I’ve been in Germany for 6 months now! Time has flown by and it wont stop any time soon. This journey has been filled with many challenges. I’ve had good days and bad ones. I can guarantee you that I’ve grown so much from this experience.
I few weeks ago I started reading “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I realized that I’m actually on my own Eat, Pray, Love type of journey.
One of the many questions that I’ve gotten from people is why did I choose to study American Studies in Germany? I never really know what to say to people and just go with the generic response of “I wanted a different perspective on US culture.”
But what I should say is this. My first few years of college were something else. I was lost and didn’t know how to find a way out. Things got better over time but it was tough. By my senior year, I thought that you should some sort of plan figured out. I had nothing.
I decided that no matter what I did after graduation I didn’t care as long as I was abroad. I wanted to go away and find myself. I only applied to one graduate school and didn’t really care if I was accepted. I was determined to go abroad. I even looked into Organic Farming, Teach English, and just any other odd jobs with NGOs. I had to get abroad.
But when I got accepted into university I was grateful. My journey had begun.
The day I left I cried my eyes out in the car with my mom wondering what the heck I was doing. I arrived in Germany a scared boy but still excited for what was to come. I didn’t know where life was taking me but I felt ready for it.
One week later I had my first experience with hate, ever. I got on the tram and an angry man was yelling at me and a group of black people that were beside me. He was spewing hate at us. You’re probably wondering how do I know what was being said. Context clues are crucial. He mentioned “Africa,” was literally spitting when he was yelling, and people’s reactions around us was of horror and being upset that the man was doing it. It’s pretty difficult to misunderstand hate. I shrugged it off and moved on but it happened another time within less than a week.
I shut down after that. I hid from the outside world. I hung out with my friends and talked to people from home. How was I supposed to communicate with these new people in Germany who probably hated me? I was comfortable with being lonely and stayed that way for a while.
It seemed that everything in Germany was wrong. The people, the education, everything was different. I didn’t know how to cope with it all but I was determined not to let it beat me.
I continued hanging out with friends and going to nearby small towns. I went to Italy to recharge my mind. I started trying to speak German here and there. I took charge of my own life once again. Now it’s not to say that everything is better. I’m just in a better mindset to handle situations.
This journey so far has helped me understand who I am and who I’m not. I’ve been able to grasp on to what I want my future to somewhat be like. I’m growing more than I even realize.
I have exactly one year left in this program and in Germany. I want to take advantage of the time that I have left and be a part of the German culture. I can’t simply exist in it when there’s so much to learn and understand.
Anyway, thanks for bearing with me for these past six months. Hopefully I’ll have some more useful and entertaining posts for the rest of the time here. By the way, I ordered coffee and interacted with the barista all in German so I’m quite proud of myself! Don’t forget to check out sogodblog.wordpress.com for some words of wisdom. I’ll continue to try to post once or twice a week even when classes start in a couple of weeks. Til next time!