Dec. 13, 2020

Learning assertiveness from Germans, and growing to love a city (Jenna from Canada)

Learning assertiveness from Germans, and growing to love a city (Jenna from Canada)

Jenna is from Canada who is living in Düsseldorf. She is the creator of Life in Duesseldorf, has just started the Life in Germany YouTube channel. We discuss why she moved to Germany, her recent bout of COVID-19, and why she loves German barbecue culture.

Jenna on Instagram: @lifeindus

Nicole of The Expat Cast and I are going head-to-head to raise money for Über den Tellerrand - in specific, we're supporting a project of theirs to build a mobile kitchen. To find out more and to donate, visit our SEGEPADFO page:

Be sure to type "The Germany Experience" in the public comments field when you donate so that we know which show you're donating on behalf of!

At the beginning of the drive, Nicole challenged me to write a jingle for SEGEPADFO. Then I counter-challenged her to sing backing vocals on it. Listen to the episode to hear the result :)



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The Germany Experience website

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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. 

Jenna  0:00  
You notice the Germans really like take a stand and, and speak up on behalf of them or their family. And so now I really feel like if somebody accuses me of something I didn't do, or they do something mean to me, I could stand up for myself and say, you know, excuse me.

Shaun B  0:22  
It's the Germany experience the podcast about life in Germany, as seen through the eyes of outsiders and visit my website, the Germany experience dot d for more information to get in touch, and more. And I'm your host Sean, welcome to the show. My guest this week is Jenna from Canada who recently started her own YouTube channel. So we're going to talk a bit about her experiences, and why she's in Germany. But before we get that, I have to talk about the segi pedco charity challenge. As you know, Nicole of the expert cost is my rival, she's just my nemesis. She's a podcaster. In Germany, I'm a podcaster in Germany. In all honesty, that's all we need to be rivals. We're just that's the way it is. So every year of course, we have a charity challenge, where we compete with each other to see who can raise the most money for charity. Now, the charity this year is Uber intelligent, and they promote diversity and integration by organizing events with Germans and migrants that are based around food. They cook food from each other's cultures, talk to each other and work to break down stereotypes that we might have of other cultures. And we're supporting a project of the Freiburg branch to build a mobile kitchen. The charity drive is segi padfoot, which stands for the second ever Germany expert podcast is Advent donations, faceoff and that was coined last year by Nicole when we had the Figgy pedco, which was the first ever one of those. Now, as part of our competition, Nicole challenged me to write and record a jingle for segi pedco which I did, I've done it but then I counted challenged her to sing backing vocals on the jingle and guess what the challenge is completed on both sides. This is the segi pedco jingle written and recorded by me and with backing vocals by Nicole

which means giving

it's the Germany expand expand

the second expansion podcast donation base it's saggy

so there it is. There's the jingle I would love to know what you think please get in touch at the Germany experience dot d Ford slash Contact or email me at info at the Germany experience dot d It was a jingle that I wanted to be a little Christmassy and also a little jingle and I hope that we we accomplished it. And the most important thing is that we had fun doing it and I think Nicole did a great job on the backing vocals. So here's the deal with segi pedco there is only 10 days left because it ends on the 24th of December and is today that when this episode is going out it's the 14th of December so we don't have much time and now is the part of the charity challenge where we kick things into high gear and we get as many donations as we can in the end sport as the Germans like to say the the end rare what I don't know I don't even know if there's I don't even know what the English word for that would be the the last stretch of the race the sport sounds so much better. Now you have to donate for information on the charity and instructions on how to donate go to the Germany experience dot d forward slash charity 2020 that's the Germany experience dot d forward slash charity 2020. And when you donate, right the Germany experience in the public comments field so we know that you're donating on behalf of this podcast. Now in her latest segi padfoot update over at the xpac cost. Nicole does some trash talk now if you remember from last year, those listeners who were around back then you might know that Nicole's trash talk game is not exactly on point. In fact, it's a little it's a little out there. And that is I don't know you will. When you hear it, go and listen to that update episode of Nicole's in the expert cost feeds. I will put the link in the show notes you have to listen to it. She has some interesting things to say and I will be on answering that trash talk this week on Instagram. So follow my Instagram the Germany experience on Instagram to hear my reply to Nicole's trash talk, which includes comments about About the shape of my head by the way, so apparently, all bets are off. And this is the ugly part of siggy pedco. Now we're into the ugly stretch forget the inch board. This is the ugly stretch where we get we will get nasty apparently. So, yeah, go and listen to that update. And also this week, I will be posting the video of the bloopers we made while recording the ciggy pet video promo. So follow me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to see that and the reason I'm posting it is because we said if we got to 200 euros total donations between both Nicole and me, we post the bloopers so they're getting posted because you deserved it if you haven't donated get donating. So you're in Germany Of course this week we will be entering a another hard lockdown and they're closing the stores and it's brutal. It's it really feels like the final knockout blow from 2020. Just when things were looking up and things were looking positive. And it's just not it's just not a great feeling, basically, but I just want to say there is some positivity out there. There's there's good things coming in 2021 I think that we this has been such a bad year. This is just the last part of it. And hopefully, next year we can get past this thing and move on to better and happier times. So yeah, Coronavirus is not going away just yet, not just yet. Now speaking of Coronavirus, Google Trends releases their year in search statistics every year, and basically just shows you what the top searches of the year were in different categories. And the one for Germany is incredible because as you would expect the top general search that was done in Germany during 2020 was for Coronavirus. That's number one. So of course you would expect that right? And of course the other ones are us fall which is the US elections wirecard there was a big wire card scandal earlier this year. Beyond tech octi is beyond tech. Of course they making one of the Vex vaccines for COVID-19 and actaea stocks so people are very interested in the stocks of this company. But my favorite is so that of the top five number three top German search of 2020 Veta Morgan or translates to weather tomorrow. It just it just amazed This is the top five number one Coronavirus number two us Val number three Veta Morgan and before wirecard number five be on tick it just kind of slipped in there the weather tomorrow though Germans are very very keen on the weather. So go have a look at that. I'll post the link in my show notes. But another thing that made me laugh out loud when I read it was the vortrag the war the were questions and there I'll just read the top five right so voice there or con yet where's the hurricane now? We had some bad weather this year. So I guess people were concerned about weather when the hurricane was vorfeld Morgan de Shula house. So where are the schools closed tomorrow? So that's Coronavirus related. And then and number three vollkommen Anan moonshots here. Where do I get a mouth? mask? Basically? Number Four volete hanau. Where is he now and that is also related to news happenings that happened this year. But number five is the best of all of these wallflower. Number five, warned Donald Duck. What Germans.

They're so concerned about these other things like hurricanes and schools being closed. And where's Hannah? Because of all these terrible things that happen there. And where does Donald Duck live? These are the big questions that Germany is asking, what is the weather tomorrow? And where does Donald Duck live? Germany I love you so much. All right on to my guest this week. And it's my last guest for 2020. And she's from Canada. Her name is Jenna. And she's just started her own YouTube channel a few months ago. We'd actually planned to talk a few weeks earlier, but she got COVID-19. And we had to delay our interview. We of course in our discussion, talk about her COVID-19 experience. We discuss why she's in Germany, and she explains why she loves German barbecue culture. Here is Jenna from Canada.

This is actually an interview that is about I would say about a year and a bit in the making, because I first emailed you in the middle of 2019 I think it was and then you said you would like you'd love to do it. But you had to go back to Canada, which is where you're from? Because you just had a baby, right?

Jenna  9:39  
Yeah. Wow. Time flies.

Shaun B  9:41  
Yeah. So you were on maternity leave, I think back home in Canada. And then after that you return and we finally getting to have the discussion. We started talking about last last year, and I looked through the emails and do you know how many emails we've sent to each other since we first make contact.

Jenna  9:58  
I haven't counted but two I want to know.

Shaun B  10:02  
Yeah, it's it's around 30, around 30 emails. But yeah, that's just kind of the scene, just a peek behind the scenes for the listeners of how these things can be to organize and set up. And I always appreciate my guests time as well for going through all the the emailing processes and discussing the details and so on. But yeah, and we were supposed to meet a few weeks ago, but you kind of had circumstances that didn't quite allow it.

Jenna  10:31  
No, sadly, not. I had actually lost my voice in the process of catching COVID. So

Shaun B  10:38  
yeah, it's all the rage. I've read this whole COVID thing.

Jenna  10:41  
Oh, hi. No, and it was just a matter of time. I mean, my my husband works in the medical field. So for us, it was a matter of it was more of a question of when as to if we were actually going to catch it.

Shaun B  10:53  
Wow, that makes that that is that is kind of scary. So you just kind of assumed What does he do in the medical profession?

Jenna  10:58  
He is a dentist. So I mean, every day you say, there's so many doctors working, but as a dentist, you're working in people's mouths, right? And you're getting it back, though.

Shaun B  11:12  
Like you said, it's only a matter of time. But that must have been pretty scary when you found out that he was infected.

Jenna  11:20  
Yes, I think at the beginning to be honest, I guess like after now that we've recovered from it, and we've kind of taken that gone through the entire process, I have to be honest, and say that I'm not as scared. Now, as I was previously, I knew that it doesn't impact each and every person in the exact same way. And I had hoped that we would get mild cases and my husband had a much milder, milder case than I did myself. However, now I think I just, I guess, I almost understand it a little bit more understand how you catch it. And I think we all have these crazy thoughts running around in our minds. And sometimes we just make ourselves a little bit too crazy. So actually, after having had it, I feel like I've just brought myself back down to reality and realize, okay, you know, it's, it's here, and we do have to be careful and not really let it impact my day to day life like I did before actually got it.

Shaun B  12:17  
Oh, that's interesting that you that you would have that sort of change of mindset after actually contracting it. Right.

Jenna  12:22  
Mm hmm. And I think you also have to compare your mental state to right. And I think for me, it real, I realized after being in quarantine for almost a month long, you really have to calm yourself down and tell yourself what's more important. And I mean, it's easy to say we're gonna stay indoors all day, every day. But here in Germany, there are so many amazing opportunities to go out and explore the nature that I've kind of been able to better realize what's important for me. And yes, I have to be careful for my family and my friends. But I also need to also figure out what's important for me as getting fresh air perhaps or letting my child run around in a Greenfield?

Shaun B  13:01  
Yeah, yeah. And it's, it's, it's always tricky, because of course, the thing that's also in on people's minds is that of probably for younger people like us, we will just contract it either have no symptoms, or have a mild case, like you guys did. And the fear is always spreading it to people who are vulnerable and whatever else, because no one wants to be responsible for that. But, but like you say, it's easy to let the fear and the the, I don't know what the it's already a weird mindset that we have. And then you have that added layer of fear every day. It's it's not a good state of being to be in.

Jenna  13:38  
No, absolutely not. I think everybody needs to figure it out for themselves, really, and figure out what's really best for them, and how they can make sure that this doesn't really take over their lives. And whether that's the anxiety or the fear speaking, it's, it's so important to make sure that you're focusing on yourself and your health.

Shaun B  13:57  
Yeah. Well, you are also the first guest that ever canceled on me because of COVID-19. That is

Jenna  14:03  
very valid. Right.

Shaun B  14:08  
Yeah. So Wow, I'm so glad that you guys got better and healed up is your is your husband back working again?

Jenna  14:14  
He is back working? Yes. We both still have, I guess leftover symptoms, if you want to call it that. But we're on the on the verge of being entirely completely better.

Shaun B  14:25  
And what are those symptoms that hang around?

Jenna  14:28  
It would definitely be the cough and the lack of scent and taste. So I still can't smell I still can't taste. It's been a few days now since I've been able to leave the house, and then that cough that just lingers as well. And it's not a contagious cough. It's just simply it kind of just lasts and it's almost like when you're running outside in the winter and you get out of breath and then you go inside to somewhere warm and you just have to kind of cough a little bit and this is what still lingers for me.

Shaun B  14:59  
Wow. So you It that is very interesting. That's the taste and the smell thing is something I've heard from a lot of people and it's it's quite interesting that that's a side effect that's that stays for such a long time. Yeah, it's

Jenna  15:09  
annoying, but I mean, manageable right at least for healthy.

Shaun B  15:13  
Yeah, exactly. small, small problems. But we didn't i didn't invite you on the show to talk about Coronavirus. I just thought it was a an interesting opportunity. And you you've also because something we haven't mentioned yet is you're a YouTuber now. And you're you made a YouTube video about your experiences with COVID-19. So if anyone wants to find out more about that, first of all, subscribe to your channel, which is life in Germany. I'll link to it in the show notes as well. And people can find it really easy. And you've just made a COVID-19 a video about your COVID-19 experience over there, but maybe give me some give me some idea of your background of where you're from and and how you ended up in Germany.

Jenna  15:49  
Well, oh, where to start back in 2012. I was working full time in a job in marketing. Back in Toronto, Ontario. I was actually born in a small town outside of Toronto called Oakville, Ontario. And I was about one year away from finishing my university studies. And I decided that I wanted to take a big trip to South Africa. This was my very first login experience. I actually started out Yeah, as a travel blogger as a travel writer. And my partnership was with hustling international in South Africa. So I was required to head on over there for one and a half months, and basically write about my whole journey at every single hospital from the north down to the south. So from Joburg all the way down to Cape Town. It was amazing. Yeah, it was an incredible experience. I guess. Long story short, I ended up meeting my husband there. So we did a two year long distance relationship. He was German or is German. And I was Canadian. So we did that long distance. I moved to Thailand for a stint. I moved to India first and and then finally, he convinced me to move to Germany. Wow. So

Shaun B  16:59  
first of all, I had no idea. I don't think I had an idea about the South African connection for you. What was your time like in South Africa? Other than the fact that you met the love of your life?

Jenna  17:08  
Yeah, I think I'm a little bit biased now. I mean, that entire trip. It did not. It not only allowed me to meet my husband now but it also allowed me to kickstart basically my career working as a freelancer and an entrepreneur working for myself, which has entirely changed my life. So


I mean, separating the two parts that travel there was also absolutely incredible. I have to say the people there were amazing and the sights there were just Oh, yeah, amazing.

Shaun B  17:38  
Yeah, so you so you had two years of long distance. That must have been pretty tough on you guys.

Jenna  17:45  
So yes, I mean, that's pretty much where you were you realize is it worth it? Or is it not worth it? Right? And I have to be honest, after two years, I realized you know what, this isn't working for me I could never imagine moving to Germany let alone learning an entirely new language I thought I'm never going to find a job in marketing and in all honesty, I didn't until we started living in Freiburg and in Freiburg. The opportunities there for English speakers are quite slim to none. And so when I first thought about it, I just thought, you know, it's not an option for me. And he originally said, I will move to Canada and be a garbage man, you know, toilet if I need to. I want to be

Shaun B  18:26  
that I'm sorry, Jenna, that is romance. I will be a garbage man for you that should be on a postcard or like one of those Hallmark cards somewhere.

Jenna  18:35  
However, he did not follow through.

Shaun B  18:39  
Well, that's the point. They don't put on Hallmark Hallmark cards anyway. Okay, so So how did that work? Then? What what triggered the move to Germany in the end?

Jenna  18:48  
Oh, it was and I've said it before. And I'll say it again, it was my mother, because my mother was a single parent raising three children on very, very little money. And so she taught me how to be you know, this independent woman who, who didn't need help for many man and that I could do it all myself. And there was one day where I decided that, you know, we need to split up, this just wasn't gonna work. He was not going to move to Canada and give up his career as a dentist. And I was just not going to learn a brand new language and move to Germany and leave my whole life back in Canada. So I think we broke up for about two weeks. And that was the toughest two weeks ever. And when my mom came to me and said, You know what, this is different. And I've never said this, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think that you should give up your life and move to Germany for this man. Wow.

Shaun B  19:39  

Jenna  19:40  
Yeah. selling point there.

Shaun B  19:42  
Yeah, that's, that's pretty huge. So then, so then you kind of called him up and said, Okay, let's do it. Or how did that how did that how did those those planning stages look? Yeah,

Jenna  19:52  
baby steps. I think everybody also needs to do that as well. Right. I told myself, you know what, I'm going to quit my job and I'm going to come there and If I think back and it doesn't work well, all I did quit was my job. You know, I didn't give up my life or my friends or my family or anything. So I would go there for a few months, see how it worked, see if I would find a job and if I could succeed there if I could learn the language and basically just took it step by step by step, our initial decision was that we were going to wait until he finished his studies in Freiburg and then move to the UK so that I could get an English speaking job and we could essentially meet halfway. That didn't end up happening because of some family matters. His his pop up actually ended up passing away sadly. So we decided to move north to decider off and that was the big pushing decision to come up here.

Shaun B  20:41  
Okay to disel Dorf, which is interesting was what was the connection with Dusseldorf,

Jenna  20:46  
his entire family, it was a was from here, they originated from Berlin, they were all born there, but they moved over to Dusseldorf. So I have to be honest and say that when we were planning on coming to visit off, it was simply only for his family. I really, I had been here I had visited his family and I really, really didn't like it.

Shaun B  21:05  
We really didn't like what what Didn't you like about Dusseldorf?

Jenna  21:09  
I think when you first come here, you've got this, I guess, basic tourist understanding of what the city is like. And that's usually art and fashion, the art fashion capital of Germany. And that is not what I'm about whatsoever. You know, I love thrifting I love flea markets. I love hiking, I love nature. None of that screams Jenna. However, I mean, once you peel back the layers, of course, that's what got me interested. And that's what made me stay and actually end up falling in love with the city at the end.

Shaun B  21:42  
Yeah. So what was that first period of time, like? So you moved, you moved to Germany with the idea that you were going to give this relationship a chance you were giving up a career? What was that first period of time, like when you were confronted with the culture in all its glory?

Jenna  21:57  
I think I have to divide that into two different sections, basically. And I say that because when I first came here, I didn't entirely have the intention of living the rest of my life here. So when you first come and you think, Oh, this is going to be an amazing experience, you know, if we hate it, we could both move back to Canada or we could move to the UK. So when I first got started, I was so excited. You know, I did Oktoberfest and I did all of the big castles and I saw all these amazing, stereotypical German cobblestone streets and half timbered houses. And this was amazing, but it wasn't until I moved to Dusseldorf at a very terrible time might I add because I would not recommend any accent moving to Germany in January or February. Those are like the worst rainiest months.

Shaun B  22:42  
It is memory is I said it in a recent podcast episode as well talking about someone who arrived here in winter. That winter is as it is, it's it's in Germany can be a little bit get your butt down because it's it snows we just had snow recently where I am the past few days, which is wonderful because it's fresh snow. But after that it's just gray and dreary and short days and rain. And it's it's it can really get you down in February is the worst of it. So yeah, I that's interesting that it's come up again. And there you have it. Don't move to Germany in January or February. That's that's a big bit of advice. No. All right. So that was your experience,

Jenna  23:19  
it will that it will impact everything.

Shaun B  23:21  
Yeah. Okay, so the so that was the the initial thing was a bad time of the year to be there.

Jenna  23:27  
Yeah. And so the second part, basically, is that I mean, I moved here, in a very terrible period, I moved from the blackforest, where there's so much beauty and where so many tourists go to visit Germany, because it is so amazing, to a city, and then to actually realizing, Okay, you know what, this is my life and I actually have to settle down. So I actually have to find a better phone plan, and I have to buy insurance for myself and I have to get a proper job. And all of that is when it kind of just hit me. And that's when the culture shock started hitting me and everything really started to drag me down. And I think it's just a process that we all go through, you know, you have that stage of excitement. And then you have that stage of realizing, okay, this is my life now. And it does take time, and there are so many different steps that you need to take to relocate here that even perhaps your German husband isn't knowledgeable to let you know about or to warn you about certain things that you need to know before getting started.

Shaun B  24:24  
Oh, yeah, I think the Germans are oblivious to the whole process. They have no idea what what it actually takes to get settled in, in Germany.

Jenna  24:32  

Shaun B  24:34  
Did you have discussions or thoughts at the time like this is not gonna work out? Let's let's move.

Jenna  24:41  
Definitely. I think that's where the conversation of moving to the UK kept constantly coming up. And I don't know how or why I did it. But I just kept pushing through. And at some point, I realized, you know what, I'm not the only person who's going through this and I think as tough as it is to relocate to God It's probably not going to change anywhere else, you know, it's a little bit easier if you're able to do the process in English. But the relocation process, you're still going to go through all of those stages as you would in Germany, or perhaps the UK or wherever in the world, you relocate. So I just realized, you know, you can't just chickened out and run away, if you want this experience. And if you want to move to be with somebody who you love, then you're just going to have to do it. And that's when I realized that I wasn't alone. And although I could not find this content online, I was going to do that for myself. And I was going to share all of my experiences with my readers.

Shaun B  25:36  
Okay. And that's is that when you started life in Dusseldorf,

Jenna  25:41  
exactly, that's the whole basis behind the blog. And it was also a selfish creation, basically, because when I had questions, I knew I'm going to add it to the blog. So I'm going to contact whoever will help me answer this question. And ask them to write a English blog post about it on the site. So I wasn't actually creating the content at the beginning, because I wasn't the expert. It was the experts, the German experts who spoke English who would do it, and in turn, they generated tons of income, you know, freebie income from my website to help people better relocate.

Shaun B  26:16  
Yeah. And then with that website, it looks like it's grown into something quite substantial, right?

Jenna  26:21  
It really took off. And when we talked about me founding this travel, writing career, or this travel blog, I was making a decent income, usually through writing for other platforms, but never on my own website. So this is something that really shocked me when I realized, Oh, my God, you know, within one month, my readership on life and decided off was 10 times what it had ever been in the last five years on my travel blog, and I thought, why, you know, I thought I was writing this just for myself, and maybe, you know, 10 other people in the city. But it exploded, and then I created a course and helped them learn how to relocate to Dusseldorf. And then I had number of people contacting me saying, why don't you do this for Germany, you know, it's so difficult. And so that's where I am now is I've been built on the process created this YouTube channel is life in Germany, and also created the website life in Germany calm, which is then basically offering this entire course of not just the basics, you know, the visa requirements and moving to the city and getting your house in your apartment in your phone plan. But like, also like the nitty gritty information that nobody really tells you when you first get here. So

Shaun B  27:27  
and as I said, I'll put those links in the show notes. People can have a look at them and your, your YouTube channel as well, which is fairly new. You just started that fairly recently.

Jenna  27:37  
Yes. Just a few months ago.

Shaun B  27:38  
Yeah. Last year, you we mentioned, I think it was last year that you had the baby. Well, when did you have the

Jenna  27:47  
baby? Two years now to you was born September 2018. So yeah, just over two years, two years. And

Shaun B  27:53  
then last year, you were in Canada on maternity leave. So having spent How long? Have you been in Germany at that point? Four?

Jenna  28:02  
or five years? Okay, yeah, four and a half, five years.

Shaun B  28:07  
So you'd been in Germany for five years, and then decided to spend at least part of your maternity leave back in Canada. So you went back with the child? So I'm interested. After five years, I'd assume you were feeling fairly at home here in Germany, you'd already decided this is a place that you're going to be long term. When you went back to Canada, what was that like for you?

Jenna  28:27  
Exciting, amazing, and stressful all at the same time. I mean, you go back, and you realize that as much as it's still home, when you go to your parents house, it's not your home, you know, especially when you have a child because then your home becomes something so much more important than just a space. It's like, where they grow up, you know, where all of their memories happen. So going back home was so exciting to so that my entire family could then meet my son, but then also feel a little bit lost almost like somewhere in the middle between I'm not German, but I'm not Canadian, either.

Shaun B  29:02  
Yeah. So you could perhaps say that you had some reverse culture shock when you in back or there was there wasn't any kind of thoughts where you thought, Wow, it would be it would actually be good to live in Canada?

Jenna  29:14  
Yes, and no. So I mean, at the end of the day, it makes a lot more sense to stay in Germany. And I say that because there's just so many added benefits to having and raising a family here in Germany, you know, you've got free education. And the support that you get from the German government is just incredible. I've never had a child in Canada. So it's not easy to compare, but from what I know, through my friends and my family, I think that Germany is just such a special place to raise a family and that I should be honored to be here and I am honored to be here. But then you've always also got that feeling of we're in Germany and my entire family who is very loving very good with kids and who misses their grandson and their nephew so badly, that it breaks my heart knowing that we're living here in Germany, and they're all Back home. So, yeah, it's it's tough. But I think we all go through that when we move to Germany and then go back home and then come back again to Germany, I think you've really the missing home, that feeling of missing home just like kind of blows up in your face when you arrive back.

Shaun B  30:19  
Yeah. So so it's definitely clear that Germany starts changing you, the longer that you are here, and the more integrated that you become, what do you think the way are some of the ways that that Germany changed you, I'd say

Jenna  30:33  
in the biggest aspect of my life, Germany has changed me. for the better, I would say that I stand up for myself a lot more than I used to in Canada. Back in Canada, we typically say sorry for everything, I'm sure you've heard of that before. Even when, like somebody bumps you, or like they spill their coffee on you, you turn around and say, Oh, my God, I'm so sorry. Like, I don't know why we do it. But we do. And so in certain situations where perhaps somebody yells at me here, for something that I didn't actually do, or that I wasn't at fault for, in Canada, you would just typically say, I'm so sorry, like, I didn't do that. But I'm sorry, anyway, and you'd back off. Whereas now that I've lived in Germany long enough for you notice the Germans really, like take a stand and, and speak up on behalf of them or their family. And so now I really feel like if somebody accuses me of something I didn't do, or they do something mean to me, I can stand up for myself and said, you know, excuse me?

It's a good feeling. Yeah. And what

Shaun B  31:39  
is your relationship with Germans themselves? Have you gotten gotten to understand them a bit better than when you arrived? or? Yeah, I

Jenna  31:48  
think that the biggest factor here is once you really start to learn a language, and not just being able to speak German, but being able to speak German in a conversation, and somewhat being able to let your own personality shine, and I still struggle with this, because of course, my German is not perfect, and my grammar is absolutely atrocious. But slowly and step by step, I can begin to let my personality shine. And I think that that helps a lot of the time when meeting Germans and when making friends, I still find it difficult. I have to be honest, I think it's just I've said this before, also in other videos, where it's kind of like peeling back the layers of like onion or garlic. You know, like, it takes a lot of time to make friends with somebody with a German. But I find that once you really get to the core, and you become friends with them, they're really friends for life. And I've I know that people have probably read and heard about this stereotype before, but it is very good. It

Shaun B  32:46  
Yeah, it's it's something that keeps coming up on this podcast, as well from a multitude of guests. Um, and another thing, just, I mean, it's a little off topic right now, but it's kind of to do with the German culture and the Germans is that I saw that you mentioned in one of your videos, that you love the German barbecue culture, which is usually which is interesting, because usually, this is one thing that people from their own cultures, they love the way that they do the barbecue. So So tell me what it is. That's a German barbecue culture that you?

Jenna  33:14  
Well, if we're comparing North American barbecue culture, we're talking like burgers, and hotdogs, right? Okay, so it's coming from somebody, I actually only chicken, I don't eat any other type of meat. So the barbecue culture back in Canada is pretty much non existent. For me, I don't really enjoy it. But it's not so much about the meat aspect of it here in Germany, it's more about when they decide to have barbecues, because I find now that my summers are so much more enjoyable here in Germany, because we pretty much have a barbecue every single day. And this differs from like groups of friends and groups of families, of course, and perhaps what city or what town you live in. But I think it's so cool that you know, Tuesday afternoon, you come home from work, and you've got this period of time where you're just like, let's go have a barbecue, you know, you go you have a barbecue anywhere people do it in the park here, they do it. If you don't have, or at least in the cities, I'm speaking in terms of Germany, there's not that much space, you don't have backyards and stuff. So whereas in Canada, you would just like turn on your gas barbeque here, they actually, you know, light the charcoal and take it to the park or take it to the beach or whatever. And it's just like, it's an entire experience within itself rather than let's just go make dinner. Yeah,

Shaun B  34:27  
yeah, it's, I must say, coming from South Africa, you would have noticed that the South Africans also love their barbecues, which they call briars in South Africa. And it's it's something that I can understand about the Germans as well. I really like I really like their approach to any reason for a barbecue and the way that doesn't even have to be that great. It's just, let's let's have a barbecue. So that's pretty cool. Yeah, so Jenna, what I ask the guests that come on my show at the end of our interview is what is the one big bit of advice that you can offer to other foreigners who are coming to Germany.

Jenna  35:05  
Well, I'll roll back to that point that we mentioned do not move here in January or February. I'm not kidding when I say this, like I've had my fair share, I talked to experts, not only in Dusseldorf, but from around Germany now. And from what I've seen, and from what I've experienced, there are so many of them, who basically give up halfway through their relocation process, because they just haven't been able to experience the best of Germany when they first got here. And I think, as important as it is to go through the entire relocation process of all your paperwork, and everything, it is just as important to make sure that you enjoy your life here in Germany before getting started. So if you can also like come over for a month beforehand, or don't start work right away, and really get to know Germany for what it is because there are so many travel opportunities here. You know, even in the middle of a pandemic, like there, there are so many places to see even in my own city or in your own town and 30 minutes drive, like for me, I drive 30 minutes, and I'm in the Netherlands I drive 40 minutes, and I'm in Belgium. And this goes for pretty much anywhere where you live in Germany, you know, we're surrounded by amazing, beautiful countries. And there's just so much to experience and so many beautiful little towns here and whatnot. So if you can get a little bit of that as a taste, then you can jump into your relocation process, get all that paperwork done, and really get a fresh, good, healthy start here in Germany, and then also look forward to Well, what else do I want to see here? You know, what else do I want? I'm serious. And a lot of expats and a lot of internationals. I mean, the whole reason at the beginning for starting life and decider was Yes, because I had troubles relocating here, because I just felt like I didn't have that support. And I also didn't have the money to you know, hire a relocation agent. However, the biggest part of creating this website was to actually promote other experts not to leave me, I made so many friends. So many friends at the beginning when I first got here, and almost all of them are gone. And it's not because Germany's a terrible country, it's the nature too much. It is it's the nature of relocating as an expert, it's, it's a huge process, regardless of where you go. But I basically wanted to create this website so that they saw, you know, it is an easy process, you just have to know exactly how to do it. And if nobody is going to be there holding your hands, you know, telling you all of these little tidbits of information, that that's hard. And so I would say before you come here and just make sure that you're ready and that you have a plan and that you don't just jump into it all at once. And I I guess this is why I why I created life in And why I created this welcome program is because there's other information like when you first move here, you know, you might jump on the first phone plan that you see because you don't know what else to do. Whereas you could go to like an auto shop across the street, perhaps and pay 40 euros for your phone plan. Whereas Did anybody tell you that you can actually pay 499 for a phone plan, you know what I mean, or like that you might get locked into church taxes if you don't know how to fill out your registration form properly, or like little tidbits of information like your electricity contract, if you just decide to let them like choose your electricity package for you, then you might get stuck in this like Limbo zone, which is like the most expensive electricity package that you could possibly have. There's so many ways to save money, and there's so many easier ways to get around things. There's like, you can file your taxes in English online, there's just so many ways to make it so much easier. And I think that people really need to make sure that they're well prepared before they get here and that they know exactly how to do everything and that they don't move here in the wintertime so that they can make the best of their experience from the get go.

Shaun B  38:46  
Yes. And if you if you do have to come in young winter time, be aware that you're not seeing an accurate representation of the country. Everyone is kind of a little gloomier the weather, there's not much to see and do and the weather is not that fun. It gets better a spring is incredible. In Germany, summer is amazing. But somebody just said surprise me. I was not aware that you could do your text returns in English,

Jenna  39:10  
right? I know. I think the website is called joy algo. Okay. And they do it. They do it all in English, they ask you all your quest, all the questions that you need. Do you have children, like do you own a property? Do you own this, that blah, blah, blah, you go through the whole process and they send it to the finance AMS to the tax office for you? And it's I think it's like 30 or 35 euros. So it's super cheap option and it's an English and we're I mean, we're recording this in December 2020. But you know, I think in three four months from now, there's so many other opportunities where you can do things in English here in Germany that it's getting easier and easier to relocate.

Shaun B  39:45  
Absolutely. Where can people find you online? Jenna,

Jenna  39:48  
over at life Indesit that's d u E. You know what the love and life in of course also over on YouTube and Facebook and Twitter, you name it. But I mean Google life and does it offer life in Germany and some stuff should pop?

Shaun B  40:03  
Alright, and of course the links in the show notes so you'll be able to click on and go directly there. Jenna, thank you for, for making the time to come on the podcast. It was a lot of fun talking to you.

Jenna  40:15  
Thanks so much for having me. I love talking about all of like, my history and my stories and everything and I hope that other experts could learn from it and also, yeah, have an amazing experience relocating to Germany.

Shaun B  40:27  
Okay, that is it for this week. Go donate in the name of the Germany experience at segi pedco The Germany experienced D Ford slash charity 2020. And you'll be you'll be doing a good thing. Yeah, it's time for as this as the jingle says it's time for forgiving. So let's give let's Donate. Thanks for listening music in this episode by my band 10 cent Jane's additional music by Ryan Anderson until the end. This is the end stay healthy out there.

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