I had a very busy and social week. First, I went to an ENT or HNO, which yes, I count as social because I must exercise my German as well as wander by my favorite cake shop. Anyway, I also joined a group of lovely ladies for a birthday celebration, and finally met with fellow (and far more successful!) blogger/author/writer/teacher Liv, a friend I just automatically connected with and absolutely adore. It was lovely. And since I cannot go anywhere without my baby tag-along O, it was a welcome change from our normal routine of baby/mommy playtime for her, exhaustion for me. People held her, she got to show off her full-face smiles she loves to give, and I could finally eat cake and drink tea without so many pauses. I got to explore the new Dunkin Donuts, just for familiarity, and try out a new café. The sun was shining, there was laughter, baby O was wonderfully behaved (not that she isn’t normally, but I’m always afraid she might get upset and I won’t be able to comfort her, it hasn’t happened yet, but you never know!), and importantly, I wasn’t an awkward.
In September, I will have been in Germany for 3 years, and I have exactly 1 German friend. Sure, I have (and am extremely grateful for!) American, Australian, Swiss-Austrian friends, but only 1 German friend. Does anyone else think that’s weird? And It’s not for the lack of trying, although perhaps I’m not quite sure how and where to meet Germans in similar situations as myself outside of work—- I did meet some lovely ladies at the hospital, but no real follow-up with that. Yet I was struck by an undeniable fact recently; I will live in Germany most likely indefinitely, thus I have to start making this my home. I can’t do this half-way either, or just make statements about it and then go back into my shell. No, no, I have to learn better German, you know the kind of German where you can have conversations longer than 2-3 minutes, and I have to get myself out there in some ways. I have to say yes to invitations, find and explore the things that interest me, and appreciate this enormous opportunity.
Two weeks ago, I went into a coffee shop alone, and decided to buy a slice of cake. This was big for me. When I went to order, I became a bit nervous as the line behind me grew, and i was troubled about making a decision and ordering correctly. This is something that happens a lot to me over here. I ended up ordering 6 slices of various cakes and finding a fun acquaintance with the shop lady. Also, I lied and said I was hosting a party to justify why I needed so much cake out of embarrassment, but that’s neither here nor there. Since then I’ve gone to the shop for more cake (thankfully not 6 each time—- that would be rough on my already non-svelte physique), I’ve made small-talk with the lady, AND I’ve responded to older lady inquires about O. In German. Huzzah!
Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s O, and maybe it’s that I met so many kind and warm-hearted people, but my perspective is different and changing. I’m seeing more of the city, talking more, making small steps toward embracing Germany. I want to sign O up for a swim classes, and I want to take her on long walks with stops for picnics through the park. And I’ll stop being weird, and invite friends along. Also, I want to explore different areas of Germany to find which place might be acceptable for our forever home. If you’ve got tips about where to go, I’m finally ready for them!
Thanks for reading!