Tag: where to live

Sunday Column (500)

Today is my 500th blog post. That makes it 9.62 years 😉 Wow. I have been writing a lot. If I assume that I write about 500 words on average, that makes 250,000 words, similar to a phd thesis I suppose or double the size of an average novel. Oh I love a bit of writing. Thanks for staying with me and reading regularly, participating in my thoughts and life.

Today I want to write more topical…the heat and Brexit! The weather, the British most favourite topic, and I am seriously more British these days than German. Then I flew to Germany again this week for a farewell of an interim Managing Director position I have been contracting for. It was a nice farewell, but with over 30 degrees, just a bit too hot for my liking. Never mind, I survived. Just.

I worry about the weather and decided I write a more topical post about it next week. To spare you with weekly summaries. Maybe you have more ideas on how I can change my Sunday Column a bit, as when I originally started it was about opinions on topics. And I kind of do that whilst reflecting on the week. Yet maybe I need to research topics and give you my opinions on it? Let me think about it.

Let’s look at Brexit. There is a doomsday scenario of food being shipped to Northern Ireland, and border controls taking part of the motorway to deal with backlog of customs. Really? We are preparing for that and a potential additional 3,000 people we might need to employ in order to deal with it? But we have so far failed to negotiate anything with the European Union? The new Brexit minister inherits a tough tasks and of course opinions are divided if the new government proposal is working, but hopefully we agree something with the EU this autumn. Some people seem positive.

As a native German, a British passport holder, and someone who not only enjoys living in the UK but also has his life in the UK, I don’t want a Brexit. I want more freedom for Britain to be in charge of what they can negotiate, and I do want certain rights, but I am not an advocate to leave the EU. Not currently anyway, over time this might be different, as I have been saying for 20 years that the EU will fall apart. But there are so many positive things about it, like the agreements around healthcare, free travel, custom union, cultural exchange, people exchange, and Europe coming together in any aspect. Think about agreements to work with other companies across Europe to foster innovation in healthcare, technology etc., Airbus being a prime example. Wouldn’t it be awful to isolate ourselves?

I am hopeful. I am positive and usually an optimist. Things will be ok, as most people don’t want to be in a worse situation than before, e.g. they will make sure Brexit will work. Will Brexit mean Brexit how 50+1% of the population wanted it. Maybe not. Maybe Brexit 2019 will be a first step towards a new way of working with the European Union which then will continue to be negotiated over the next few years to come. Who knows at this point in time. Stay positive.

And of course we have asked the question whether to leave the country. We have friends that did. But I am about to start a new job. My sons are going to be in a good school, and they have their friends. On the other hand they could benefit from learning another language and getting different cultural influence. This isn’t an easy decision and we decided to stay. For us, Britain means home. This is where my heart is, where I feel home. I have yet to find another country I would like to live in. What I mean is that I wouldn’t want to go back to Germany which would be the obvious choice. I will always carry my accent and heritage, but a return to Germany just can’t be the solution for me. Of course we monitor things and my new job is very international, so I am sure I will be alright.

See, I can fill a Sunday Column on a topic rather than writing to you how exhausting the week was and how pleased I am that the youngest loves cycling. And we went on a cycling tour and had so much fun. That is all still happening whilst everything else is going on.

Life is full of change. Change is happening all the time and the only constant we have. Let’s embrace it and hope it is for the better.

Love and kindness from my corner of the world.

Sunday Column (58)

Tired – and I have said that for years – really sums up this week. Switzerland left us very tired with sleepless nights. We tried catching up this week. My busy work schedule resulted in me getting tired too, e.g. on Thursday at 6pm I was just totally tired.

Good news is that Colin is getting better. He doesn’t have an ear infection but a virus infection that might have looked like an ear infection last weekend. The comment of a doctor in the UK, after seeing the drugs we got in Switzerland, was “where did you get those, you would have never got them in the UK“.

Now, that makes me think. Think about what I have been thinking for a while, having been in London for almost 6 years and the UK for 9 years. Should I stay or should I go? This is a fundamental question, and no question that I would answer within the next year or so.

But let’s look at it realistically:
– Health care: I believe that other countries, including Switzerland & Germany have a better health system
– School system: I could find a good school in the UK but have to pay for it.
– Job: I earn well but pay high prices in London. If I moved away from London, I earn less, pay less, and possibly have fewer career prospectives (not necessarily). But would I consider a life in the UK outside London?
– Weather: After 6 months of rain, snow, constant heating and many bugs, I could imagine living somewhere where the average temperature is around 20 degrees.
– Living standard: housing in Switzerland & Germany and many places are just more solid. Of course some countries re-built their houses after the 2nd world war, whilst Britain still has many 100 year old houses. Still, whilst here they still talk about some energy efficiency, other countries are far more advanced.

Now, this might sound like a moan but it isn’t. It is German honesty. I get accused a lot of being negative, but I am not. Actually I am a very positive person. However, I realistically look at my current living standard, working hours, expectations, surroundings and what would be best for my family too.

There is no doubt I will be in the UK for another 3 years, job wise and some personal reasons, however there will be the point when we need to make a decision. And, that would be when the wee man goes to school.

Would Germany make me happy? I doubt it. I don’t think I want to go back to Germany, and if of any places there, it would have to be Munich – high living standard, work-life balance but also high prices and a big town.

Career wise Hongkong or Singapore could be of interest. I have never been, but living quality seems to be not as good. Then maybe Sydney or New Zealand. Of which both might be too laid back for me, or as a friend said “these countries are not fast enough for you, Volker“. Who knows?

America – there is an idea. But comparing living standards, health and school systems with the UK, I’d rather stay. So maybe Canada, but the weather is just a bit colder than 20 degrees. I think, and that is without consulting my wife, that Sydney, Vancouver, Munich or Wellington seem to be the next possible places to live. But who knows what happens in the next 3 years, ey?

So finally I got a topic I could write about this week. Guess I had time to relax this weekend. My parents were over from Germany and we had a fantastic time. Happy Easter by the way 🙂

We went down to Tonbridge and Tudely to see the Chagall windows. A nice trip for an Easter break. The weather wasn’t fantastic but ok. we had some rain showers. However, it is great to see the grand parents to see their boy and it was good to see my parents. Sometimes they are just too far away.

Have a good rest bank holiday weekend and a good and short week.

Volker & Family