The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly….

The real truth about working overseas

Traveling around the world is wonderful.  I adore it.  Live for it.  I practically die for it.   Lucky me, I found a way to work internationally.   The real truth is that it can be downright uncomfortable and annoying.   And  it’s definitely not the same as being on vacation or holiday.  However, that said,  I’m willing to put up with A LOT of things I don’t like.

Window Sill

I arrived in Germany 2 weeks ago.

It went the same as usual: 2 days of flying, the jet lag stupor, and arrival at the hotel. I found my room and opened the door, dragging 2 rather large suitcases behind me.

This time was a shock.

I glanced around.  Two small twin beds, a desk, and barely room to turn around.

My heart sunk.  Deeply.   A lilliputian room for six months.  Six, yes, 6 months.  It’s not a good feeling.  I was not impressed. Room with a View

So I did the thing I do when I’m shocked and appalled. I defaulted to the Scarlett O’Hara thinking:  Tomorrow.  “I’ll think about this tomorrow.”

So now, after almost 2 weeks,  I’m off my prima donna status and I’m dealing.   Because there’s actually  good, bad, and the ugly.

The good.

I have a room with a view of a castle and a river.



The bad.

My hotel room has no kitchen, no refrigerator, no room to prepare meals except the floor or in the bathroom.   I am a raw vegan.

I will live in this room for many days. Weeks even.   Oi.

The bad.

I will have to share a car with another person.  I like my independence, to be free to go to the store, to travel.  Without asking anyone.  This is a huge adjustment.  I don’t like it.  Not a bit.

The good.

The colleague I car share with is reasonable and considerate.  Relief.  Gratitude.

The ugly.

The car has a manual transmission.  I have not driven a stick shift for 20 years.  Already I have practically jerked my partner’s head off from stalling out, forgetting what to do with the clutch.   Embarrassing.  And he had the graciousness to say…”well, it’s a very sensitive clutch.”   Nice man.

The Good.

Bamberg View

The 1000 year old city of Bamberg is stunningly beautiful with cobblestone streets, cathedrals, castles, & old German houses.  Quaint, picturesque, European to the max.  It has a plethora of restaurants and shops that are simply enchanting.  It is a Unesco world heritage site and probably one of the prettiest towns in Germany.

The Ugly

It rained the first 10 days.  Grey skies, overcast, gloomy.    It was cold.  The worst spring and early summer in all of Europe on record.  Great.  There are floods in many places in Germany from the rain.

The good.

There are song birds outside my window in the morning.  I love their sweet sound and it’s a gentle wake up call.

There is a bike/walking path to the town beside the river just outside my  window.   It takes about 10 minutes to get to the town center.

The ugly.

BreadBread is everywhere….rye, whole wheat, croissants, rolls, French.

And I am gluten intolerant.

Meat is pervasive.  The Germans love their sausages, schnitzel, bratwurst.

I eat a plant based diet.  I have been raw vegan for a few years.  What will I do?

The bad.

Can’t find greens for my green smoothies.  No kale, collards, or swiss chard found yet.  YET.

The good.

I found the farmers market!  Many vendors with colorful red peppers, bright tomatoes, those skinny Armenian cucumbers, & white delicious asparagus, known as “spargel.”   The vegies are  fresh and minus the GMOs and pesticides.  And I since writing this, I found spinach!  Yahoo.

The good.

There is a thrift shop on base.  I found a vase for $2 and a cute red planter for $1.  And then I found flowers at a store like Target.

My room is transforming from sterile to homey.


The bad.

Closet space is basically non existent.  Shelves.  I put my clothes on shelves.  I can hang about 6 pieces.

There’s a serious problem here…not enough space for all my clothes.  And I am expected to look nice for work.  Do not like this.

The good.

I am in Europe for 6 months, in a town that was untouched by WWII bombs.   I can travel to different countries; I am 2-6  hours away from most European cities & treasures.

I can go hiking, walking, site seeing around castles & very, very old places.  I can be in Austria, France, Switzerland.  I can go to Prague, Budapest, Paris, London.  And I have the weekends to do it.

The good.

I am working, contributing.  To soldiers.  The people who lay down their lives, who deploy again and again and who have seen way too many horrific things at young ages.  If  I am able to help ease some of the stress a little., then everything is worth it.  They are worth it.

And so I can do this I tell myself.

I have decided and I can do it.  I can appreciate and be grateful for all the things that are working.

And then one morning this week, the sun came out.  It was bright, warm, and a reminder that even when everything seems not good, there is lots of good.  Everywhere.  You just have to look for it.





Share hereFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailFollow meFacebooktwitterpinterestinstagram


  1. Oh Jo, 6 months of adjusting, flexing and breathing in life. Look have you’ve change that tiny room already. If anyone can do it you can. Thanks for serving with love. You are wonderful — loved this post. Thanks. Hugs, Lee

Speak Your Mind


%d bloggers like this: