The lovely Alja, runs her jewelry shop, Anakit on Etsy.
Alja is Slovenian and was born and raised on the sunny side of the Alps. She lives in Brussels, Belgium but just moved to Berlin, Germany for a couple of months to perfect her German.
Alja makes beautiful jewelry in many different styles. Her work style range from glamorous to a hint of ancient culture and I especially love her porcelain pieces.
Why did you move ?
When I was a kid I was either going to be an astronaut or a conference interpreter. After university NASA didn’t call, but a postgraduate programmer opened up for interpreters with Slovenian as their mother tongue.
Already during my studies it became clear that in order to make it as a beginner in this profession I would have to move to where the demand for interpreters was great and constant. There is only one place outside their little country where Slovenes can speak their language in an official capacity: Brussels, the home of the European Union .
If I had been born a native speaker of one of the languages spoken in the United Nations, it could have been the Big Apple, but this way, the only choice for me was Belgium.
Biggest challenge of being an expat?
I usually adapt well to new situations, so I haven’t had any major worries as an expat, but there is one thing that you have to get used to, namely being away from your family.
When I decided to move my little niece broke down in tears and refused to accept it. We are a closely-knit family and the timing of my decision coincided with some rough times my sister was going through. When my grandmother passed away I was lucky to pay a fortune to go to the funeral at a short notice, but that wasn’t possible in the case of my aunt. I wanted to be with my family to mourn and console each other, but the kilometers between us were too many.
The challenge I fear most is not being there as my parents get old and frail. Every time I visit for the holidays they seem more aged. Hopefully not for some time yet, but there will come a point when they will need tending to and I don’t know what I will do then. It’s a terrifying thought.
Biggest Joy of being an expat?
The best part of being an expat is that every day feels like a summer camp. Every day teaches you something new and the next new experience is just around the corner.
Brussels may not be London or Paris, but it lies conveniently in between both. It has great connections to anywhere in Europe or the world and I have been able to go on many exciting travels since I have lived here.
The city itself is a melting pot, where you can hear all sorts of languages just walking down the street. Everybody brings a piece of their culture with them. I have been fortunate to make several friends here that I believe could be friends for life. They are expats as well, some are Slovene as well, and others come from all over Europe.
We work, laugh, play and even travel together. As we all have to live away from our families we nourish and cherish our friendships here so much more. Strong friendships are the foundation of feeling at home away from home.
Find Anakit jewelry online:
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions and allow us to get to know you a bit better.
Are you a soon-to-be, been-there-done-that or currently an expat? If you sell on Etsy come and join our team.
Post by: Jacqueline Fouche (Tangentine)