Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
When I was planning (or as much as you can plan in a month) and when I made the move to Germany, I joined the fantastic community of English speaking expats living in Germany. I connected with this community through various platforms, but it was the ones that I meet on Twitter who have provided so much information and assistance that I would literally be up shit creak without a paddle without them. If you are an expat living in Germany, get yourself onto Twitter! It’s the best piece of advice I could ever offer.
With my recent visa snafu and my company’s lawyer leaving me to my own devices in organising my health insurance, it was the Twitter based expats that came to my rescue. Within minutes of tweeting about my plight, these amazing people sent messages full of advice and stories of being in the same situation. At the end of the day, I had the phone number of a representative of a public health insurance that spoke English and the membership forms I needed to fill out. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if this wonderful community didn’t come to my rescue.
I have met some of the Hamburg based ones (@codebeaker & @C1aire_ – you guys are amazing!) and there are some I still have to meet (@lirontocker – we must get together for coffee and @namatovu – let me know when you’re next in Hamburg). Then there are the ones spread out throughout Germany (@Residentonearth, @HeisseScheisse, @zurika, @sergejmueller, @taiwanreporter, @elmadaeu, @groundedtravlr and many more). All of them wonderful people.
In 2011, I want to start giving back to the expat community to repay them for all their advice and assistance. I also want to connect with the local GLBT community here in Hamburg – a German girlfriend would be wonderful, but also I miss having GLBT friends who are local and that I can do things with that my straight friends wouldn’t be interested in.