Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Germany - Day 76

This song has little to do with the actual post, but it sets the mood.
Press play and read.

What Germany taught me this week:

My favorite 6-year-old! He's cute AND British.

I had been in Germany for less than 3 hours when I found myself sitting at my boss' desk. I was tired from the long flight in, stressed about my makeup looking absolutely terrible and scared out of my wits about living in a strange country all by myself. It took every ounce of strength to hold back tears.

I sat there across the table from her. Staring at the black stained wood. Wondering why I had decided to do this.

"You're in Germany right now for a reason, Taylor. You're supposed to be here," she said. I smiled. I couldn't decide if I believed her or or not. "I know it, and I hope you know it, too."

I retained very little memory from that first day in Germany. I was so jetlagged and culture shocked to really grasp anything going on around me. But that moment lingers. And during my 76 days in Germany, I've tried to discover that reason why I'm supposed to be here.

I remember feeling multiple promptings to apply for this internship back in September. I ignored most of them, thinking I didn't have the money to live abroad for three months, nor the desire to leave my friends, an awesome job, my truck, a boy that I had a really, really big crush on, my country, a really great apartment, and everything I knew behind. But I caved. I couldn't escape the thought that I needed to give this thing a try. So off I went!

Application. Tense three-week waiting period. Acceptance. Super tense 4-month waiting period, full of uncertainty, excitement, doubt and anxiety. Arrival.

I couldn't help but think I had made the biggest mistake of my life when I first got here. Where had that hopeful, adventurous feeling of "Germany sounds like fun!!" gone? But now, 76 days later, I can't help but wonder why I ever doubted this place. Why I ever thought I couldn't do this. Why I was so scared of this experience. And, most of all, I've continually wondered about why I'm supposed to be here.

And I came to the conclusion that I'm supposed to be in Germany for people.

To meet people. To watch people. To learn from people. To get to know people. To see a very wide variety of people. To connect with people. To work with people. To watch people grow. To be a part of other people's lives. To let people in.

I'm here for people.

Today I said goodbye to one of my friends leaving on a mission in a few days. And it was really, really hard. Full disclosure: I cried. And I got to thinking about how in the world I managed to get so close to somebody in just two and a half months. How I could be so sad about leaving Germany in a few weeks because this place has become a part of me. How I managed to come to love a country that I still find really strange.

It's because of people.

When I first got to Germany, all I could see were the differences. In people, places, culture. Everything. I would sit across from people on trains and just think, "There is so much more than a language barrier that separates us." None of my friends know what a rodeo is. I tried explaining the American dream to somebody (a German) and they just laughed at me. I told people I drove a truck and they looked at me like I was some sort of mutant swamp creature. At the end of the day, I just felt really lonely and isolated.

Fast forward 76 days.

I was sitting on the train this morning and realized: we're all in this together. I looked at the young Turkish girl across the aisle from me, at the old lady a few seats away, at a businessman dressed to the T. And I realized that even though we have very little in common, we all want the same things out of life. More or less.

We all want to find happiness. We all need safety and security. We all long for love and acceptance. We all strive for success.
And even though our ways of going about these things are different, at the end of the day, we're all just trying to get through this crazy thing we call life. (Or "leben" in German!) None of us were given a road map to get through all the trials and struggles. All the ups and downs. All the pain and heartache. But we're all doing our best to get through it. And that's all that matters, right?

Once I started realizing this, things in Germany got ten times better. Happier. More fulfilling. And I'd be willing to bet the same would hold true anywhere in the world. So stop judging people. Stop dismissing people before you've learned anything about them. Take down those walls and let people in. Whether they be German, British, half Welsh, American, Chinese, or anything in between, people will amaze you. They will astonish you, they will uplift you and they will be there for you. But you'll never know that if you don't take a chance on people.

I took a chance on people and I'm a better, happier person because of it.
Try it sometime.

I took a chance on this kid and now I consider him one of my BEST friends! He's going to CRUSH IT in the Alpine German Speaking Mission!!

Friendsies :)

1 comment:

  1. Taylor....wow!! Thank you for sharing. This really touched me. You should write a book and when you do I want one of the first copies!
    Sister Katschke