Immigrating is hard

I feel like I’m not allowed to acknowledge or complain or be frustrated about it because I chose to yeet myself across the ocean, but it doesn’t change the fact that sometimes it really sucks.

I am in what feels to be a uniquely frustrating situation and I am trying my best to figure it out and making some headway but today it feels impossible.

I’m trying to establish myself in Germany and I feel like the learning curve is a mountain with a 90 degree face that I have to scale without tools.

Being an immigrant who is disabled, self-employed but not wealthy or VC backed, and without any formal recognition of completed education (highschool or college) my options are limited and doing my taxes and keeping my health insurance is one of the levels of hell.

I can’t go to a public university for undergrad without an accredited high school diploma. Because I was homeschooled my high school diploma wasn’t accredited and homeschooling isn’t an option here so there’s no mechanism to accept it.
I can’t begin to explain to you how utterly soul crushing this feels to me.

I can’t even get a normal job without either 1) being fluentish in German or 2) having a BA or some kind of certified training. So on top of learning German, I need the German equivalent of a GED if I want to have a chance of going a traditional route here.

That’s a goal of mine, but that’s long haul and isn’t going to help with my taxes or health insurance in the meantime (International students get special tax & insurances rates/visas).

Being self-employed anywhere kinda sucks when it comes to taxes, doing taxes in two countries is even worse. On top of that, in Germany, self-employed people pay the full cost of health insurance out of pocket, along with income taxes, etc. There are co-ops to help artists with that cost, and programs for some kinds of small businesses but there is a gap in help available for people in the tech industry and my US-based web design work doesn’t qualify me for those (as far as I can tell).

I’ve been trying all year to get tax help for this and haven’t been able to find anyone who speaks english, does international accounting, and has an opening. That said, I do have an expat taxes 101 meeting tomorrow which will at least be more helpful than my continued attempt at self-educating via google. I’m hoping I’ll be able to find more resources that way, or at the very least, be able to respond to my health insurance’s document demand.

My health insurance is trying to revoke last year’s coverage due to my being self-employed and I don’t understand why or what the consequences of that are. I asked them to call me (in english) and they have not bothered to.

I made ~$23,000 last year, I’m on track to make $15,000 this year. I’m paying almost 300eur/mo for health insurance (I make approx. $1000/mo). The Finanzamt doesn’t understand remote work, and health insurance doesn’t understand the income of a US Freelancer.

Meanwhile I am emotionally exhausted, taking German classes, and dealing with executive dysfunction and Fibro flares while the weather decides if it’s summer or fall.

I know this too shall pass, and I’ll figure it out even if it means pivoting to something else entirely. I’m grieving a bit. I’m trying to remember to take everything one step at a time and not lose the forest for the trees.

But right now it’s hard and I just wish that the learning curve didn’t feel so close to impossibly steep. I won’t let it stop me, but I’m not going to bury my feelings about it for the sake of not wanting to appear ungrateful or unaware of the privilege it is to even be able to leave the US. I am both grateful and acutely aware of the privilege it is to have left. Germany wouldn’t have let me immigrate on my own merits, and sometimes I feel that really fucking sharply.


3 responses to “Immigrating is hard”

  1. Sharon Avatar

    That is a LOT to deal with. :(. I hope things sort themselves out as soon as possible.

  2. Lynn Avatar

    There is an English speaking German accountant (Steuerberater) who also understands USA tax system. In Leonberg Germany near Stuttgart. Holger Truckses. Carl-Schmincke-Str. 49, 71229 Leonberg-Eltingen 07152 7 58 09 07152 7 54 91 . info@stb-in-leonberg

  3. […] I feel like I can’t express these things because I chose, of my own volition to move here without ever having set foot in Europe. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be the same level of nightmare moving to GA was when I was 14. I knew I would have these feelings and this spiral. […]

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