I’m sitting in the Starbucks near Hauptmarkt in Nürnberg, sipping a heiss schokolade mit soja milch, a drink I ordered at every Starbucks I’ve ever been to. I can see the river outside, the German folk walking around merrily in the nice sunshine from marketplace to marketplace, and I’m reminded that this isn’t like every Starbucks I’ve ever been to, this is Germany and nothing is quite like the way it was for me.
You would never guess this place was nearly destroyed in the 1940s the way it looks now. It’s old and beautiful, whereas most establishments in NYC, most iconic ones anyway, haven’t been destroyed in the last 70 years yet they are always under construction like the rest of the buildings and importantly, the people. Germans aren’t works in progress, they have a firm confidence in who they are as a nation. They are German, and in America we are all different people from different places with American attached to the end of our ethnicity. And being American in Germany, I haven’t figured that out just yet. I know who I am as an American from Boston, being half Irish and half black, being educated a certain way, and working another certain way. But just American? No idea yet.
Not knowing the language as well as I would like makes me a bit unsettled. I struggle to do normal things like buy a bath mat or a bedroom set. I feel like it’s not just a foreign language, it’s a foreign state of mind. And maybe that’s because I’ve been here for 5 days, the last 2 of which have been alone. I have to get used to things, practice my German and gain a bit of confidence. No one can do that in 5 days. I’m pushing myself to remember that this is a new life, a new start, and not everything can be perfect straightaway. And that’s ok! When the scariness has faded away and the audacity of my decision to move here comes, well then I’ll be a rather happy!