Expats In Ho Chi Minh City: Andreas, Germany
Name: Andreas Ertle
Occupation: Gastro Stupid (also called Chef and operator of F&B businesses)
Overseas since: 1995
Can you name some of the countries you’ve lived in since leaving the place where you grew up?
Germany, Austria, Italy, France, the US, Japan, Vietnam and most importantly Bavaria!
What’s your definition of ‘home’?
Home is where I have my suitcases and make my living.
How did you become an expat?
As a chef you have to move a lot. That’s how it happened.
Have you discovered any new passions during your time as an expat?
I found a passion for real Japanese food while living there.
Have you held any unusual jobs or titles over the years you’ve been abroad?
Not really I guess unless the “angry chef” is a kind of title (not meant in a bad way).
How has being an expat changed your perception of your home country?
I grew up in a small town in Germany. When I was completing my apprenticeship I never imagined I would be in Asia at some point. My whole life changed when I became an expat.
Can you think of any particular moment, exchange or encounter that made you mentally or emotionally feel you’d left home “for good”?
When I arrived in New York with a suitcase and three knives I knew that was it.
Are there any ways in which your adopted country has changed your behavior or thinking significantly?
Driving drunk is not a good idea. We all did it but I stopped.
What’s the most surprising or useful insight you could offer a new expat in your adopted country?
They all have to figure it out by themselves. I hate to be smart towards “newcomers.”
What aspect of life as an expat is most challenging or worrisome for you?
Am I able to go back at all? That’s a big question for me.
What, if anything, do the expats you’ve met have in common?
They talk too much…
Can you see yourself living in your adopted country indefinitely?
Life is an ongoing journey at all times. It’s better if I say no. I’m trying to find the end of a circle. Or let’s say it in the words of Chuck Norris: it’s never too late to try to count to infinity.