The last three months since I moved to Germany have been great, but they haven’t been without their challenges. I suffered from some serious culture shock when I first arrived, and despite being confident in my ability to adapt to new experiences, I’ve really struggled at times with the language and culture barrier.
A lot of that has been my own (lack of) doing. I haven’t been disciplined enough with learning the German language, and I should have invested far more time and energy into it before I left Australia. It would have made slipping into life a lot easier. I haven’t made an effort to immerse myself into the culture here, and make friends, and all those kinds of things. We’re about to move to another apartment, and I’m slightly dreading the experience of dealing with phone companies, electricity companies and the local government office. I’ll push through and try my best to throw words from my limited German vocabulary at the problem until something sticks. Or I might get lucky and someone will speak English! I’m not holding out hope though.
Another source of struggle for me has been my lack of a job. Milly is in the unenviable position of having her role moved to Amsterdam, and so has to decide whether or not to leave the role and take another here in Germany, or pick up and move to Amsterdam. Since this is the decision that will affect where we live, it also affects where I should look for work. So even though I’ve been applying for jobs both here in Nuremberg and in Amsterdam, I haven’t been able to throw myself fully into the job search without knowing where exactly we’ll end up. The uncertainty of the situation in general is making us both very unhappy, and at times has even made us question the viability of us living here in Europe. It would certainly so much easier to give it up and move home, back to a familiar culture, a language we know, and families and friends that will help us get back on our feet.
If we did that, we would be quitting.
We knew we would be out of our comfort zone a lot here, and this is just a mountain we need to climb over to get settled. Once we have certainty around where we’ll be, we’ll have some roots down and be able to return to happiness (and hopefully with a job for me, financial stability). In the meantime, we need to set some positive routines in place so that we can keep sane and healthy. Exercise, good eating, regular chores. As long as we’re in good shape, we’ll emerge from the other end of this tough time ready to fully embrace our new home (wherever that may be) and to get stuck into living again.
We’re really feeling the weight of this experience at the moment, but I know that we’ll look back on this time in our lives and wonder what the fuss was about. This is going to make us stronger and more resilient, and whatever the outcome is, we’ll have all the encouragement we need to make the most out of everything life has to offer us at the moment.