Hi, I'm Anna.
I help English-speaking women in Germany feel more grounded, at ease and settled in their life here.
Do you feel like the breath has been knocked out of you since you moved? You can barely get dinner on the table and turn Netflix on before crashing every night? Struggling to start your life here?
Are you wracked with guilt and worry that the move has set your kids back – or worse – really messed them up? And let’s not even talk about your relationship.
You know how important it is to care for yourself so you can be there for your family but you just don’t know how to right now. Guilt about that is eating you up.
This is where I come in. I am your secret weapon to finding your feet, to stop feeling guilty and stuck and to start taking steps toward creating the life you came here for. To start taking care of yourself again, feel excited about living in a new place and exploring how your family will develop and grow here.
I left the USA when I was four and have lived “abroad” ever since. I’ve made my way as the lead assignee, as a partner and as a mother. I understand the need to be more than a mom and an accompanying partner – but at the same time feeling numb, stuck and utterly dependent. I live with the concerns of raising kids abroad and the challenges of a cross-cultural marriage every day.
We are moms, partners, daughters and friends but we are also people with our own needs, dreams and plans. I firmly believe that to bring our best selves to others we must first bring our best selves to ourselves. We can’t do that while feeling overwhelmed and lost.
I help women just like you ride the rollercoaster of living and parenting internationally to feel more confident, content and at ease on your global mobility adventure (aka Expat Life). With tools and techniques proven with hundreds of people living a global life combined with personal experience and sharp eyes and ears for what is going on with you as an individual I will walk with you on your journey to truly arriving and feeling good about yourself.
This I know:
You will ultimately be ok.
This is also know:
You will get there faster and easier with more fun and lightness with me by your side.
You are worth the investment. You and your family deserve support during one of the hardest things you have ever done.
My Journey so far
Third Culture Kid
My global mobility adventure started when my family moved from the USA to Germany when I was four years old. Growing up in Germany as an American in the 80’s was uncomfortable and I often struggled to fit in. Later, going to High School in the USA proved to be even harder.
I remember the first time I heard the term Third Culture Kid (TCK). It was 1994 and my mom sent me an email with a link to a gopher site (remember those?). I sat in the computer lab at the university reading it, fascinated. There was a whole world of “don’t-quite-fit-ins” out there. Reading the article I realized even my Dad was a TCK. He grew up living abroad, moving back and forth between exotic locations and Oregon, USA.
A few years later I moved to Switzerland as a young engineer and experienced serious culture shock. Surprisingly to me, Germany and its southern neighbor had very little in common. Despite this, I thrived because I loved my work and was surrounded by a wonderful mix of like-minded, international colleagues.
First Expat Assignment & BIG CHANGES
In 2004 I was sent on expat assignment to the USA. The culture shock wasn’t as great this time as when I had tried out High School and, later, university. However, there were some marked differences in work culture that occasionally gave me pause. A text message from my soon-to-be husband shortly after my return to Switzerland changed the trajectory of my career.
More specifically, it came to a screeching halt.
I spent the next two years as an accompanying spouse in South Africa. We had a fabulous time (read more here) but those years were also punctuated by lonely days and long solitary hours studying for my MBA via distance learning. Finding connection proved to be very difficult and I experienced a sense of isolation and lack of direction I had never known before.
We repatriated from South Africa to Germany in a dreary winter with a newborn. The area was new to me and we lived in a small village. Preparing for our return I had given no thought to how challenging it might be. The first year back was hard. Really hard. And it didn’t get much better. Four years later we welcomed the chance to return to sunny South Africa with our (now) family of four.
Finding Purpose & Connection
Having learned more about expat life and what to expect I was able to hit the ground running. I used my knowledge to support others arriving in South Africa and to help them find connection more easily than I had the first time round. I continued doing this when we moved to China a few years later with our (now) family of five. There, I found my purpose as Head of the Parents’ Association for an international school (ok, the truth is I was coerced while under the influence of some seriously strong flu medicine). It was the best thing that could have happened to me. I loved the community and multi-cultural environment I found myself in. I learned so much during those years and had a blast doing it.
Wild Women on the Wall
It was also in China where I pushed myself beyond perceived physical limits and learned just how strong I could be. With Wild Women on the Wall I experienced how we can go further than we think we can with some preparation, motivation and a tribe by our side. These lessons also apply to a globally mobile life, especially for parents moving not just themselves but entire families around the world.
Our repatriation to Germany in 2019 was much better planned and prepared than the last one. We have come full circle (again). Now I feel strong, calm and ready to help you successfully navigate your adventure.
Contact me for a free exploratory call:
Settling in & feeling at home
Three years after our arrival in Germany we are starting to feel more settled. Years of lock-downs, schooling from home and pandemic induced isolation have delayed the process but the past year was a good one of finding connection and integrating in our community.
I blog about the process sometimes. Find posts about my story here.
I have experienced every expat assignment role, have qualifications to back it all up and I really want you to feel wonderful and love your life.