It is an adventure arriving in a new place. The first 2 weeks are especially exciting, and partly scary. Just a trip to the shop takes you forever. You are meeting lots of new people and there is just so much to do and so much to see. This is a very special time in a new country.
The initial excitement follows a time of disillusionment and doubt, especially when transitions are not as smooth as expected. Was this the right decision we took? I certainly asked myself many questions. After this doubting period follows a reality check and routine kicks in. This is also the phase were people who accompanied their spouses try to redefine their lives and then start to create their own structures in life.
In the beginning I thought I can just take my life from South Africa and plant it into my new life here. Well, after a month I had to surrender and I realized that this will not be possible. Life is different in California and things work differently here. A move to a different country does not only mean relocation but also transition. Sometimes couples are lucky and both partners find careers in their preferred industry. But in my experience and with my friends, women end up doing something completely new, or they even go back to school. And exactly this is a great opportunity. I mean who is so lucky to get another change or opportunity to redefine yourself and decide for a second time what you want to do in your life? Theoretically this is great and practically there will be challenges.
Let’s look at it from the bride side, challenges mean development and growth in people. The advantages include a more diversified skills set and in addition you get the change to do something you never did before. One of my friends for example was a brand marketer at Nestle in Canada and now she discovered her artistic talent and she is embracing these skills to become an artist. How amazing is that? I am currently exploring my teaching skills and doing a course to teach German as a foreign language.
You probably wonder where you can find these opportunities. Some of them will find you, others you have to look for and stay alert. opportunities are all around you, you just have to open up, embrace and get on with it. The Bay Area in particular offers a range of diversity and possibilities.
I remember when I arrived in Palo Alto I was adamant that I would find a job in my industry. I was so stubborn that I wouldn’t see other opportunities around me. Then I went through a phase where I wanted to open my own business. Well when reality hits, it is understandable that for a short time frame in a country a own business might not be the best idea. After some meetings and frustration I started to relax and embrace what life had in store for me.
Sometimes you find opportunities in places where you did not expect them at all. For example, I was on the Caltrain in the bike coach, going to the city. The cyclist are very friendly and talkative, especially in the mornings and I got talking to a man and I let him know that I am looking for a job. He said that he works for a company that is currently looking to recruit. I got his email address and send him my resume. Although did not follow up with this contact, it shows that people are willing to help and connect.
By meeting loads of people I was able to put some of my friends in touch with people who were hiring. Basically it’s all just a big huge network. Networking is very important in California. Always let people know what you want. They will remember you and doors will open for you.
Maricki from SA/Germany