Back in 2011, I moved to Munich, Germany with my wife for some bike racing. We were fortunate enough to have our fiends, Ben & Beck come along for a year of adventure.
At the beginning of the year I had several races in Asia, so my wife and friends went a few weeks before me. My wife told me on several occasions that she was finding life difficult in a foreign country as they tried to find a place to live, furniture etc while fighting the language barrier. I thought nothing of it.
When I finally arrived in Germany, it just so happened to coincide with the day that my wife and friends moved into a new apartment. I helped carry some stuff and moved in without any issues. No problem, right?
My wife told me that next time we had to move, I would be responsible for all of the logistics as it was 'my turn'. Unfortunately for her, at the end of the year, she returned to Australia a few weeks before me as I had some more races to do and she had to repeat her experiences all over again, albeit without the language barrier. I returned to Australia to a new place that was all set up and ready to go. My wife was not impressed but I couldn't understand her frustrations.
This year, I have based myself in Spain and now appreciate what my wife went through. I have finally settled into a new place just outside of Barcelona and if it wasn't for my team mate's help, I would probably be sleeping on the street.
It seems that finding out and understanding local laws, rules and customs is extremely difficult if you can't speak the language! The simply task of setting up an electricity account can become a nightmare. Even with hours of research on the Internet, I still had relatively no idea what I was doing.
This time, my wife will be coming over to see me and hopefully she will be impressed with how I (with my Spanish team mate's help) have managed to get along. Of course I'm going to lie and tell her it was so easy!