Friday, 24 April 2020

My Immigration Journey

Heading Towards Mount Robson Park

Acrylic, 18” x 24”, $550

Blog 10

Twenty-five years ago, on April 21, 1995, I came to a country that was foreign to me. I had never left Europe except for a trip to Turkey in my early twenties. I did not know much about Canada, except that people wanted to move there to escape the densely populated Germany. People were looking to experience the openness and ruggedness of the Canadian landscape, a land full of possibilities. They were looking to create a new life with more space and fewer restrictions. I was happy in Germany. Sometimes, when the rainy days bothered me, I dreamed about moving to sunny Spain. I had spent some wonderful holidays there, and that was the extend of my emigration dream. I enjoyed living close to my parents, my sister, grandmother as well as my large circle of friends. I could reach all of them in 30 minutes or less. Several evenings a week, I went dancing. I even was the assistant to one of the dance teachers at the dance school. I had friends at the tennis club and the fitness centre. I owned a nice apartment with a small garden on the first floor of a five-party dwelling. I had a good job as head of the administrative department of a big leasing company, and an even better job offer.

So why did I pack up everything and followed my fiancé Ingo to this land of unlimited possibilities?

I was deeply in love with Ingo who had always told me that he wanted to go back to Canada where he was raised. I probably also wanted to do something unexpected. Since I was a child, I was always reliable and sensible. The most daring goal had been to become a fashion designer. However, when I was not accepted into the programme at university, I went for the very reasonable enrollment at a language school to become a foreign language correspondent, followed by studies in business administration. I had steadily climbed the carrier ladder from secretary to head of the administration department. My life followed a successful but also very predictable path.

When we moved my furniture out of my apartment was the first time I was questioning my decision to leave Germany. Suddenly, my choice felt real: I would leave everything I knew behind. At that point, however, our flight was only days away, and there was no turning back. In retrospect, I doubt that I believed that I would leave forever. I was rather elated by the prospect of an adventure before settling down. Ingo and I had agreed to spend six months in Canada before making a final decision. We had stored my furniture in the basement of my apartment and rented it out.

After arriving in Toronto and moving in with Ingo's parents, we bought a car and drove to Vancouver. The trip through beautiful Canadian and American landscapes provided new breathtaking sights every day. I am glad that I took the time to journal extensively about our daily discoveries. After years of working like a maniac, I enjoyed the time to explore and be quiet. It was an unforgettable vacation, although I was quite homesick and often unwell from the many fast-food meals we eat to save money.

After we came back from Vancouver, Ingo applied for a job. At first, he started a temporary position. I spend my days at his parents' home as I did not have a work permit nor a residence permit. During these first months in Canada, my situation was not much different from the way we live right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While I did not have to worry about my health, I still worried nevertheless: about not earning money, about having to start from zero, and about an insecure future. I was wondering if I had made the wrong decision to follow Ingo.

As I did not know anyone but Ingo's immediate family, I spent the days isolated, writing journal and letters, plus making teddy bears. I felt quite alone, except in the evenings and on the weekends when Ingo and I would go for bike rides, or put on the roller blades, to explore the area. It surely did not help that I did not earn any money or was mobile. However, more than anything, I was intimidated by the huge city and not ready to explore it by myself. Despite speaking the language, I felt judged as stupid for not being able to articulate myself like in my mother tongue.

My situation felt surreal. I had been an independent woman with a good-paying job who had an apartment and a new car. I had lots of friends and family to spend time together. Suddenly, I had become dependent and totally out of place. The people I lived with were strangers, even though they were very nice to me.

Different from today, however, there was no easy and inexpensive way to connect with my family and friends at home. Phone calls were very expensive, especially overseas. Cell phones and internet service were still in their infancy. For most people, emails and video calls were inventions of the future. Jumping forward twenty-five years, I cannot even imagine how to survive the current physical distancing without the use of modern technology.

In two weeks, I will continue my story with our move to Ottawa and the return to certain routines. I hope you enjoyed this part of my journey. Please share my blog with friends and family. Thank you in advance for your help to increase my audience.


P. S. Did you know that you can purchase my paintings directly on my website  If you find a painting you love, please proceed to the Purchase tab and pay conveniently from your home. Shipping cost will be added depending on your location.

Friday, 17 April 2020

A Journey into the Past

Credit River, Mississauga

Blog 9

Almost 25 years ago, on April 21, 1995, I arrived in Canada with my future husband leaving behind the life I had created for myself. Upon our arrival in Toronto, I was greeted by a landscape that looked uninviting and lifeless. There was no sign of the beautiful country with lots of spacious woods and lakes that everyone was raving about when they talked about Canada; it was depressing.

25 years later, life has changed in so many ways that no one could have imagined. Over the next couple of months, I am going to write about the transformation of a homesick young woman, who felt alone and excluded, to the strong woman who has her own business and a wonderful community around her.

I decided to tell my story year by year based on my journals. I will uncover the painful beginnings and the slow adjustments to a new life that was very different from my life in Germany. When I think about it, it was a little bit like our current situation. I will tell you more when I start writing about my first year in Canada next week. Given our current situation, it may be easier to step into my shoes at the time, when I was feeling isolated from my colleagues, my friends, my family, and my home.

I hope that my journey will also give you the courage to dream of the world that is ahead of us, once life has reached a certain level of normality again. I invite you to follow my story starting next Friday. If I have piqued your interest, I encourage you to read my 2016 blogs, starting with the blog of my first impressions of Canada: In 2016, I wrote in detail about my experiences during my first year in Canada.

Additionally, if you would like to learn my mother tongue and find out more about German culture and traditions, I invite you to join my new programme Learn Basic German Through Art. I created one course for children and one for adults. The courses run from May 5 to June 11, 2020. The programme combines my art and language teaching experience to teach everyday German with the help of art projects. Combining language instruction with art projects will help you and your children to visualize what we are learning. You will have more fun to learn new vocabulary and expressions. As I can tell from experience, learning a new language will help you to make new friends, to learn more about other cultures, and to have more fun when on vacations. As I am offering this programme for the first time, the registration fee is discounted by 50%. Even though this is a virtual course, enrollment is limited to six participants for the children's and eight participants for the adult course. To register and for more information, please go to Please do not hesitate to contact me at if you have any further questions.

Friday, 10 April 2020

Happy Easter

This Easter weekend will be different than everything we have ever experienced.  Families will not be able to gather together and depend on virtual meetings to bridge social distancing orders. Let's continue to find creative ways to stay connected and to nurture our relationships. Have a Happy Easter and cherish the joyful and peaceful moments in a world that is moving at a much slower pace for most of us!

If you are looking for creative workshops in the upcoming two months, I changed many of my face-to-face workshops to virtual events. I also added a new course for German language learners, combining my German and art teaching skills. You will find more information on my website

Friday, 3 April 2020

I Am Here for You

Easter Mandala

Blog 8

Now, that we have been at home for a couple of weeks, how are you doing? Are you enjoying the time at home without having to rush out of the house? Or are you getting lonely without your friends and your regular routines? How can I help you right now to distract you from the scary news feeds so you feel more connected? Creating art is a wonderful way to relax, have fun and to dream of the possibilities ahead of us. Are you looking for short workshops where we create easy art projects together or are you looking for weekly art classes that are live and customized for your needs?

This past week, I have been working on creating some online courses. I will continue to offer short weekly workshops on Wednesday and Saturday and the weekly Crafters Afternoon. I still have to create a project for next week. It will once more be a Easter-themed project. Please check out my website where I will post the project by Sunday. There is still time to register for this Saturday's session. You can register until 30 minutes before the event.

I also create some new courses for the months of May and June. The first course starting in May will be a collaboration of both my businesses. As you might know, I also teach German to all age groups and levels. Learn Basic German Through Art will be a six week course for children aged 6 - 12 consisting of two 40-minute Zoom classes per week. The children will learn to introduce themselves and identify and ask for things in their house. Each class will consist of an art project that is related to the vocabulary of each class. While I will provide all the language related materials, the children have to come equipped with pencils, coloured pencils, markers or crayons and white paper. As I am testing out this programme for the first time, I will give a 50% discount for the first group. Groups will run with a minimum of four and a maximum of six children. For the first course the fee is $60 per child. After this first run, the fee will go up to $120 per child.

Once I told some of my adult friends about this new course, they were also very interested. Therefore, I will offer the same course also for everyone who is 13 and up. The price will also be the same for the first course.

On Monday, May 4 and 11, 2020, I will also host the first online needle felting course. We will create three-dimensional spring flowers that can either be realistic or your invented species. I will post a list of materials and suppliers on my website this weekend as you probably have to order the materials online. The course will be delivered through the Zoom platform. Once you have registered, you can let me know which flower you would like to create.

I will post further details for both courses on my website and on Facebook  by Monday, April 6, 2020.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at In the meantime, I invite you to also check out my Facebook pages and