Janine Grimm in Lisbon
I am a Girl Gone International because...
I started to love traveling in a very young age: Actually, my first journey was from Germany to Spain with an age of 2 years and my second one already to the states and Canada with 3 years.
Now I really love to pack my suitcase and go on an adventure, explore new countries and meet new people. You can learn from everyone and everything and I think you can study as much as you want - the true school of life is out of the library, the university, your office etc., but every place that is out of your comfort zone teaches you.
To be honest, I learned the most when I made a step more than I thought I could. With every little challenge I gained more self confidence, independence and learned more about myself. Sure, there are ups and downs. But in a community like GGI you can learn from each other, find support, friends and a lovely bunch of girls that help you to feel home.
Where do you live or where are you right now and why?
Lisbon - Because it's lovely and unique and creative and a kind of melting pot of people/cultures/mentalities but still kept the Portuguese charge.
How has GGI affected or impacted your life or the lives of others?
I hope, that at least one of the GGI's in Lisbon will say in 5 or 10 years something like "Damn, that GGI Janine really helped me to get on my own feet in Lisbon. I'll never forget the events she organised and that she made it possible to meet so many wonderful women."
What it is like living in your city as a GGI (ups and downs)?
Especially when you don't speak the language, it can be pretty hard. For example if you need to get official documents, do the taxes or simply to get things started. But once you've learned the basics, Portuguese people are very kind and really appreciate if you at least try :)
Speaking for myself, I've learned a lot - about life, about structures in a different country, how to be more relaxed (yes, Portuguese people like to take it slow!) and about me as a person. Although I was pretty scared in the beginning, of the new country and the new challenges, I am proud that I made it and I'm looking forward to new adventures (like being the CM of GGI Lisbon)!
Knowing what you know now, about this lifestyle, about the world and yourself. What would you go back and tell your younger self?
I would tell myself: "Go for it, girl! Whatever it is, go ahead. Make new experiences and the so called "mistakes you do when you're young." You'll gain so much from it and you'll stop worrying about the what if's. And if it's on your mind, especially when you think about it already for quite a while: It's worth trying!
What does 'community' mean to you?
Community - support, commitment, loyalty, sharing interests, thoughts and experiences, integrity.
What keeps you living far from where you started?
To create the best version of myself is my motivation to not give up. To grow through challenges and to find something that makes me happy.
How do you get involved in the local community you find yourself in?
The first thing was to learn some basics of the language, some habits or unknown procedures (e.g. you need to queue to get a ticket to get to the doctor's reception to then get a doctor's appointment). Once you know stuff like that, the Portuguese are so kind and lovely and caring!
And of course: Food and music connect. When you go to local events, you can easily start to chat with someone.
Since I am a social person, I started to go to an animal shelter regularly for a few months. When I'm going for a walk with the dogs, I meet new people almost every time at the park or in the shelter itself, when someone wants to adopt one of those cuties.
What are your thoughts on 'settling down'?
For now, settling down is not something I really see for myself yet. I feel happy where I am right now, but who knows, maybe in 2 or 3 years I want to live in a different city or country. You never know what is coming your way, but for sure you have to make the best of it and to find out what makes you happy.
What does 'home' mean to you?
Home doesn't have to be a specific place, but more of a feeling you have inside yourself. Like feeling comfortable with where you are, who you are and/or who you're with. Home means also being myself and to not have to feel ashamed of anything. To accept some things but also have the courage to change something if life doesn't "feel right" in a certain situation. Oh, and good food and music are very important!
How can you make a 'home' wherever you find yourself?
Put on some nice music, cook a delicious meal and do stuff I really like. For example: Reading a good book with a glass of wine, watching one of my favourite movies, meeting people outside and getting to know the surroundings.
Any thoughts on friendship and making friends as a Girl Gone International?
Friendship usually starts with a same interest, which can be a hobby, the same taste in wine, the love for travelling or sharing the same problems. Of course, the basic idea is then to support each other, to laugh and cry together and to do stuff that the involved persons like.
I think GGI is the perfect way or guide to make things easier for women that live in other countries than they come from. And of course, we're basically all in the same boat when we start somewhere new.
Where do you hang out in the city?
In Lisbon we have "Miradouros", places with a wonderful view over the city, almost every time with at least a little cafe and often with life music - a very nice combination!
Apart from that, I love to go to the beach to go surfing and have a lovely dinner with fresh meat, vegetables or fish or pasta.
Oh, and on some days there are some lovely vintage markets in the small streets to discover forgotten treasures.
What piece of advice would you give a girl wanting to go international?
Do it, girl! There are always and everywhere people that can and often want to help you if needed. You're way stronger than you think.
What is your life's motto?
If you want to get over your issues and rock your life, be grateful, look for the good and learn.
Quote: "Don't give up now. Chances are, your best kiss, your hardest laugh, and your greatest day are still yet to come." - Atticus
What are your favourite haunts in your current city for the perfect evening out?
Spending time with friends. This could be for example, having dinner in a nice restaurant, then heading to one of the wonderful rooftop bars to enjoy the music and the view with a cocktail or a glass of wine. Or going to a bar and dance.
Describe your philosophy on life?
Being thankful. Appreciating the little things and things we sometimes take for granted: the right to vote, the freedom to wear what I want, to say what I want and to do what I want. To have the opportunity to realise dreams, enjoy a lot of stuff and being healthy. To be surrounded by people I love and that love me as well.