It’s been roughly a month and a half since I made the leap and moved to Germany for my year abroad and I’m surprisingly already at a point where I’d say I feel really quite settled here.
I’ve got a room I think of as mine, a job that I’m really enjoying and I am used to my daily routine. Well, I’m as used to getting up at 5am as I’m ever going to be. I think that bit will always be painful.
What once seemed so big and scary is now my reality. I occasionally have moments where I stop and think to myself, ‘this is it, I’m living in Germany’. Whilst it may never sink in that I’m living in another country away from all my loved ones, it doesn’t need to, because I feel okay here anyway.
No matter how settled I feel I will always count down the days until I go home. Although the countdown app on my phone is fast becoming an essential of mine, I also feel okay about the fact that when I go home, I will be coming back here in a few days. It doesn’t feel like a holiday that’s coming to an end like I thought it might. Instead, I feel grateful that I get to see my loved ones fairly often, and although airport goodbyes will forever be painful, once I’m through security I’m fine.
Becoming okay with being alone
At the risk of sounding incredibly cheesy, so far the most significant thing to come out of this year abroad is that even only less than 2 months in I feel much more okay with being alone than I ever have before. I rely on my family and friends a lot. Emotionally, I’m someone who has to talk about things… constantly. Initially, I was worried that not having them physically here with me would mean I really struggled.
Surprisingly, I’m beginning to quite enjoy my own company. I never thought I’d be the type of person who enjoys being alone but honestly after 10 hours of being out of the house every day there’s something quite nice about coming home and only having to worry about myself. If I want to have the same meal every night, I can. If I want to go to bed at 9pm, I can. I am my number one priority at the moment and honestly, quite selfishly, I’m enjoying that.
I may never fully believe that I’m living in Germany. If I don’t, that’s okay. I don’t need to believe it, I just need to do it. To me, feeling settled isn’t necessarily feeling at home, it’s feeling okay. There are still new and scary things every single day here, but I’m learning to cope with them as they arise and not panic. I no longer immediately feel stressed if a stranger speaks to me in German. I no longer worry to say I don’t understand things. Feeling settled is being able to cope with unexpected things, and having the confidence to confront problems that arise.
Honestly, I am selfishly proud of how I’m doing. My year abroad was always going to be sink or swim, make or break. At this point, a month and a half in, I feel confident that it could be positive. Who knows, maybe this year will be the making of me.