Welcome to My Expat Interview Series!
I’m about to give you an insider’s sneak peek to the truths and realities of expat life. Not just from my point of view. From expats around the world. I’ll be sharing their stories with the dreamers, the movers, the curious. You!
The idea behind this series is to share other expat stories because:
- You are probably bored to tears with me.
- There is a world of opportunities out there. Maybe reading these interviews will inspire you to follow a dream that is more attainable than you ever thought.
- I’m selfish. And totally nosy. I want to learn about how other expats live around the world. As much as I love Malaysia, I’m still a Sagittarius (read feisty, independent, traveler) who’s always ready for the next adventure.
So, without further ado… Let’s Dive into my Expat Interviews Series!
Meet my first interview-ee, Farm Girl Miriam. She’s a total doll that couldn’t have a more opposite lifestyle than I do. If I had to describe her in one word, it would be happy-yoga-badass-farm-girl-author.
That’s one, right?
1. Tell me about yourself
Hi, I’m Miriam! I’m 40 years old, happily married, with 4 stepdaughters and no biological kids. Our 6 dogs are my “kids”, I love them a lot. I was born and raised in Germany, in a cold and windy little corner right between the Czech Republic and the former East Germany. It was a sleepy place until the wall came down in 1989, when we suddenly found ourselves in the midst of a reunited Germany!
2. Where are you living now? How long have you lived there?
In a small cowboy town in British Columbia, Canada. I’ve been in Canada for 17 years. Only three in the Merritt.
3. Why did you decide to move to Canada?
I moved for love. While travelling through BC at the age of 22 I met Richard: a 48-year old cowboy who also happened to be a German expat and the father of 4 kids. We fell hard for each other, and after having spent only 3 days together he came to see me in Germany a short while later. We travelled through Spain for two weeks, and decided during that time that I would move to Canada to be with him. Hardest but best thing I ever did! It’s such a crazy story that I wrote a book about it titled Let’s Pretend This is Normal.
4. What is the cost of living like?
It depends on where you live. Rent in large cities is expensive, and property prices have shot up so much over the last decade that most millennials can’t afford to buy a place. It’s a lot more affordable in rural areas. Food is pricier than it is in Germany, but our wages are higher so it balances out.
5. What do you do for a living?
I’m an x-ray technologist who works at several rural hospitals and a trauma center. It’s a great job that gives me enough time and freedom to blog and write books, which is my passion!
6. What is your favorite part of expatriate life?
The freedom! My husband and I live on a ranch with lots of animals, something we could never afford in Germany. I have the option to take quite a bit of time off work if I want to. But the very best part is that doing something so scary in my early 20s has given me a “everything’s possible”-kinda attitude.
7. Do you need a visa to live in Canada?
Yes. Most countries will have to apply for an eTA (electronic travel authorization) before entry. It’s cheap and can be done online, but without it you won’t be allowed into Canada. If you want to live and work there you have to become a landed immigrant. It involves a lot of paperwork and it’s not easy to get that status. In my case we decided to get married so I could become a landed immigrant. I now have dual citizenship.
8. Was is easy to make friends?
What is the social scene like? Do you socialize mainly with locals, expats, or both? Canadians are very friendly and open, so it’s easy to make friends. I mainly socialize with locals, and due to our age gap our friends range in age from being in their 20s to 80s! It’s awesome.
9. What’s the best thing about living in Canada? Or being an expat in Canada?
I love nature, and we live in one of the most beautiful areas I’ve ever seen. On my way to work I see deer and bald eagles, and there are often wild sheep and wild horses on the road. The natural beauty will never get old. I also really love the English language and I’m so grateful to be able to use it every day.
10. Are there any negatives about living in Canada?
Being far away from family. I wish I could see my sister and my nieces more often.
11. When people come to visit you, what is the one thing you always take them to see/do?
We always take them up the mountains on our ATVs. It’s breathtaking up there! We also like to go tubing on the river, do road trips and take them to the local pubs for drinks and live music.
12. If you could give one piece of advice to people moving to Canada what would it be?
Do your homework before you move. The winters in large parts of the country are very cold and long, in other parts grey and wet. Make sure you know what you’re in for during all 4 seasons!
13. What does home mean to you?
Home is waking up to the dogs licking my face. It’s having coffee on the stoop in the morning sunshine. Home is listening to my husband talking to his mom (who lives in Germany) on the phone. It’s smelling pine and mountain air, stroking a purring cat on my lap, and watching the sunset from the porch. Home is being with my love and our animals in our own slice of paradise.
14. What has been the most helpful thing in adapting to your home abroad?
Having my husband by my side. I could live anywhere with him.
15. What advice would you give to expats that want to follow in your footsteps?
Be prepared that the first year is going to be tough. You will get homesick, which is normal. If they speak a different language try to learn it quickly – you will feel less isolated if you do. Try not to compare everything to your old country but embrace the differences.
Thank you for sharing, Miriam!
K❣️If you are an expat and want to tell your story, please reach out. I’d love to hear it and share it with the world.
- And if you want to learn more about expat life in general don’t miss this popular post: Life as an Expat: What You Need to Know