This Expat Interview is a bit different because Tina is actually German. But she has lived abroad for quite some time. First in China, then in Hungary. Now that she’s back she sees Stuttgart more through the eyes of an expat than a local.
Tina, what brought you back to Stuttgart?
I first moved to Stuttgart as a teenager. However, I spent the last 8 years abroad with my family working and teaching in various international schools. We returned back “home” in January this year.
What did you know about nowadays Stuttgart before you arrived here?
Having lived in Stuttgart before I know the city and local culture well, and still have several friends living in the area. However, I was amazed how much has changed in the city during the time we were away. My perspectives have also changed during this time and I see things more through international eyes.
Did you expectations live up to reality?
Funnily enough, I like Stuttgart even more since we returned!
Even though you have lived here before, was something very strange to you when you came back?
Considering that Stuttgart is really a big city it can often feel like living in a small village. People are curious about changes and newcomers. We also have to get used again to the Schwabian way of doing things, such as “Kehrwoche”, the local cleaning custom.
How long did it take you to settle in?
I’m still settling I think – everything is still new and exciting. Unfortunately we arrived just at the beginning of the Corona crisis and it will take a little longer until the “daily routines” kick-in, however we’re very positive.
Is there something you like in particular about living in Stuttgart?
I really love the surrounding countryside and all its greenery. But I also like the city, with all the parks and vinyards in the middle of the city. Here I can recommend a walk up the many “Stäffle” to the surrounding districts. However, my favorite place is the Birkenkopf which I often climb in the mornings with my dog.
You are an artist and offer art classes for kids and adults in English under the name Room for Colours. Tell us more about your services!
Room for Colours was born while I was living in Budapest, An Art and Creativity school to make sure everybody feels free to express themselves through art. I’m not offering strict lessons where my students have to follow my lead, I rather give guidance and explain techniques when my students are ready for it. I often met adults and children scared of painting as they had been told that something is wrong in their approach. So my big aim is to take away fear and preconceptions. I had never anybody leaving my classes not been happy with what they had produced. I really believe that everybody is an artist.
What recommendations would you give to expats who move to the area?
Keep calm and eat Maultaschen! But to be a little serious – just accept the Schwabian culture and be open to the new experiences.
Tina, thank you very much for your time!
Picture credit title photo: Sandra Ruth Photography