similar it’s
13:55
great
13:56
so we were talking and then eventually
13:58
of course i found out she was really
14:00
interested
14:00
in um chef’s table which is one of my
14:02
favorite shows which i can’t get a lot
14:04
of people to get into
14:06
but whatever so i was able to you know
14:09
connect somewhere else and it was such
14:11
like a bright and happy moment
14:12
and i think you could you should
14:14
definitely like just leave yourself open
14:16
to be
14:17
pleasantly surprised just really really
14:19
nice
14:20
and i think helpful especially now in
14:22
these times to sort of like
14:24
get everything feeling a little bit
14:26
better i don’t know how it is in your
14:28
guys’s countries
14:29
but germany of course it’s
14:33
it’s it’s you know not too bad a little
14:35
bit tricky because
14:36
yeah you can’t do a lot of stuff but one
14:39
thing i’ve actually come to like is that
14:40
in lieu of all this germans have been
14:43
becoming a lot more friendlier than they
14:44
were before
14:46
like even just little things like notes
14:48
in stores and shops and
14:50
people just trying to be slightly more
14:52
supportive than before
14:54
or not really super
14:58
intensely trying to make you feel like
15:01
you’re irrelevant to them or they’re
15:03
avoiding you which
15:05
sorry but germans they just do this
15:06
they’re not socially driven
15:08
that’s the culture you know you can’t
15:10
complain it’s just
15:12
different strokes for different folks or
15:14
what have you
15:15
one thing i’ve come to find out that
15:17
there’s a lot
15:18
more there than you think we get so
15:21
wrapped up in our heads and we feel kind
15:23
of bad and
15:24
you know we feel kind of sad or upset
15:26
and you don’t
15:27
maybe try or consider more than you did
15:29
before i know with me it’s like i
15:32
recently found out that there’s a lot
15:33
more people there than i thought
15:35
and even like colleagues or
15:37
acquaintances i found
15:39
you just maybe need to reach out a
15:41
little bit sometimes
15:42
more than you thought granted of course
15:45
if you think oh
15:45
nothing’s going to come from it well
15:48
give it a try
15:49
and worst case you’re pleasantly
15:51
surprised summary of this great big
15:53
video
15:54
i hope that in the least it could help
15:57
you guys feel maybe
15:59
a little less alone or a little bit more
16:01
conscious of
16:02
ways that you can make yourself feel
16:05
better adapt to situations that suck if
16:07
you guys have experienced anything like
16:08
this or have any additional tips
16:10
comment down below i’m certain that a
16:11
lot of people will be happy to hear them
16:13
or at least you know hear some
16:15
similarities i hope you guys
16:17
are having a good week and i will talk
16:18
to you next time ciao
16:25
[Music]