If you don’t already know, I’ve been waiting for many months to begin a new job. I first began searching back in February, and was offered a wonderful position a month later. It’s now mid-June, and I’m finally beginning to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel of the massive mound of paperwork.

Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that I now appreciate the difficulties foreigners go through to live and work in America. If you’re a third-party national living in Luxembourg (non-EU/EEA resident), then you’re basically on the very bottom rung of the professional ladder, unless you have a glowing CV with multiple degrees in hand; suffice it to say, I don’t have all that. So, for the past several years, I’ve spent my time volunteering and filling up my days wih hours of studying languages and various courses. It was nice, but it didn’t pay the bills…

So when I finally worked up the courage to begin the job search this year, I expected months and months of searching, with bleak results. Within a week of creating my LinkedIn, writing up a CV, and sending out applications, I just happened to find an English-speaking position that didn’t require a degree nor previous experience. I was surprised and ecstatic! After several long weeks of preparing for interviews, attending said interviews, and trying to manage the stress and anxiety, I made it and was actually offered a position!

This is no easy feat for foreigners in Europe, particularly Luxembourg. Even still, the novelty of it all wore off after the first few weeks of paperwork, running back and forth to different ministries, waiting (not so) patiently for this and that to go through, redoing any paperwork that was denied and having to resubmit it, etc… Finally, this week, I think I’m at the last of the paperwork. I’ve submitted my final application for a work visa, and now have a few more weeks of waiting before beginning the new job.

Obviously, a lot of work has gone into this, and I’m surprised and humbled that any company would go through so much just to hire me – someone with little to no experience, no degree, hardly bilingual… It’s really a once-in-lifetime shot for me. And maybe that’s contributed to my depressive mood lately. I’ve been asking myself if I’m really cut out for office life. Do I really want to spend 8 hours a day in an office, when at heart, I’m such an artistic, free-spirit type of person. Is it possible to find a balance of the two, in a country where excellence and stoic perfectionism are the means of success? It seems so….limited. Like caging a bird that’s meant to fly.

Maybe it’s only fear of the unknown, maybe I can find a balance between a 9-5 job and my artistic self. I keep telling myself it’s only a means to an end, and that it won’t last forever. Some day I can do the things I’m truly passionate about, but this is only for the interim. And boy, what an opportunity for a foreigner like me! To have found such a means of getting by, it truly was a miracle and even though I’m not so sure of liking it anymore, I do appreciate the opportunity.

Besides, it’s opened my eyes to a new side of expat life. It’s not all sunshine and roses for us. We often have too many limitations – be it language, experience, education, visa. It’s hard work to live this kind of life, and sometimes we have to do things we don’t always like, if we want to maintain it. I often question if I’m capable of keeping up this lifestyle, always being limited and giving up opportunities and dreams because of said limits. Then I remember why I chose this life. It was for the adventure and opportunity to see life differently, to experience new things, to push myself as far as I can go, to not settle for anything. So it’s time to remind myself of that goal, push myself once more and stretch the limits of what I am capable of. And see where it gets me this time…

your favourite ginger xx

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