Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Encounters of an Expat Hausfrau

It is not easy to move to a new place and create new social networks. I have had to do this a couple of times. First, I moved to study in the capital of Finland, several hundreds of kilometers away from home. Then, few years after graduation, I moved again, this time together with Herr Welle.

But what usually makes it easier to adjust, are the groups you automatically fall in to. Like when you start the studies at the university in your twenties, there are a lot of similar people in similar situation. Not to mention all the partying... And when you move to work in another town, you meet all these new faces through your new job. I have been lucky to make some great friends during my studies and in my jobs!

But the start here in Wiesbaden hasn't been all that easy. First of all, there is the language problem. My Deutsch is not strong enough to just casually start chatting with someone. Secondly, there is the problem of being a Hausfrau. Fräulein was born about a month after we moved to Germany, so the first six months went by in a haze and without many contacts with the outside world.

Thankfully, I met the family of Herr Welle's colleague. They are also Finnish and their daughter is 10 months older than Fräulein. Through them, we also found the Finnish church in Frankfurt, which has some activities for families with small children. Last spring, we joined their music group and have been able to spend time with other Finnish families.

In the playroom of the Finnish church,
Fräulein has found some new toys and friends 
Although it is great to meet another Finns, it has bothered me that, due to my poor German, I'm not really able to connect with the locals. When we went to baby swimming, I spoke with the other mums in English. It was great to be able to do that, but quite often the general discussion turned into German and I was not able to follow.

But now I have reached some sort of turning point. Yesterday, Fräulein and I took part in a German playgroup! An hour and a half passed, and I didn't ask anyone 'Sprechen Sie Englisch?'. Although I might not have been very chatty, I managed to follow the conversations and even answer some questions in German. Yay!

I was quite exhausted afterwards and I do admit that my German was faaaaar from perfect, but it was a start. I do believe that it will get easier with some practice. Although I'm not sure what I am going to say there next Monday, as I have already used all the phrases I know in German: "Sie heißt XXX", "Sie ist fünfzehn Monate alt", "Wir kommen aus Finnland"...

1 comment:

Frau Dietz said...

Brilliant!! I agree, those sort of situations are completely exhausting, but I bet you feel good for it :)