Tag Archives: Expat in California

You May Have Your Cake, But You Can’t Always Eat It

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YOU MAY HAVE YOUR CAKE, BUT YOU CAN’T ALWAYS EAT IT

Dear Readers,

I know it’s been a while.  Unfortunately, it’s been way too long, and I do feel bad.  I missed writing and taking the time to be creative.  But, as all of us know, life happens.  My life has been extremely busy these past couple months.  I am not complaining as I love being busy, I just deeply regret that I didn’t have time to sit down, be inspired, and write.

The thing is I probably could have produced somewhat of an article each week- but it would have felt more as a chore than something that I truly enjoy. Busting out an article because you have to instead of because you want to produces (obviously) different results.  But I am finally able to slowly get back into the swing of things.

As I have mentioned in one of my last pieces, I started working with dogs, and I love it!  Being with animals is such a stress reliever, and I met so many wonderful people through it as well.  But besides this opportunity, I also started working as a coordinator for a baker.  One of my friends was doing the job before, but since she started a full time job she was unable to continue the work and recommended me.

The position sounded really great as I was able to work remotely, so it perfectly fit in with my schedule.   But, as this happens a lot in life as well, things came different at some point than discussed.  In theory, my duties consisted of handling e-mail customer inquiries, a fun and easy task.  Of course, it took me a little in the beginning until I got the hang of it, but I eventually was able to spend less than one hour a day working from my computer.

Things started to change about a couple weeks into my job.  I knew that my friend handled some of the pastry and cake deliveries in the past as she was living less than five minutes away from the bakery.  I, on the other hand, live about an hour away from Redondo Beach, where the shop is located.  So I became a little skeptical when my boss started asking me to do deliveries as well.

I might not have minded it that much if it wouldn’t have been on a weekend, but to ask me to come out two days in a row to deliver cakes just didn’t sound too appealing to me, especially since one of the locations included Compton, which I thankfully turned down.  As a compromise though and since I didn’t want to seem entitled, I agreed to accomplish the delivery of an ice cake to Marina Del Rey.

The whole way from Redondo Beach to its final destination I felt like I was on my way to Siberia.  Since it was an ice cake, I had to put the air conditioning in my car on full blast. Even though I ended up with a cold I am happy to report that the cake made it to the party without any harm.

From that day on, my boss figured she could sign me up for more deliveries.  Without even asking me, she concluded that I was in charge of spending one precious Saturday in April driving up to the Malibu Canyons to deliver a wedding cake.  If that didn’t already sound bad enough, let me tell you that the notorious cake was only supposed to be used for photography purposes and not to be eaten.  Anyways, since my boss was supposed to go out of town that weekend, she told me that I have to do this delivery.

I wasn’t very happy, to say the least, especially since it was my friend’s birthday and I would be missing half of the celebrations.  But what was I supposed to do when my boss tells me to do it, even though deliveries were not part of my job description in the first place?  I know, I know, I sound like a whiner and unappreciative.  Well, you might feel me a little more after I tell you the whole tale of that one fateful day.

It was a warm and sunny Saturday morning.  I had come to terms with the fact that I was about to drive the 160 miles round trip to deliver a simple twelve piece cake into the middle of nowhere while my boss was basking in the Palm Springs sun.

To my surprise though, she was still working on the masterpiece when I arrived at the bakery in Redondo Beach.  She told me that she had to cancel her girls’ trip since she still had a couple orders to finish.  I instantly felt bad and selfish, and I swore to myself to bury any feelings of irritation about my interrupted weekend plans.

We ended up sharing some bonding conversation while she was finishing up the wedding cake.  Looking at the clock, I got a little nervous considering that the cake was supposed to arrive in Malibu at 11 a.m. and it was already past nine.  Luckily though, she was almost done.

Since I am a pretty clumsy person, I didn’t decline her offer to securely transport the cake to my car.  She put it in a carton box and carried it over to my passenger seat, where she positioned it in a way to make it easy for me to pick it up and switch it onto the cake board once I arrived at the destination.

We then exchanged our goodbyes, not knowing what unanticipated turn the whole day would take.  But more to that story next time.

Image: pixabay.com
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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.


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My Easter Tradition

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MY EASTER TRADITION

Back in the days when I was a little kid and living in Germany, Easter was one of my favorite holidays.  I loved believing in the Easter bunny, which would come out early in the morning to hide eggs, candy, and toys all around the house and backyard.

My family’s tradition consisted of going to church in the morning, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Once the service was over I remember how excited I usually became, knowing there were lots of surprises waiting at home for my sister and I.  My mother was usually the one hiding all the Easter goodies the night before, but when I was little I truly believed that the Easter bunny was doing all the hard work.

At a certain age I knew that my parents were the ones behind everything, but I still didn’t mind hunting for toys and candy.  It was such a blast, especially since we had a three story home with a small yard, so there were lots of hiding spots.  Once all the surprises were collected, us kids usually inspected everything and tested the new toys.

After the first excitement of the hunt eventually subsided, it was time for brunch.  For that, we usually had a big family gathering either at a hotel or restaurant, where a buffet was offered.  It was the perfect solution and suited everybody’s taste.  Also, since we were a group of about ten people, none of our family members had to stand in the kitchen for hours.  My family is actually still holding up that tradition, just nowadays without me since I moved to the United States.

Since I have been living in America, I have been celebrating Easter, if at all, very differently.  My first Easter in the states was back in 2012, when I was living with a family that had two young children.

One year, I remember I prepared Easter baskets for them that were filled with chocolates and small toys.  I left them on the kitchen table with a note, wishing them a Happy Easter while they were out and about.  The next year, I went to a family gathering with them, but it was still not the same as back in my childhood days.

The following years, I wasn’t celebrating the Holiday at all, and if I wouldn’t have seen it marked in my calendar, I would have had no idea what date Easter was that year.  It just felt different for me over here, I can’t really explain why, but I didn’t have such a connection as I had back in Europe growing up.

Last year marked the first time in a while where I had an Easter experience somewhat similar to my childhood days.  You can describe it as the adult version of what the tradition for us kids looked like.  My now-roommate was house sitting at a beautiful home, fully equipped with a pool and hot tub.

Since she introduced a brunch tradition to her friends many years ago, she extended the invite to me, and I was more than happy to accept since I missed the family Easter brunch gatherings.

It was a beautiful Sunday, the sun was shining, and my roommates’ friends and I started arriving at the location one after another.  Entering the house, I could already smell eggs, bacon (that was the time I was still eating meat), and pancakes.

We gathered around the backyard, some people hanging out in a hammock, others in the hot tub, pool, and benches all around, while the two dogs of the homeowners kept roaming around us.

We had a great time talking, eating, and enjoying the sun together until it was time for the annual beer hunt. Yes, my roommate upgraded the traditional egg hunt to a fun-filled beer hunt, where all of us participants received a beer carton and had to find as many beers as would fit into it.

All the while knowing how clumsy I am, especially when it comes to handling fragile items such as glass, I entered this content with caution, but finished with no further incidents.

After all beer bottles were found, all participants sat back outside with their precious findings, looking forward to indulge into the liquid goodies.  I was sitting in the sun, sipping on my drink when I decided it was getting too hot and wanted to move into the shade, of course not without my cargo.

What I did not consider was that my beer carton, which was soaked up on the bottom with water from the pool, had become a little fragile.  I lifted it up, not supporting the bottom with my hands, and sure enough, it made a quick rip and all remaining bottles smashed on the concrete ground.

Everyone was staring very surprised and quietly at the mess I just had created, until some of us were able to digest the shock a little and got up to clean up the glass.  Oh well, since I am not a big drinker anyways I wasn’t too upset I wasn’t able to drink more, but I did feel very bad about the broken glass all over the floor.

My roommate did invite me again to this year’s Easter brunch/ beer hunt, but luckily I will be up in LA this time, hopefully not breaking anything.  However all of you who are celebrating or not celebrating the Holiday, I wish you a very Happy Easter!

Image: pixabay.com
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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

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Short Trip to Key West – So Worth It

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Short Trip to Key West – So Worth It

While being in Miami, I couldn’t pass the opportunity to make a short day trip four hours south to Key West.  I read beforehand that the drive all the way down along several little islands was supposed to be beautiful.  With a plan in my head and full of excitement, I woke up early on the third day of my Miami trip, ready to hit the road before rush hour.

The drive definitely did not disappoint, and I can only recommend this tour to anyone planning to visit South Florida.  Visitors have the option to either travel down with organized bus tours or to go on their own.  I didn’t want to be reliable on anybody else and also have the option to leave the island anytime I feel like it.  Therefore, the better option for me was to travel down myself.

The drive was gorgeous.   Each of the small islands on the way down possessed its own charm, and I stopped on several for a short break to take pictures.  The only thing that was missing was the turquoise blue water.  I held the belief that, due to the proximity to the Caribbean Islands, the water was supposed to be way lighter than it actually was.  Other than that, the views and scenery were amazing.

After about four hours, I arrived on Key West.  I didn’t get to drive around the whole island.  Instead, I made my way directly to the downtown area.  Parking was at first a little difficult.  I intended to park in the surrounding neighborhoods for free, but didn’t find a spot.  I ended up parking at a parking garage of a hotel right by the water.  The price was not bad and nothing close to horrendous parking prices in South Beach Miami.

I first thought about renting a bike to explore the island.  The streets were small and there was a lot of car and bike traffic, so I decided to rather walk.  I instantly felt the relaxing island vibe and Caribbean flair, which is displayed in the food, architecture, and layout of Key West.  I had a fantastic time on the island and will let some images speak for itself rather than writing a novel.

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Images: © Anne-Kathrin Schulte
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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

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Believe In Yourself

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Believe In Yourself

While I was pretty relieved and happy to have found a job in the entertainment industry that matches my skills, there were still some people who were able to criticize my decision of taking an unpaid internship.  After submitting more than 60 applications, you really loosen your standards and take whatever you can get.  Somehow, I did believe in myself and that I will be able to make it work.

But when I talked to members of my family about this recent step, I didn’t expect to hear what they were about to say.  They knew about my ordeal and how much effort it took me to finally land a job after college.  They were aware of why I turned the other job down and decided to work in LA again.  So when I informed them about the most recent event in my life, my father had nothing less to say than: We do not sell ourselves under worth.

At first, his words didn’t hit me that hard.  I tried to explain that I am working in a position where I actually get to use a lot of the skills I was taught in school, and that I am enjoying where I am at.  But he seemed to only think of the unpaid part.  Yes, of course I’d rather have a paid position.  Of course I don’t want to have four occupations (as I currently do), two of them unpaid, but I have to start at the bottom and work my way up.

Nobody who just got out of college is going to start off in an executive position.  And my dad even admitted that in Germany the situation for recent college graduates doesn’t necessarily look much better when trying to find a job.  Many of them, apparently, also start out as interns, trying to get the foot in the professional door.

I don’t want to go to deep into it, but while the conversation with my family continued, I felt a lot of negativity rising in myself.  Negativity I don’t need nor want in my life.  Before that Skype call, I was perfectly happy.  I am beyond grateful to be able to live where I do; I landed a job; I am enjoying life to the fullest.  But there were still people who I felt were trying to put me down.

From their side, they would probably argue that they were just being realistic.  Trust me, I am aware that my life is not a fairy tale, and that I won’t be able to sustain my life forever with an unpaid position.  But I do believe that good things will come to those who hustle, and I am not afraid to accept the challenge and pull my sleeves up.

As for now, I decided to cut all negativity and unnecessary pressure out of my life and focus on my career.  I don’t need people to worry for me about what will happen next year, or why I don’t have a paid position.  I am the happiest I have ever been, and that is what my family and my surroundings should focus on.

Image: pixabay.com
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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

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Graduating University in the United States

Anne Kathrin

 

 

Graduating in the United States

Welcome back! The past three weeks have been pure craziness (in a good way), and a lot has happened during that time: I completed my internship with CBS Studios International, had friends and family from Germany in town to visit, and I also graduated.  I am glad things are slowly getting back to normal and that I could close some important chapters in my life while new ones are about to start.

Looking back, it feels super crazy how fast the time in school actually flew by. I still remember the first day when I started my educational journey at Community College, before I finally got to transfer to Cal State Fullerton to complete my Bachelor’s degree.  This school has given me so much amazing opportunities to make new friendships, meet great professors, and get involved (as I mentioned in more detail in one of my previous articles).  I am actually kind of sad that this period of my life is over now.  Not only because I think so highly of this university, but also because I lost some sense of security.  By going to school, my life had a particular structure and stability.  Now, I am totally on my own, trying to find a job that matches my skills and interests and that also pays enough to be able to sustain a life here in Orange County.  Therefore, I still like to reminisce about my last semester and graduation day.

I can’t really compare graduation in the United States with graduation in Germany since I never finished university in Europe.  So when the big day arrived two weeks ago, I didn’t really know exactly what to expect.  I was just super excited to be walking the stage to receive my certificate together with some of my best friends.  With my decorated cap, gown, two sashes, one cord and a tassel in tow, I gathered my family and friends from Europe and headed to school two hours before the start of the actual ceremony to make sure we get a parking spot.  Even though we left way ahead of time, traffic around the university was crazy.  But at least we got a parking spot close to the stadium where the ceremony was being held.  I told my parents and friends where the audience seating was, while I walked over to where the graduates had to meet. Little did I know at that time that the ceremony of the Communications department, which I was being part of, would receive press coverage and start a social media debate because of one particular commencement speaker.  But I will come back to that a little later.

Once every one of the graduates had gathered at the assembly point, the ceremony promptly started at 9:45 am.  The first to walk into the stadium were the department chairs and speakers, followed by the concentration commencement leaders, who were carrying signs for each of the five communications concentrations (advertising, photo communications, entertainment and tourism, journalism, and public relations).  Then came the Master’s degree recipients, followed by the many hundreds of Bachelor’s degree graduates, myself included.  If you asked me to describe the feeling while walking in the stadium to ceremonial music while the audience was cheering, I would say, “It was pretty cool!”

Once all of us found a seat and the presentation of the national anthem was completed (which really gave me the chills because it just felt so amazing), the department chairs and speakers took to the stage.  That was when the ceremony took a short detour to the worse.  One of the commencement representatives was an award-winning anchor and journalist of Latino heritage. With more than 40 percent of journalism graduates coming from a Hispanic background, the university thought it to be a great contribution to present her as one of the inspirational and motivational speakers.  Unfortunately, not everybody felt that way.  It all started out well, until the speaker began to focus solemnly on the Latino graduates by stating things such as, “Hispanics are the future.”  That did not sit well with everybody.  It got way worse when she started to mention politics, a topic, in my opinion, you definitely shouldn’t bring up during a commencement speech.  Members of the audience started to boo at her and yell, “Get off the stage,” while others flipped the bird at her. I started to feel really uncomfortable in my seat. Of course I do have my personal opinion about this matter, which I won’t state here, since everybody is allowed to agree or disagree.  All I am going to say is that I don’t think it was a smart move for a speaker to bring certain things up when you have people from many different background and political opinions at an official university ceremony.  The incident received press coverage and sparked a debate about racism, something that clearly was not intended by anyone on this special day.  

Fortunately enough though, the following speakers were able to turn the mood around, and the ceremony proceeded without any further negative incidents.  After the presenters concluded their speeches, the students were asked to assemble in line to go onto the stage and receive their certificate.  It was one of the best moments I have ever experienced when the department chair called out my name through the speaker and my family and friends cheered while I was walking down the stage.  And with that, that chapter of my life is closed.  At least for now…

Image: ©Anne-Kathrin Schulte
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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

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