Last semester I arrived in Germany feeling more insecure and nervous than I was expecting or really prepared for. – I know I have written that before so I will not dwell on it, but it clearly had a tremendous impact on me. I yearned for connections, friendship and a safety net of people that I knew would be there for me. I did not feel confident enough to go out and explore Berlin on my own. Like a small grain of sand on the shore, I felt lost in the big and new to me city of Berlin.
This semester though, I have returned feeling a lot more confident. My grasp on the German language still has a long way to go, but I now can understand a large chunk of what is said to me and am able to respond appropriately as well – all in German too! – It’s a very rewarding feeling. Of course, I still want to and am excited to make new friends this semester, but I do not feel alone and a bit scared not knowing a ton of people right away. I can already feel that this semester is going to have a different “vibe” for me. One that consists of more independence, more confidence and more willingness to take a chance with making mistakes as I learn the German language etc. I feel prepared and ready to spread my own wings more in Berlin and Germany. It is a new, comforting, fun and a bit challenging kind of a feeling.
The more I discover Berlin on my own and the more time I spend alone – the more I discover myself… I have definitely discovered some things about myself during my time abroad. Some things were obvious to me and others have taken more time for me to come to realize. Here’s a few of my revelations: #1 I do not like waking up to an empty apartment (unless I know that I have somewhere that I have to be, then it’s OK)… this surprised me as at home I loved to wake up early, before everyone else, so that I could have time alone with some quiet, but here since no one else is going to be waking up in my apartment, I miss the morning hustle and bustle that can be found at home. #2 I think too much – for those who know me, this is obvious! but it has really hit me here. My thoughts go in circles at time, just spiraling and spiraling until I end back right where I started! – this is not exactly the most productive use of my time of course. … good news though: since I have identified this, I realize when I start to do it now and Stop. #3 Home to me is wherever my heart is. … I have a few homes because of this, in Germany and in America 🙂 #4 I have put on a front for a while now, where I look and act more confident than I truly feel. On the outside I appear put together, while on the inside I am worrying about what others think about me and how I look etc. (I know this is perfectly natural and others are doing this too) the thing is though… I have now realized how silly this is! #5 I am the only one who is telling myself that “I am not ______ enough” (fill in the blank with whatever) … so that also is beginning to end because you can trust me when I say that thoughts like that are really wasted energy! #6 I love to travel, but I also love to have a place where my stuff can just be – living out of a suitcase can get annoying. #7 Whether grades are pass/fail or actually affecting my GPA, I care about my work. I am intrinsically motivated to learn and so have worked hard here (not as hard as in the States) but still doing well on my Uni work. #8 I love the sauna. I knew I liked it, but I really do love it. In America it seems that the line between nudity and sexuality is so blurred. All bodies are different and that just is what it is. My own confidence and perception of my body has strengthened since going to the saunas more. #9 Chocolate or Lach Gummis can make any rainy day better.
…. well there is a bit of what I have discovered … can’t wait to see what this semester brings.