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Left: Saturday morning at the Schloss castle in Aschaffenburg! Right: My FIRST wiener schnitzel in Rothenburg!
Today marks 19 DAYS that I've been in Germany! And I'm still alive. And what an accomplishment that is, indeed.
I'm beginning to settle into things here. I get up really early every morning, get to my trains, get to work, work all morning, have lunch with a lovely little group of people and discuss crazy things, work all afternoon, attend FHE or institute (depending on the night), sometimes go shopping at the Zeil, go home, go running around Schoneck, make some dinner, then go to bed. I know how to get to various places in Frankfurt. I know how to use Euros. I (kind of) know how to grocery shop in German. I even figured out how to do laundry.
But things are still hard. I get frustrated not being able to understand anything. I struggle with loneliness, coming home every night to a completely empty apartment. I feel like my mind and body are always so, so tired. Sometimes I think I'm not cut out to live completely by myself in a strange country.
You feel like a candle in a hurricane, just like a picture with a broken frame. Alone and helpless, like you've lost your fight.
But that's where Rascal Flatts comes in. This song came on when I was at a low point on Monday night and just wanted to go back to America.
Start holdin' on, keep holdin' on. 'Cause when push comes to shove, you taste what you're made of. You might bend 'til you break 'cause it's all you can take. On your knees, you look up, decide you've had enough. You get mad, you get strong, wipe your hands, shake it off. Then you stand.
Germany has been showing me what I'm made of. I've been faced with challenges that absolutely terrified me, but I feel so dang good about myself when I overcome those challenges. I'm reminded on a daily basis that I'm capable of accomplishing anything I set my mind to. I think that, deep down, we're all a lot stronger than we give ourselves credit for.
So, as I've gone about my 19 days here in Germany, I've learned/noticed some things.
There are bazillions of bakeries, all with breads and pastries and cakes and yummy things that LOOK SO GOOD. But they generally look way better than they actually taste.
It seems like everyone here smokes. Old people, young people (REALLY young people), guys, girls. Everyone. It'll be strange going home and not constantly smelling cigarette smoke.
McDonald's is about 18964301421 more classy in Germany than it is in the United States. They take the whole "McCafe" business very seriously.
Pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way. I saw a girl get hit by a car the other day. Most traumatizing thing ever. (She was okay, by the way.)
German chocolate. Enough said.
Dogs can understand German. Or I guess any language, for that matter. I was on a run and heard a guy talking to his dog in German and I was like, "Wow. Dogs can understand German, too!" Strangest realization ever.
Streets are really narrow here and Germans drive really tiny cars. I realized the other day that most of them would never get to experience how romantic it is to cuddle in the bed of a pickup truck while stargazing or watching the sun go down. And I felt semi sad about that.
Fruits and veggies here are so much more fresh and delicious than they are back home.
Cobblestones are about 583201412 times harder on your feet than regular sidewalks. My feet pretty much hate me (and Germany) right now.
The toilets here have significantly less water than they do in the U.S. I had a half-hour long conversation with someone the other day about why Americans need so much water in their toilets, which I had never really thought about before...But why do we need so much water??
Water at restaurants is not free. So you might as well order a Coke.
Greek yogurt is big in the U.S., but I PROMISE you, the Swiss do it better. I've discovered some yogurt from Switzerland that is absolutely to die for. I already know I'm going to go through withdrawals without it when I go home.
I see new things everyday. I learn new things everyday. I am constantly exposed to the unfamiliar, and I am constantly adjusting to the things around me. And while I find all this learning and adjusting difficult, I know I'm growing so, so much everyday. I can feel myself becoming a better person because I'm experiencing Germany up close and personal!
Continue to wish me luck!
Left: View from the Princely Estates at the Schloss! Right: Rothenburg with the Cravens!
Every time you get up and get back in the race, one more small piece of you starts to fall into place.