In the Garage

I'm going to be an expat squared. Or expat hoch zwei.

October 20, 2014 | 3 Minute Read

It's been awhile since I wrote about being an expat, but it turns out I'm moving to Shanghai on Thursday. Yes, in 72 hours I will be sitting on a plane on my way to China. It's kind of crazy to think that after eight years of living in Germany, I'm moving to a new country and not back to the U.S. I never thought I'd actually have the chance to move to China even though I've been saying I would like to do it for a really long time.

You might've noticed I've renamed this blog from "Deutschland, na klar!" ("Germany, of course!" which was basically the title of my German grammar book in college) to "Expat Hoch Zwei," which is a mix of English and German. It means "Expat Squared." I actually wanted to rename it "Expat Squared," but doing a quick Google search brought me to another blog that someone else got to before me. Oh well.

So, tschüß, Düsseldorf:

Düsseldorf skyline

The question is...what have I been doing up to now?

A lot of people have already asked me the question, "Have you already packed?" The answer, simply, is no. I'm not the type of person who takes days to pack. I pretty much will just lay out all of the clothing I think I should or want to take with me. That's usually a big pile of things. Then I'll just look at that pile and take out anything unnecessary, making sure that I have enough clothing for several combinations. Whether it's layering tank tops and sweaters or making sure I have black shoes that match everything, this is the best way to bring very little. Now that I'm moving and need to consider work clothing, I'm also packing completely differently from when I moved to Berlin as a student.

If I haven't been packing, what have I been doing? I finished working at my last job and tried to tie up as many loose ends as possible. It was bittersweet because I'm excited to embark on a new adventure, but at the same time, I will sorely miss my colleagues. I worked with a lot of incredibly talented and smart people, but we also got along really well on a personal level. To the least, I'll miss the lunchtime conversations that evolved around everything but the product on which we were working. I know I'll keep in touch with all of them since like me, they're all internet geeks and social media makes it easy to make quick updates.

I've also been worrying about my visa. It reminded me of a few months back when I applied for my Indian visa. Back then, I had to renew my residency permit early because in order to apply for a visa here in Germany instead of in the U.S., I needed to have my German residency permit valid for six months or longer. That wasn't the case, hence the renewal. Long story short, everything was a bit stressful and unfortunately really close to when I actually left to go to India. This time, I happened to have a small trip to Mallorca planned to work from our office there for five days. As a non-EU citizen, I'm technically required to use my passport for flying. I could use my residency permit, but if the airline wanted to, they could demand my passport. So there was nothing I could do but hope everything would fall into place.

And it has. I applied for my visa last Monday and got my passport back a week later. I've finished getting all of my paperwork in order, cleaned a bunch, and met up with lots of friends. It seemed like it was going to be painfully slow from when I decided, "Yes, I'm going to China!" but it's unsurprisingly sped up so I don't actually have time to think. I need to focus on one thing at a time.

In 72 hours, it'll be 你好, 上海!

Shanghai Skyline