Category Archives: Rachel’s Blog

woman entrepreneur; photo by Jessica Keener Photography

Interview by Women Expats Entrepeneurs Empowered

I recently joined a group in Germany called “Women Expats Entrepreneurs Empowered” or WE^3. They invited me for an interview to share my journey as an entrepreneur. The interview focused mainly on my work as a language teacher and editor, but of course I had to talk about my dance career as well! I have copied it below with permission.

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One Year Anniversary: Rachel’s Life in Germany

Three weeks ago marked the one year anniversary of my arrival in Germany. I had talked in December about perhaps having a little anniversary party, but 2018 came at me with more than enough plans. Suddenly it was February 1 and I had completely forgotten its significance.

Beautifully, two women here in Stuttgart not only reminded me, but made me feel incredibly loved and appreciated. I had a private blues dance lesson scheduled with each of them because it happened to be my afternoon off from my day job. The first was one of the first people I ever spoke to about coming to Stuttgart, was the one who checked out my first rental apartment and set up my first blues dance classes, and was very helpful as I sought my first work visa. She arrived with a meaningful hand-made card and my favorite local chocolate. The second has been friend, confidant, language teacher, and repeated moving van driver. She brought me a beautiful daffodil plant (which amazingly I have not yet killed!)

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So You Want a Self-Employment Visa in Germany

The first time I came to Germany as an adult was for a blues dance festival: the 2013 American Blues Classic in Hamburg, Germany. I had an amazing weekend. I got hosted through Couchsurfing and my hosts were amazing. I got to see the sights, eat delicious home-cooked food and go to an awesome house party in addition to enjoying the blues festival. I remember commenting to friends, “I really feel like I could live here!”

That weekend I also met another dance teacher who was living in Germany. I asked him a bunch of questions about how he had managed to to get a self-employment visa. I went online and did some more research. I filed this all away for later use.

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Everything I’ve Been Waiting For

In August I wrote a pair of blog posts: one about getting my visa to stay in Stuttgart (and the challenge of finding an apartment) and one about my ankle/foot injury. Over the summer I spent a lot of time stressing about these challenges, to the point that they seemed to consume my every free moment.

Well, here we are with autumn announcing its arrival and I feel like I finally have everything I’ve been waiting for.

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New Interview Series: Solo African Dance

If you caught my most recent article on Latin Dance Community, you know that I’ve had a growing enthusiasm for solo African dances in the last few years. Kuduro and Afro House came into the picture for me early on in my kizomba dancing, and I’ve since tried Afrobeats, azonto, coupé décalé, ndombolo, soukous, and various classes just labeled “West African.”

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Antarctic Kizomba

This January I embarked on a trip I’d been planning for years: a cruise from Chile to various places in Antarctica and the Falkland Islands. Although I managed to get sick, and then seasick on top of that, it was still an incredible trip.

Being on the Antarctic continent feels like being on another planet. The landscape is dramatic and surprisingly colorful within a limited palette. The sky seems especially alien – the light filters dreamlike through heavy clouds or reflects dazzlingly off gleaming icebergs.

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Finding Joy in the Moment

This year has been a little precarious for me so far. In January I took my coolest trip to date…but spent half of it sick, including 9 days where even reading a book or watching a movie felt taxing. I almost passed out from the pain of walking across an airport terminal.

In February I moved to Stuttgart, aiming to have applied for my work permit by the end of the month. Here it is the end of March and I only just managed to submit my completed application today. I love it here! I’m eager to be nesting, dating, putting down roots…but until I know I can stay, that’s tough to do. The uncertainty eats away at me. I’m constantly trying to balance my activities with contingency plans, because I can’t ignore the possibility that I might have to leave in a month.

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