Another crisis abroad

Just as the pandemic is finally coming to a halt, the next crisis is approaching. But, this time, it’s not a virus threatening our lives but a country.

I remember exactly how I felt when the WHO declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic. Of course, we had no idea what was coming in the early beginnings. But we nevertheless felt pretty destitute and alone. The first indications were some trips and travel at stake: Singapore was very cautious about the new virus and introduced more and more rules and border protections that led to canceled flights and a locked-up feeling from the early beginnings. In March, our flights to the Philippines were canceled first, followed by many others. Up to a point where even my friend from Germany, who had come to Singapore to travel with me, found herself stuck in Singapore when all her return flights to Germany were canceled.

Basically, overnight, the world was held at a standstill. Borders were closed, workplaces shut down, and the only airplanes flying were repatriation flights that countries had chartered for their stranded citizens. Who would have thought that our world could change that drastically? Instead of flying around as if there weren’t any borders, our home walls marked the boundaries. We grew up in a connected world with the mindset that only the sky is the limit. Now, facing a situation that pretty much had some of the most militant barriers and strictest regulations left us uncomfortable and secluded.

Eventually, it all turned out ok for us. Although we ended up being stuck in Singapore for the longest time, the first ticket that we booked was one way: We left Singapore for good and with dreams and hopes that the US would serve us so much better.

Now, two years later, we are facing a very similar situation yet again. We just moved to a new country, have just settled in, just found our apartment and the first visitors to expect, and the coronavirus pandemic seems to be approaching an end. The CDC just ended the Corona measures almost entirely at the beginning of March, and even in super blue San Francisco, we have been going through life without masks for a few weeks now. At the very moment when we can finally “breathe a sigh of relief” and come to rest, the next crisis happens Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Here we are again, with yet another next problem. And again, the epicenter is in Europe. And we watch stunned, helpless, and uncomprehending from far away and feel more excluded than ever.

But, I guess it all comes with the decision to move abroad. It will not be unfortunate because what we gain in experience automatically disconnects us from our homeland.

Therefore, at such times it is also quite tricky (or frighteningly relieving) to live with his decision. Nevertheless, it’s moments like these when I really realize that I can’t just go home and hug my mom. And that we are completely lacking such a stable network of cohesion, friends, and, above all, families, and that we are completely on our own. This idea is terrifying, but I guess that’s part of it when you are determined to leave your home country.

Actually, I had planned only a short comment on the present crisis and, at most, announced that I am offline for a few days – as I did on Instagram. It makes me extremely angry how some people just continue to live as if nothing had happened or even (exploit) polarizing hashtags for engagement and reach. I would also like to hold back because I realize once again how privileged I actually am.

Nevertheless, it has become such a long text because the topic occupies me so heavily. I hope that I can pass on something to those who read my personal experience reports and comments about life abroad and the thoughts that accompany us here.

The fact is: it’s not always easy, even if it may seem so. But, quite often, it is pretty hard, especially when your home country feels like it’s slipping from one crisis to the next.


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