This situation is new for all of us: We have to stay at home, work from home and can’t see friends, family and colleagues anymore. I have asked seven internationals who are living in Stuttgart currently how they are dealing with the situation and what tipps they can share with us that might help us to make life in quarantine a bit lighter, healthier and easier. Here are their stories.
Internationals in Stuttgart in times of Corona: Joana and Teddy
Hey, we are Joana and Teddy and we live here, in Stuttgart, because we are dancers at Gauthier Dance. Originally we are from Portugal and Austria.
It´s difficult to understand what is happening at the moment, for real, and its scary to not know what the future prepared for us. All the plans, projects, dreams and goals need to be in standby, without knowing when we can access to them. Even the most simple things, that we gave as guaranteed, are difficult to access in times like this. Hugs, kisses, dinners and parties, walks outside are, now, far from what we have.
On the other hand, all this time makes us think and revaluate what is really important. Maybe this is one of the most important moments in our lives. Finally we have time to do more, to think more, to feel more, so in the end, time to live more.
Of course the concern with our jobs, finances, families, friends, ourselves and all the people in the world is huge and inherent. But in times like this we can simple follow important rules for our safety. We have to do our part in order to reduce the virus spread. Things will never be the same, but we have to believe that this is just a period and that everything will be fine.
A few weeks ago, all public performances were banned. Therefore, we stoped working because in order to do our job, even more in the studio, we can´t respect the social distance. And in times like this the health of everyone is more important.
In our job, as company dancers, we live a crazy life where we barely have time to rest and to make our bodies recover, being 100% healthy.
Like this, in the first week we were able to take time to rest our bodies and take care of ourselves. Which is not always possible because of our busy schedule. We simply took our time to relax, do other things and recover. Since it is important for dancers to stay in shape and keep the body moving, at this point in the quarantine, we are taking some classes provided from our company. For example, ballet and Yoga. Online there are also a lot of other people giving classes of all kinds, so we are free to choose what we feel on the day.
We do as well some workout. We have some friends living in Portugal and we created a group so everyday one of us gives a different dance class or workout. It´s a beautiful way to keep fit and be closer to the ones we love and can´t be with.
This quarantine also gave us the time to be closer to our families, to have the possibility to talk longer and share more.
With so much time, which is new for us, we did a list of things we were procrastinating, and now we are doing them. Things like, organizing paperwork, cleaning out old boxes, planting on our balcony and just fixing things at home. A list is always a good way to organize our day or week! And to keep in mind. Maybe we should appreciate the new speed of life, now that feels slower. The whole world is on hold but once we go back to normal we will go full speed.
We think to go through this period with so many uncertainties is very important to:
- Don´t Panic
- Exercise a bit everyday
- Read Books
- Learn something new
- Talk to your friends and family
- Do a “To do list”
- Look through your window
- Learn how to enjoy To Do Nothing
- And in our opinion: Don´t forget that you don´t need to be productive all the time, you will be when you go back to work!!!!
Internationals in Stuttgart in times of Corona: Stef
Hi, I am Stef from Guadeloupe. I am living in Stuttgart because I am married to an Austrian man and I have started my own meditation studio here and I am also a Life and Relationship Coach.
The confinement can be a curse and a blessing. Work as a Life Coach is very busy these days. Now more than ever people need to talk! I am asking the ladies in my Facebook group how I can support them as a Relationship Coach. I create Live videos where I answer their questions. We are talking these days about managing the extra stress, protecting and nurturing relationships and adjusting working from home with your partner.
My husband and I are on the phone a lot for work, which is a great challenge. The life saver was the following: creating “do not disturb hours”. It allows us to be productive, have time for ourselves and also to miss each other. We are both grateful for being able to work from home because I know it is not the case for everyone. We have ups and downs like everyone, but we are grateful to not be alone in this crisis.
It is also nice to have more chats with my friends and family. We do a lot of video calls but even a simple text message brings my mood up. Small acts of kindness feel big nowadays.
The main tip I want to give is to be aware that it is ok to have bad days! We don’t always have to be productive and feel good. But, we can decide to make the best out of the current situation.
Internationals in Stuttgart in times of Corona: Catherine
Hi, I am Catherine from the UK. I live in Stuttgart for quite some time now and am the mum of two wonderful children. I work as a trainer for Laufmamalauf.
This is a whole new ball game for us. My partner is working from home and our kids are doing their schoolwork here. I am trying to rotate work and study commitments and my new role as teacher into the day. I’m worried about family back home in the UK – currently one of the countries least prepared for a pandemic. Overall, I would say we have now found a rhythm that works for us and I have been amazed in particular at how well our kids have adjusted. We are all missing our friends, but enjoying new opportunities to meet them online instead. I am a great believer in finding the silver lining in a difficult situation: in this case I am enjoying the extra time we get to spend together, a focus on simple things such as having more time to cook a great meal or make music, sitting outside in the sunshine and watching spring burst into life.
Various interruptions make it difficult to create time for items that need an hour or two of concentration. My best time of day is first thing in the morning before anyone else is awake: I do an hour of study or go out for a power-walk in the forest. We have moved our outdoor courses for mums and for mums-to-be online (for details please refer to www.laufmamalauf.de/kursplan/?city=Stuttgart) and I am now running these courses via ‘Zoom’ app from our terrace. This was nerve-wracking at first, but feedback from our participants is very positive and it is uplifting to speak and work out hard with our fantastic group of mums and mums-to-be on a daily basis – even if it is ‘only’ in a virtual sense. We are staying at home and helping others to stay active AND stay at home. We would usually have a surge in new participants in the spring and we are pleased to see that some of these new mums are trialing our online courses despite the current limitations.
Tensions can run higher than normal when we spend almost all of time at home with our loved ones. I highly recommend a daily hour of me-time: whether it be walking, running, music, stretching and relaxation or just doing something you love. Fortunately, there are as yet no restrictions on being outside alone in this amazing spring weather. Set yourself a realistic number of potential Corona-achievements to replace all the things that have been cancelled or are no longer possible. My son and I are aiming to play (an easy version of!) Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody on the piano. My daughter is learning to juggle. Once the restrictions are lifted, perhaps we will all be proud of what we achieved – despite the circumstances.
Internationals in Stuttgart in times of Corona: Veerle
I am Veerle from Belgium, mum of two teenage daughters and owner of the relocation agency reloxx.
Of course I feel insecure as everyone does but I’m grateful that my family and I are all healthy, that we are together and we are living in this part of the world where health care is excellent.
Home office itself is not something new to me having my office at home since more than 15 years. New is that all family members are at home now having home office and home schooling themselves. So we had to make new arrangements for our living together. Every night we discuss the schedule for the next day fixing breakfast, lunch/coffee break and dinner times as our family meeting time.
As for my job as relocation agent: of course a huge part such as home search, preparation of administrative appointments, contacts with clients abroad, contacts with local companies is office related but I’m definitely missing the personal meetings with my clients, the many house and apartment viewings with the sharing of thoughts and experiences on location, I’m even missing the appointments at the authorities. The “on the road part” of my job is what I love actually most and I realize this more than ever.
When it comes to my personal tipps: I think a structured day is very important. Even if due to the Corona Pandemic our usual activities are different we nevertheless need a daily plan. Add some special “to do’s” for each day: call or write family members and friends who are alone, help neighbors/people in the suburb with grocery shopping or a cheerful call, clean up your kitchen/wardrobes or office (this took me several days, you won’t believe which things saw the daylight;-)).
Also enjoy having your family around. So many families are involuntarily separated and would love to be together.
Get in touch with friends you lost sight of: we are all sitting in the same boat and sharing feelings and experiences definitely helps.
Internationals in Stuttgart in times of Corona: Rachel
I am Rachel. I was born in South Korea and lived in the US for quite some time. I am now living in Stuttgart with my Italian husband and our little daughter. On my blog rachelsanghee.com I write about our life and travels.
To be quite honest, I thought it would be easier for me since I’m a freelance journalist and most of the work I get done is actually at home. Boy, was I wrong. Having a toddler of four years old the entire day is no joke, and since we don’t have a garden, I feel it’s quite limiting in what we can do during the day.
But, after a few weeks, I’ve found a rhythm. We get up around 9 am (yes, quite late for Germans), we make breakfast together, eat breakfast and then she gets a bit of screen time. Thank goodness for Netflix and Disney+! Yes, it’s not the best way to entertain, but this isn’t the time to get super productive, I believe. This is survival! Then we have a bit of an activity time; drawing, painting, reading, making crafts, washing toys, the list goes on and I’m learning more everyday, thanks to instagram! Then a quick break for mommy so the little one spends some time with Papa and then we sometimes go out for a short walk or bake something. I always wondered why there were no flour in the markets, but now I know why! Then we make dinner together, eat dinner, have a long dessert (which normally means we talk about the day and what we can do the next day etc), a bit of music listening, reading books and off to bed.
I think it’s important to keep a schedule, that would be my best tip. And also getting as much help in terms of activities! Instagram has been such a great help and I find so many great ideas every day. Calling family and friends also help a lot, we share how we are doing, what we ate etc and it’s a great comfort.
Another tip would be trying to stay positive! This will end some day and then we’ll be able to do all the normal things we used to take granted and feel so grateful for them.
And stay home and stay safe, everyone.
Internationals in Stuttgart in times of Corona: Josette
t’s been three full weeks of school and Kita (day care) closures.
I was apprehensive at first because “how on earth was I going to manage home schooling my 7 year old- in a language which isn’t my mother tongue, day-caring an active 2 year old, making lunch, tidying up, entertaining, cooking dinner?” I had a small panic but collected myself.
I made a mighty plan to keep us going from 7.30am-12.30pm. The first two days were brilliant but at 3.45pm on Friday, at the end of the first week, I put my youngest into the bath and I sat on the toilet with a small prosecco. The first week was tough. I sat with my feelings and I cried.
However, this taught me that I needed to change my super plan. So for the second week, I had a structure and not a plan. We went more with a flow, and it helped tremendously, by then the UK had school closures so I was able to see their tips which helped.
We’ve done lots of online yoga, dancing, sports, I’ve managed to be in my zen zone teaching baby massage, my husband rearranged his conference calls this week, so his support has been phenomenal. We’ve been out in the garden and front terrace.
You’ve probably got life down by now as we’re three weeks in, and everyone’s home life situation is different. However, what I grew to learn in a short time which is helping me accept this situation is this:
• gratefulness- I’m so grateful.
• structure, but no plan
• our children can adapt AMAZINGLY.
Time is a great healer.
We’ve all got this.