Third-culture kids have always fascinated me. The way they do life, and all the experiences that have shaped them. And if their lives are purpose-driven, I find that even more amazing! That’s why today am so pleased to interview the lovely Miki. I hope it will inspire you, dear reader, to continue to be the best version of yourself.
Life Abroad with third culture kid, Miki
1. Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Miki! I’m a musician, a nurse, and a newly-wed, trying to navigate life after college. My dad being Hispanic, and my mom being Japanese, I consider myself to be a third culture kid. I was born in Japan, but grew up in the United States.
2. When did you first move abroad and why?
My first big move was when I was four years old. My parents decided that they would have more opportunities in America, so my mother, father, and three crying babies made the exodus from Japan to America.
3. What were some of your expectations and emotions before moving abroad?
I definitely had high expectations before moving abroad. I’m currently living in Germany. Before I moved [to Germany], I thought I’d be speaking the language in no time. I thought it would be easy for me to find a job as a nurse (either as an American nurse or German nurse). I expected my life to be full of adventure and travelling on the weekends. The move itself was quite stressful, but I was definitely excited for a change of pace and was ready to fling myself out of my comfort zone and into the unknown.
4. Describe your first few months in your new country.
I moved to Germany in April 2017, so I still consider myself to be relatively ‘new’ here. It’s the complete opposite of what I had envisioned before I moved. I was so used to working in a busy, fast-paced environment back in Houston (U.S.A) and I’ve had to adjust to this new pace of not having a job. I was so fortunate to have met an amazing group of strong, supportive women early on after I got to Germany. It has definitely made the transition a lot easier. I have yet to find a job, but I joined the local crossfit gym, and have made friends with fellow gym members and neighbors also. Some days are definitely better than others. I’m the first to admit that I don’t always love it here. Sometimes I wish I were back in Houston or back in school. But I remind myself that travelling the world is a privilege that not many people have the luxury of experiencing. I’ve been travelling like CRAZY (I’ve already visited 11 countries since April!), going on lots of beautiful hikes in Bavaria where I live, raising our new German shepherd puppy (his name is Pork Chop), and volunteering as a nurse with the Red Cross!
5. What are the most amazing things about your new home/country?
The apple strudels, HANDS DOWN! They are the best. It doesn’t help that the bakery is like a two-minute walk from our house. Not doing too well with the ‘clean eating’ thing here. Speaking of food, did I mention bratwurst? And beer? And pretzels? Oh boy… In all seriousness, I’m not too crazy about the German cuisine as a whole (think potatoes and pork), but I’ve really been enjoying all the beer fests!
As far as things to see and do, I’m fortunate to be living in Bavaria – full of crystal clear lakes, beautiful rolling hills and forests of evergreens. If you drive a couple hours south, you have the German alps, which are breathtaking. I think that experiencing the nature here is one of the most amazing things about Germany.
6. What are some of the things you miss from your country of origin/motherland?
I miss being able to communicate with everyone! Although most Germans are almost fluent in English, and I’ve definitely been working on my German, it’s still not the same level of comfort, fluency, and understanding.
I miss the convenience and accessibility of things. There are so many 24-hour stores, gyms, emergency clinics, etc. in the States. Here, the whole town basically shuts down after about 8pm, besides restaurants and bars – those stay open a bit later. According to German law, retail shops and grocery stores must be closed on Sunday and all German holidays (there are A LOT of them).
7. Is there anything you would do differently about the move/relocation? If so, what are they?
I thought it’d be a smart move to ship a huge box of clothes about two weeks before I left, so they would be there by the time I got there. For my actual flight (which spanned about a week, since I was making a mini-trip out of it), I packed a carry-on with about 3 outfits. No checked baggage. Apparently my box got lost, so I was waiting for my clothes for a good 4-5 weeks. I rotated through three outfits for a month, and bought an extra one from H&M. Talk about minimalism! In retrospect, I should have packed a huge suitcase and brought it with me on the flight.
8. How is life different in your new country?
a. I live in a relatively small town of 40,000 in southeastern Bavaria, about 30 minutes from the Czech border. It’s not riddled by tourists like Munich or Berlin, so it definitely has an authentic German feel. I love walking through our charming city center and buying fresh produce from the farmer’s market. The buildings itself are so charming, each painted a different color. There are tables set out in front of cafes and bars, where you can enjoy a glass of whatever you want, while you sit and enjoy the weather and company. There’s a park that I absolutely love walking or jogging through, with beautiful flowers, and river that runs along the side. It’s peaceful and charming. I’m still exploring and learning more about our town, but I’m glad we live here.
*I’ve learned that the grass ALWAYS seems greener on the other side, no matter what side of the grass you’re on. To me, the grass is greener for people who are moving up in their careers and working hard. To them, it’s probably quitting their job and travelling the world. Everything can be seen from another perspective, and realizing that has been my greatest tool in living life to the fullest, and living life in the moment.