I just can’t believe it when it comes up to my mind. I still remember the first day I came to this country as if it was yesterday. Every single detail of it from the moment I landed in Frankfurt, to how I managed to find a carpool with neither internet nor a phone until I made it to Ludwigsburg (near Stuttgart) the first time… 5 years later, here I am. I had the chance to live in many places across the country, yet settled down where it all started: Stuttgart.
5 years is really a long time when you spend them in a country which is so different from what I used to, as someone coming from North Africa. I started this journey alone in 2012, then again in 2013. When people ask me: “now you must have got used to the German way of living!”. I say: “hell no, and maybe it’s not something that I’d love to happen”. Let’s see if all those years changed me:
2012 is the year I remember the most. I came for 6 months to Germany for my Diploma Thesis. Thank God it was in Spring / Summer otherwise I would have never come again! Winter can hardly make a good first impression here… So anyway, it was warm and sunny most of the time and everything was new to me: new environment, new challenges, new language, new people, new life. So it was too short and soon for a potential cultural shock. I also spent there the first Ramadhan of my life away from the family, yet with another new family…
2013 was so different, after getting graduated in Tunisia, I came back months later. Not alone this time, rather for a new experience which was meant to be lived together: the GIZ exchange programme. We were like a big family. Spread all over Germany however with regular meet up’s each time in a new city. I spent this year discovering a city after another and a little bit of Europe. After one month in Munich we went up to the North West in Bonn for 2 months, then down South to the Black Forest, then closing up back to Stuttgart where I have been living ever since. A year full of action. No time for routine.
2014 was special with two big things: First I started my first job and started discovering what an adult life look like. I got to know what routine is and began to face the the real world. I was alone, far away from my world and trying to get used in a sustainable way to the local culture and country differences until I started to question my future in this part of the World… Then the second thing happened, I got married :-) and my wife saved me from the bad way I was about to take. That was when we both got the travel virus and started with Asia as a first experience.
2015 was a career cross-road year. The decision to leave my technical job as a Software Engineer only after 2 years of experience to throw myself in Sales was a hell of a move. I basically sacrified this year for my career major change with the great support of my beloved wife, with whom this wouldn’t have been possible. I survived. So we rewarded ourselves with a second journey in Asia. It was a special experience in Indonesia.
2016 was a year to remember for a lifetime. I had a dream. It had been haunting me and I had been working like a dog day and night to make it happen until I succeeded. After a first half year of a hard work and sacrifices. I made it to ensure my place in Rio 2016 Olympic Games! Not as an athlete of course but as a part of the organization committee. Those 2 months in Brazil changed a big part of me and I came back with a different soul and a newborn mindset.
2017 was the year where I decided to put more order in my life. It looked complicated, yet not that hard to do. My job was eating up too much of my time, mood and energy so I changed it for a more life-balanced one. This was the first step. Then I had much more free time to live, so I decided to spend it in things I love to do. I started 2 green tourism initiatives with the dream that someday they will get big and offer a change in this world: Tunisia Hidden Beauties and Tunisia Backpackers. My 2 babies which I believe in so much.
Well, that’s it…
Have I changed after all this? Hell yes. I can feel that I am different. Each one of us changes with time. Yet is the question: to what extend? Yes I’ve been living 5 years in Germany. I learned German, I knew about what hard work is. I taught myself discipline and time respect. But, gues what? I always get as upset as the first time when the cashier in the supermarket doesn’t smile back to me, or when I miss dynamic and open people spreading some positive vibes around. I am still not and won’t ever get used to a grey weather because I am genetically not meant to bare it for months. My mood is the weather. I will always get so uncomfortable each time when I hear discussions about rules and laws and even rules to discuss other rules… Thank God my genes are still the same, because I wanna keep them to live differently.