Nov. 23, 2020

Antoinette Emily from New Zealand

Antoinette Emily from New Zealand

You probably know Antoinette Emily from her YouTube channel. Originally from New Zealand, she moved to Germany to be with her then-boyfriend (now-husband) over 10 years ago. We discuss the story of how she came to Germany, the importance of having international friends in Germany, raising bilingual children, why you probably shouldn't build a house in Germany, and, of course, her YouTube channel.

Antoinette's YouTube channel: Antoinette Emily
Antoinette on Instagram: @antoinette_nz

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What follows is a direct machine transcription of the podcast episode. Please note that there will be some anomalies and incorrect transcribing, since it was done by AI and not by a human. 

Shaun B  0:16  
It's the Germany experience the podcast about life in Germany as seen through the eyes of outsiders. I'm your host, Shaun and new episodes in your podcast feed every week. So subscribe to the show. Wherever you listen to podcasts, you can also listen to episodes on and you can get in touch with me there and much, much more. And while you're there on my website, sign up for my monthly newsletter. In it I write some musings and ponderings about life in Germany and I also go over some of the podcast highlights of the past month so sign up. My guest this week is youtuber Antoinette Emily and we'll get to her in just a bit. So use the links in my show notes and sign up for the course while it is discounted. The code and the links are in the show notes. And I am of course an affiliate partner of fluent language. So if you sign up with my links, you're helping the show. Now my guest this week, you probably know her from her YouTube channel. She's Antoinette Emily, she is from a coastal wine region of New Zealand called Hawke's Bay. And she married Polish German and that is how she ended up in Germany around about 10 years ago. She has two children who are seven and four and there's one coming in January of 2021. We discuss the story of how she came to Germany, the importance of having international friends in Germany, raising children as bilinguals why you probably shouldn't build a house in Germany and, of course, her YouTube channel. He has Antoinette Emily.

Antoinette  2:59  
So I came to Germany by accident, I met my husband or not even boyfriend at the time. We met in New Zealand, he was bit picking for a year around New Zealand actually, a lot of Germans take a year off and they they don't work and travel a year. And he was backpacking with a couple of his German friends. And it was basically just a year off for him. He just wanted to sort of find himself and I guess just have a year of being free. And he had no commitments. And he thought why not. And so that's what he did. And at one time, I had just returned from living in Melbourne, Australia. And I came back to New Zealand to finish off some studies that I had started but not finished. And so I completed my bachelor's degree in Visual Arts and Design and then I went on to do my postgraduate diploma in teaching. And so I was super busy at the time. Not really taught it. I didn't have much time for socializing or anything like that. But a friend of mine convinced me to go out one night to a local bar for a couple of drinks. And I thought why not? Actually, it took a lot of convincing. I almost didn't go out that night. And then I got to the bar and I noticed a very tall, dark, handsome foreign looking man who was like kind of staring at me, which is kind of ironic now because German mean unknown to us. And I thought, oh, okay, you know, he's, I don't know, there was something about him. And I just I knew he was foreign. I don't know, I can't tell you why. And I heard him speaking a different language with a group of guys later on in the evening, and I didn't even know what the language was. So that's how much I knew about Germany. And so after a couple of drinks, we will he didn't want to talk to me, but I would like to get a drink. And he actually introduced themselves in Hi, I am Robert and it was really awkward. Really. Do this. And yeah, we just got he asked if I wanted a drink. And we got talking. And I said, Where are you from? I'm from Germany. I was surprised German, okay. Didn't know a lot about Germany. And yeah, we were just we got talking, we, I thought he was a lovely guy. And at the end of the night, he asked my number and said, you know, can I call you? I want to see you again. And I thought, Okay, why not? And I didn't really expect to hear that from him. And then the next day, he called me back, he called me. And he was extremely nervous. his, his English wasn't very good at all, at the time. pistons improved, but um, use it was quite an awkward conversation. He couldn't really string a sentence together very well. But I thought, you know, I'm gonna give him a chance. Why not? Right. So he took me out, he took me out for dinner the next evening, and I thought he was lovely. Okay. We just slowly got to know each other. And I, we were just really drawn to each other for some reason. And I regret it didn't matter, like the language barrier didn't seem to matter. We meet sort of towards the beginning of his stand New Zealand. And over the course of that year, we, we just got to know each other, and we formed a relationship, and it was nothing serious. But it got to the end of the year, and he had to go back to Germany because his visa had run out, right. And he was only allowed to stand the ceiling for one year. And we were like, what are we gonna do, you know, we have to be a pass. And he said to me that he wanted to stay in New Zealand, he'd fallen in love with New Zealand, he was on this big New Zealand bus, and he wanted to live in New Zealand. And we tried to extend his visa, but it did not work. Very, very tough New Zealand immigration, we spent a little bit of money trying to get them to stay a bit longer and applied for different visas, and they rejected all of them. So it was like, No, he's going back to Germany, we're going to have to break up. And then I came up with the idea to follow him to Germany, I was finished with my studies, here a little bit of free time. And I thought, why not? Why not go with him for three months. And just all else fails enough things don't work out with us, I get to see the Europe I've never been to Europe before, only trade errors in the United States.

And I thought, I've got nothing really to lose. And my family really liked him. And my mom actually really encouraged me to go, she thought it would be a great experience. And I think you never really know somebody until you sort of see them in their natural environment. Yeah. So I thought, you know, he's he's seen me in my life, my daily life. And my natural environment is now it's my turn to see what he's all about. So it was in New Zealand, the summer of 2009. And I was entering into winter in Germany. And so I yeah, traveled over to Germany with him. And yeah, it was absolutely freezing. I remember getting off the plane, I'd never felt anything quite like it. Never seen snow in my life. It was snowing. The areas of New Zealand that have snow but not the area I'm from Yeah. And yeah, it was really surreal. And I mean, his his parents and his sister were the incident me up at the airport. I was very very, I was exhausted. I had severe jetlag, it was a very, very long trip. Yeah,

Shaun B  8:44  
it's a long trip to get from that part of the world to Germany. It's like, sometimes 24 hours to 30 hours or something.

Antoinette  8:51  
Yeah, it's pretty rough. pretty rough. Yeah. So there was a bit of a shock for me. And you know, German, by the way, so it was all kind of like a spontaneous plan to go to Germany. So he robbed taught me a few phrases on the airplane. And I think I'd forgotten them. And it was quite daunting because his his family, they speak Polish at home. So he speaks with his mum and dad and polish. And her sister is 100% diff. So I could not communicate with any of them. But they were just wonderful. His parents just welcomed me with open arms. I had this beautiful spread of food and everything was laid out beautifully. This man had bought me this beautiful wooden to coast and just they were really just so welcoming and so wonderful. And I think I guess the moment that I thought well, like I'm so pleased I did this was when I sold the way that he interacted with a stiff system. Made it was like that was like that sealed the deal for Fincher because, yes, he was just So just it was just so wonderful to watch, because he doesn't speak that official sign language. But they made up language when they were kids. And so they can communicate with each other really well. And it's kind of hilarious. And yeah, it's just you have to see it to kind of talk about that. And he was so patient and so sweet with assistance. And they like this bit was something that, you know, meant a lot to me to say that. And so I thought, Oh, my goodness, like, yeah, I I wouldn't have known this if I hadn't have seen this myself. Yeah. And yeah, just proved to me that he was, you know, a great guy. And yeah, so that's basically my story of how I came to Germany. Yeah.

Shaun B  10:48  
So that's, that's pretty amazing. Because it sounds like the story would have been completely different if he was able to get a visa because the plan was to delay New Zealand.

Antoinette  10:59  
Absolutely. Yeah. It's like that movie sliding doors. Yeah. Exactly, exactly. So it was it all happened by accident. Amazing. So.

Shaun B  11:10  
So you, you came over for you said the plan was three months. And when you were there, you realize pretty early on that you probably want to be there for good?

Antoinette  11:22  
Well, not initially, I just knew that. I didn't want to be apart from him. Yeah, it was always worth thinking about, okay, we were just like, we just want to do everything to stay together. Basically, we weren't thinking of any thing in the future, or just, we just wanted to be together. And so we were just swimming. Yeah, I was 24. He was 23. And we were very impulsive, I guess you could say. And we knew that after the three months, I would have to go back to New Zealand, he couldn't intern news. And to New Zealand again, for I don't know how long. And we decided to extend my visa try and extend my visa. So I could stay just a bit longer and just extend my time there and have a little so it could have been more time together. And we tried all these different options. But I was rejected. You know, I was the same as Rob, in Germany. It's not easy to just stay longer. And then that was when we just decided let's get married. let's get let's get engaged. So

Shaun B  12:24  
how long have you been together at that point?

Antoinette  12:26  
I mean, we've been we've known each other for about a year. Okay.

Shaun B  12:31  
Yeah, long enough to know.

Antoinette  12:32  
Crazy. absolutely crazy. Looking back. We didn't, we didn't think it was crazy. We were just like, we want to be just, yes, we we got engaged. I think all of our families were pretty shocked. But they supported us. And then we decided that no, we found out that I could actually apply for a working holiday visa. So there was this kind of like an exchange program between Germany New Zealand. So I could stay in Germany for a year and like work for a year in Germany. And so we were like, Okay, well, that's gonna give us a bit more time. But we still wanna we still want to get married. Because what happens after that year runs so yeah, we got married. And,

Shaun B  13:19  
and there you are. Yeah. Wow. That is that is an amazing whirlwind story. So you when you were getting to know Germany a bit, what were your first impressions of it? Was it something like you thought, this is completely foreign to me? And I don't know if I could make it work here. What were your feelings?

Antoinette  13:36  
I'm completely foreign to me. Yeah, definitely. At the beginning, I was sort of, I guess, I saw Germany through rose colored glasses and away everything was new and exciting and wonderful. And just yeah, and then I think reality hits. I think, I don't know how far into it. Maybe a good four months, maybe it was just like, boom, hit me like a ton of bricks, right? Just the whole German mentality I struggled with a lot. And New Zealand I think New Zealand as we are very, very open, very, very friendly. To the point where sometimes it can do to other people from other cultures that could come across as fake maybe everything has to be great. You know, everything's like well, this is amazing. This is great. This is we sugarcoat everything. And Rob struggled with it, like in reverse that use I struggled with it, like use the hospitality just everything I took her quite personally, because I would I would smile at somebody on the street and they would blatantly just frown at me or just look at me like I was crazy. And that's just what I've grown up doing. You know, it's the New Zealand way. And I just didn't feel like I fit it all in Germany. And I think beginning I thought I don't think Germans are really debt. I don't know, I didn't particularly like Germans have to be quite frank. But then I later realize that Germans are just as lovely and warm and open as New Zealanders are, it just takes a while to kind of break through that area. Yeah. So they had kind of like a France, if you know what I mean, I know

Shaun B  15:23  
exactly what you mean, because I will tell you that I know a lot of my guests have struggled with exactly that. It's it's, it's it's beyond. It's beyond this stereotype. It really is something especially in Franconia, I think I think it's a special case in Franconia, with it, but I've heard about it from all over Germany as well. It's just that there's a big difference in the South African culture is the same. We're always smiling. We're always friendly. We're Yeah, we're like, I

Antoinette  15:48  
know, a lot of South Africans, New Zealand, and they're just like Kiwis. Yeah,

Shaun B  15:52  
exactly. Yeah. And that change to Germany is a really big thing. Because they they're also analyzing everything that you say, which is, for me, I'm used to making throwaway comments, I will just make a stupid comment or a joke that is not meant to mean anything, you just throw it out there and you, you move on with your life. And then the Germans will latch on to that end question or talk to with within an inch of its MIMO. Exactly. So yeah, it's a common theme.

Antoinette  16:19  
I have a lot of expat friends here. And we all have had the same experience and some more than others. Like I have friends from the UK. Maybe it wasn't such wasn't as big a culture shock for them. Because maybe I feel like their culture, in some ways is a bit more reserved. Closer to the German. I don't know, but I'm sure for me as a kiwi. Yeah,

Shaun B  16:41  
it's Oh, yeah. Yeah. Well,

Antoinette  16:43  
it was it was so what what?

Shaun B  16:45  
What do you think got you through there? We could because he said that the Germans are just as lovely and warm and welcoming in their own way Get

Antoinette  16:53  
to know them when you break through that shell. You know, it took me a long time. It definitely took a long time. I think what I I went through a stage of actually feeling quite like, I can't do this anymore. I can't Yeah, this is not me. You know, I just missed everything about New Zealand, just everything, the people the food, the culture, just everything. And what got me through it was knowing this Robben Island him to see pray if I left. So I had to I was kind of forced us sort of, to just get through it. And I think when I started to really enjoy life in Germany, was when I went to German language school. So basically, just because I was married to a German citizen, did not automatically mean that I could stand Germany, I had to go to a six month intensive integration, not just a language course, but an integration course, which was, every day, I had to go to these classes. And I actually met a whole lot of foreigners living in Germany, and I made friends. And I started learning German. And so even then, I still wasn't really mixing with German, some of Rob's friends, they were great. But it was, I just yeah, I started enjoying it more when I started to meet people. And it took me a long time to make actual German friends that I just started feeling happier and more open. And yeah, when I started learning the language and started integrating a little bit more in that way,

Shaun B  18:31  
right. And it's important, I found we found this as well, my wife and I, in the early days to have those other expat friends, because they're going through the same things that you are going through, and it's, it still gives you that feeling of connection then that you're not necessarily getting from the Germans.

Antoinette  18:47  
Absolutely, absolutely. I know a lot of people say that you should, you know, you shouldn't concentrate so much on the expat friends. But I don't know, it was so important to me. Yeah. And that time is still.

Shaun B  18:59  
Yeah, it's a it is a tricky line to walk because you don't want to get trapped in that bubble. But I think as well as it's in your case, you do have access to the German culture, you do have a connection to Germany, because you're you're married to a German, essentially. So that that's, uh, that side of things. Yeah.

Antoinette  19:16  
Yeah, yeah. And I think even more so now. This is kind of skipping forward a lot. I am much more integrated now than I was back then. Yeah.


Shaun B  19:25  
How long do you think it took you to feel comfortable? Like you said, when you started meeting those people and going to German school, how long did that take?

Antoinette  19:33  
Yeah, I think it took me a good couple of years. And I think I realized that I was Germany was really it had really grown on me when I went back to New Zealand, maybe for the second time, I think had been back a couple of times and a few years to New Zealand just for holiday. And I realized that I was experiencing removes cold shock when I was in New Zealand and there were things that you started to annoy me and just little quirks and just little things about New Zealand was like, Why? Why do they have to be so fake? Or why did they just get to the point and just little things like that. And I was like, and I was missing Germany and I was actually really looking forward to going back to today.

Shaun B  20:19  
It's amazing when you have that feeling of of a weight that's home now that, like, this is where my previous home was now, but I'm wanting to go back to Germany. And that's it's feeling like going

Antoinette  20:30  
Yes, it was it was quite comforting feeling actually, to be honest. Yeah. It was really reassuring for me. And I just, yeah, that was a really weird realization, actually.

Shaun B  20:42  
And how is your German? Would you say you're pretty fluent now?

Antoinette  20:46  
Um, I,

Shaun B  20:48  

Antoinette  20:49  
you know, that's always a tough question. Because you don't want to. I've still got a long way to go. But I'm, my German is okay. Like, it's, it's not bad at all. And I hear it every day, my children are speaking German with my husband constantly. I'm, you know, interact interacting with people in Germany every single day. And I've made German friends. And still I would say, of course, English is my language.

Shaun B  21:16  
Yeah. That

Antoinette  21:18  
over the it hasn't been easy. For me learning German, it didn't come naturally to me at all. I'd have to really work at it. That I don't know. You'd have to I guess ask my husband. Because I feel and I don't know your way to answering it.

Shaun B  21:33  
Yeah. You mentioned your children. So you said at the beginning that you've got two children, and you've got a third one on the way. Congratulations.

Antoinette  21:41  
Yes. Yes. Thank you. Thank you.

Shaun B  21:44  
So you mentioned that they are talking German. So how have you handled that, that they were all born in Germany, obviously.

Antoinette  21:50  
Yes. Yeah.

Shaun B  21:51  
And how does that bilingualism thing work.

Antoinette  21:54  
Um, we were raising our children using the one parent one language method, which is basically my husband speaks his mother tongue German. And his first language was polish, but he's lived in Germany, since he was a child. So Germany has become as mother tongue. He thinks he reads he, you know, yeah, just just German. And I just speak to them in English. And I always had, and it made complete sense at the beginning, because Emilia is coming of age. And so my level of German was not good at all. When she was born. Yeah. And it just was the most natural thing for us to do this. And I'm so pleased we we did it. Yeah. Because this I always communicate with my children in English always has always will. I know a lot of people try and say to me that when they start school, and when they get older, they won't want to speak to me and English, but I can't I can't imagine. Okay, how to mention it at all. Yeah. And yeah, they're doing really well with both languages. I would say my little boy, who's four he would probably English would probably be a stronger language. He was a I've been at home with the kids like up being a stay at home mom. So he's had a lot of English input from me. And from friends of mine and, and Emilia. I'm not saying her English isn't good. But I think German would be the language she probably dreams and right. You know, I think Germany would be Spanish German would be a slightly stronger language because she's at school, and I think she gets a lot more German input. But still, I think English is great. Yeah.

Shaun B  23:41  
Is there anything that you would do differently with number three?

Antoinette  23:44  
No. Okay. I'm happy with how things have worked out. Okay. So I'm probably not, I'm just noticing emilian gravitating a little bit more towards German, but I think that's only natural. I don't know.

Shaun B  23:55  
I think so, too. So

Antoinette  23:56  
yeah, it'll be interesting with it, dude. Yes. All children so different anyway. So. Yeah.

Shaun B  24:04  
So you said Amelia, she's eight years old. That means you were still very fresh in Germany when you had your first child. What was what was that?

Antoinette  24:15  
It was great. I have great memories of time. Essentially, that's another story altogether, which I recently I did make her YouTube video on it. But um, it was an interesting time because my husband was going through a career change. And so we were just do broke. We had no money at the time. He was originally mechatronic. So he was an electrical mechanic and he was working for for your company and working with fiberglass and just not enjoying it wasn't very well paced. And he decided that he wanted to do get into winemaking and viticulture. Oh, and so yeah, and that's what he'd done elsewhere wrong. Like he didn't go to university but he did a full time elsewhere. Wrong. Yeah, so he basically went from working full time and a full time job. I was a stay at home mom at the time and went to doing this episode where you get paid nothing like this. Like, it's absolutely ridiculous how much I just can't believe that we got through those years on the amount of money that he was getting. And he started a little business, delivering fresh bread in the mornings, to people's homes to get a little bit of extra money. And we were struggling a lot. And it went on for three years or something. But anyway, um, it was it was fun. It was great times like, we were poor, but we were happy. It was great. In my in laws living close by my mom came to visit and hit Amelia and the little baby carrier with me everywhere and just simple. Great times.

Shaun B  25:51  
Yeah. Yeah, those times end up feeling like somewhat of an adventure. Sometimes when you're going through those difficult whether it's financial stages or something. It's it can be pretty challenging at the time, but at the same time, it's it's it's a great adventure, especially when you come out and look back on it afterwards.

Antoinette  26:06  
And hindsight for sure. I would have speaking so positively about it at the time, but now we sort of out of it. I can like sort of joke about it. And but yeah, definitely like to see it. At the time, maybe not so great. There were a lot of struggles being a new mom, I struggled more actually when the second child came along. Yeah, I found the jump between from one to two are quite challenging.

Shaun B  26:33  
Mm hmm. Yeah. You have just also now built a house in Germany. So I've got Yes. So I saw a video where you showed the interior. It looks beautiful. It's absolutely beautiful house. So thank you. I have several questions for you. Because first of all, you decided to build a house? First of all, what were your reasons? If you don't mind me asking?

Antoinette  26:56  
I think it just sort of made sense for us. The amount of rent we're paying was Yeah, yeah, I think in New Zealand, we have more of a most people own their own homes. And it's not so much everything here in Germany actually know it a lot less people own their own homes or build. But we we just I guess we decided that we my husband worked it all out. And we worked out if we could save enough for a deposit, then, um, it just made sense for us. Because then, you know, okay, paying off the mortgage was less than the internet type of thing. So we thought, why not go for that? Yeah. We looked at the news for something like just to buy and nothing was coming up. It's quite a tough market at the moment. And you have to know a lot of people and word of mouth and that type of thing. And we just none, nothing came up for us. So we decided to build.

Shaun B  27:56  
Yeah, so my question is, because I've heard from people that that can be a stressful decision, or stressful time wasn't? Yeah. Oh, yeah. I was gonna say

Antoinette  28:07  
absolutely horrific. Like I I think we had a pretty good marriage. But that was that tested us.

Shaun B  28:15  
Mm hmm.

Antoinette  28:16  
so sure. It's all good now.

Yeah. It was rough. So it was

Shaun B  28:23  
it was what was what was the things that make it rough? Is it that it's things are running late, or things start going above budget? Or?

Antoinette  28:31  
I think the first thing was that our our building company filed for bankruptcy, bankruptcy? No. So we had, it took us months and months to plan we hit with an architect planning everything out. And right before they were about to lay the foundation, they sent us an email, saying sorry, this company does not exist anymore. We you know, we filed for bankruptcy, nothing we could do. So we lost a bit of money. It was nothing dramatic, that a lot. We lost a lot of time. And also we were still paying up paying rent. And the house we were living in and it was just to be honest, as firstworldproblems You know, I think a lot of people have gone through a lot more stressful things. But for us it was it was it was not nice. And so we hit to start from from the beginning again and find another building company works. The second building company weren't that great either. You know, they make all these promises to you and say everything's gonna be great. And it's all that last salesman, you know what I mean? So they basically trying to get as many people on board as possible. So they've got enough work lined up for the next few years. And then once they've got you locked in that just like do whatever they want with you.

Shaun B  29:50  
You know, there's no chance.

Antoinette  29:52  
Yeah, so definitely a teacher taught us patience, for sure. And it was it was just very frustrating. And it took us Probably two years from the time when we bought the land until our house was out. So Wow.

Shaun B  30:07  
Yeah, that's a long time. But it must. It must be a great feeling when you're finally in there and living in the house and

Antoinette  30:13  
Oh, yeah. Now Yeah, yeah. But my husband it was he had to organize a lot because just sort of business German, it's not really my I'm not my German is not at that level. I just can't decipher, you know, German paperwork. You know what it's like that when you're building a house, that's just that's extreme. And my husband had all of that on his shoulders working full time. And he got very stressed. It was it affected him. His health, like and he's only just kind of coming right after it. It was like a it was a shock to the system. Yeah.

Shaun B  30:51  
Yeah, I can't imagine it is. We We also bought a house and just that aspect was difficult enough like figuring out what the contracts how the contracts work, how the different works. It's just I mean it but it's nothing it's a drop in the ocean to what what you guys have gone through and building and that's also we briefly considered as well but but with us being to non Germans we just decided like you said my my business German is no good call. This is kind of cynical and dark. But somebody was gave us the advice that you can get these houses that couples have built for cheap, because during the process, they ended up getting divorced, and they need to get rid of the house. It is a terrible thing. But yeah.

Antoinette  31:37  
And do not sometimes it goes beautiful runs beautifully. And we just had bad luck, I think.

Shaun B  31:45  
Yeah. So now you are a YouTube youtuber and turn it Emily is the name of your YouTube channel. And it is it is yeah, it is grown. It has grown over time. I think the last time I looked there was something like 50,000 or 55,000 subscribers. I'm not sure where it

Antoinette  32:02  
is around 55,000 subscribers. It's growing isn't growing super quickly. But it's okay. steadily growing. Yeah. Over the years. Yeah.

Shaun B  32:11  
So why did you start the channel in the first place where and at what point did you start it in your in your time?

Antoinette  32:18  
There also was kind of something that happens accidentally in a way with Amelia was around, I think she would have been a Beth was she for? I just had always loved you too. I was just somebody that watched YouTube. And I started my channel is something completely different to what it what it is now what it has developed into. I started out as a craft channel wasn't my, my artsy background. Yeah. And I thought, you know, I'm an art teacher, and I've got from a stay at home, I was a stay at home mom. And I thought I could kind of combine that. And I did little tutorials that kids art and craft tutorials. And they were really cool. Like I had fun doing it. But they weren't getting a lot of views. I put in a lot of work. And then one day I made a video talking about weird things that they do in Germany, randomly, I just thought I'm just gonna try something different because I'm putting so much effort into these videos. And I'm getting like 50 views or something like that. And it was just it just didn't seem worth it. I was just doing it as a hobby. And this video kind of took off. I think I got 20,000 views in the first week. Wow. And the views just kept going up. And it was basically me talking about things that I found a little bit unusual. When I first came to Germany. It's a New Zealander. And people seem to really love, enjoy it. And I noticed that a lot of Germans are watching and commenting. And they were really cool about it. Like they were laughing with me. And they were I had some that were like, you know, just didn't approve of, of course saying anything to get over that Germany and a light and a light hearted sort of some way I wasn't. I don't think it was very offensive. And then I thought, well, this is great. I didn't need my channel wasn't even monetized at the time. And then I decided to just keep going with the German theme. So I think I did like its pet tag, which was going around for pets and I kept getting quite good views on these types of videos. And I realized these like a bit of an audience for this and just happen from a lot out of nowhere. And my channel started to slowly grow and then I i monetize my channel and I started getting a little bit of ad revenue and just keep going with it. Um, yeah, so it just happened out of nowhere, really, and I enjoyed making the videos because I think when I first came to Germany, I was like so desperately trying to look for people that I could relate to They will also expects and that I could connect with and it was really hard to find people online. There was not really any youtubers doing that kind of thing. And so I just talked about all of my, the joys and frustrations of life in Germany and Germans like to listen to it. And like to learn a little bit about their culture through my videos. And then there was expats who could relate to my experiences. So yeah, and I I didn't even know that there were YouTubers that did this and told that you get when you start making this type of content, you get recommended other videos. Yes. So it's put me in touch with some like Haley. Alexis, I don't know if you watch her videos. I do. Yeah.

Shaun B  35:43  

Antoinette  35:44  
you're we became friends through there.

Shaun B  35:46  
I saw you went to the Oktoberfest together.

Antoinette  35:48  
We did. Yeah. And she's just so cool. She's a very lovely person in real life. Like, not saying she's not in her videos, but she's married down to. So yes, the United States. Actually, a lot of people are doing this, except in Italy, and Spain. And there's a lot of people out there doing this kind of thing, too.

Shaun B  36:10  
Yeah. So that's pretty good. So you'd say that it's changed your life making these videos because you're still doing it?

Antoinette  36:16  
I'm still doing it. Yeah. I think when I hit about 11,000 subscribers, I had companies that said reaching out to me, which was crazy. And then yeah, it just continued. And I was able to get a couple of one or two sponsorships a month and you get a little bit of ad revenue. No, it's nothing to make you rich or anything but it's allowed me to be able to earn a little bit of an income.

Shaun B  36:46  
Yeah, and keep doing it.

Antoinette  36:48  
And keep doing it. And it's found I really enjoy it.

Shaun B  36:52  
So you you mentioned that way back you studied arts and graphic design I think you said and then you started you started your channel initially as some kind of arts and crafts thing for kids. So obviously you were you were looking like you said for connection to people but I guess you were also looking for an expression of your creativity or that artistic side of yourself. And have you found that

Antoinette  37:18  
Yeah, I did in some way as well. I'm not the greatest video editor or anything like that but it's something I'd like to explore and get more into and I find it I like telling stories and I like to it's get really I really enjoy it it's it is definitely a creative outlet and a way for me

Shaun B  37:40  
Yeah, so that is entering it Emily and people can find out put it in the link in the show notes for the three people who don't know who you are or what your channel so at the end of my interviews, I usually ask my guests what what is the one bit of advice the biggest bit of advice that you can give to foreigners who are looking at coming to Germany

Antoinette  38:03  
be open to the language be open to the culture and I have a feeling that Germany major scrolling you

Shaun B  38:11  
Yeah, it does grow

Antoinette  38:13  
it does Yeah, well did you find it as well?

Shaun B  38:16  
Almost exactly how you described it there was the honeymoon phase where you get your and everything's amazing and everything's fantastic and it's still new and it's an adventure and then after about four to five months or six months you you hit that brick wall where you think what's wrong with these people? What what is what is wrong while they're so analytical Why are they so unfriendly Why are they so cold and and then it and I think for you I can imagine coming in winter is particularly challenging because as nice as winter could be for someone who doesn't hadn't hadn't experienced it like for us as well like in South Africa. We don't have much of that kind of winter. But yeah, it's also a very dull gray drab time and it kind of adds to that feeling of isolation and depression

Antoinette  39:03  
once the Christmas markets are over Yes. And that's when it really kicks in. You know, it's

Shaun B  39:10  
February is always a nightmare. Yeah, definitely. Yeah.

Antoinette  39:15  
One two drinks on a lost Yeah, I struggled with the winters I have to say that was a beautiful day in between seasons a beautiful here. Yeah,

Shaun B  39:23  
something I wanted to ask you earlier, but I didn't. I didn't get to it with when we were recording this interview. Now. It's currently locked down lightened as a whole Coronavirus situation going on. You mentioned earlier on that your mum would I think you said your mom would come and visit you quite regularly quite often. Has this impacted her travels to Germany have you?

Antoinette  39:45  
Yes, definitely.

Shaun B  39:47  
So it's been a while since you've seen family.

Antoinette  39:49  
I haven't been a year since I saw my mom. So before all of this madness happen she was here for she saw the house getting put up our house. It was like a well over a year ago actually. But she was planning on coming back when the baby was born. And I just don't know what's going to happen because in New Zealand they have very, very strict quarantine rules where you have to isolate and hotels for weeks and it's very expensive on top of the expensive plane ticket and I don't know when things are going to get back to normal. Like he says, solid people are in a similar situation. So I just I, I need to focus on the positives otherwise drives me crazy. I'll just lose the plot.

Shaun B  40:39  
It is it is hard. Yeah, it is hard. My daughter is one year old and my my dad in South Africa still hasn't met her yet. And that's and that's that's heartbreaking. Because the it wouldn't be so heartbreaking if I knew Okay, March next year, we'll be traveling and so it's something to look forward to but at this point, you just don't know like how long is my dad not gonna see his other grandchildren and also not not meet his youngest grandchild? It's just it's absolutely heartbreaking.

Antoinette  41:07  
It's really heartbreaking. Yeah, I think this is expects it gets us through knowing the next time we're going to see you know, making plans to visit our country or knowing that somebody is going to come and visit us and that kind of having those little things to be excited about gets it gets you through it and not not unknown and it's really tough. Also something that helps me is knowing this other experts gone through exactly the same thing with yourself.

Shaun B  41:36  
Yes, yeah. It's it's important to connect to those people and talk to them about that as well because it's it's friends have six bad friends. That's also some advice.

Shaun B  41:47  
It's exactly I'm 100% on board with that hundred percent onboard internet. I think we'll wrap it up there and and finish up. I want to thank you again for taking the time out of your schedule to come on your podcast.

Antoinette  42:00  
Thank you so much for taking your time to interview me and it was great.

Shaun B  42:05  
Thank you for listening back next week with a new episode. And of course as always, music in this episode by my band 10s and Janes additional music by Ryan Anderson until the end, stay healthy out there. Hopefully doing

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