About a week ago, I arrived in Berlin, Germany, to kick off my time abroad! So far, it’s been a great learning experience. Before moving abroad, I was a bit naïve about how I would respond to all the changes. I’ve always been open-minded and eager to try new things, so I assumed the changes wouldn’t really affect me. After a day in Germany, I quickly realized that the changes would drastically affect me, and they would affect anyone who is not from Germany or does not speak German well. You truly never know how you'll manage all the changes with living abroad until you’ve done it before!
Right when I arrived at the Berlin airport, I went to the restroom, washed my hands, and went to grab a towel. The towel machine was a bit different than what I was used to. I kept trying to tear the towel off, but the darn thing wouldn't tear!! After struggling for quite some time, a lady informed me that you weren't supposed to tear the towel, you were just supposed to wipe your hands on it, and the machine recycles it... Whoops! That was my first encounter seeing something different and feeling a bit silly for not knowing what to do. Since then, there's been many (many!) more embarrassing moments and lots of learning/ adjusting :)
My time in Berlin has been filled with amazing sights, great food, and fun adventures. But it has also been filled with setbacks, points of frustration, and lots of google translate. Within the last few days, I’ve crossed some big items off my list. I’ve gotten my U-bahn/S-Bahn (transportation) pass, EU COVID QR code, SIM card, phone plan, and my Anmeldung (registration in Germany). For many of these items, it took me several tries and many failed attempts to get. And of course, there is still so much more that I have to do to get everything situated.
If I am going to be honest, most things have not worked out the way that I thought they would and have required much more time and patience. I never realized how challenging simple tasks would take me in another country. The last time I went to the store, I spent 20 minutes trying to find the proper shampoo and conditioner for my hair and some hand soap... Yep, 20 minutes for just that! Then when I arrived back home, I realized I accidentally got hand soap for sensitive skin. Haha. I've also been trying to keep some things consistent in my life. The other day I went to the gym to go for a run. When I turned on the treadmill and hit my typical jogging pace (6- mph). I immediately felt that something was off. Why was this machine so slow? Then it hit me. The EU does not use miles per hour! So I looked up my conversions and finished my workout (side note: I'm hoping to become a conversion queen by the end of my stay in the EU). All this to say, I’ve learned to embrace the challenges, give myself more grace, and laugh at silly mistakes!
Below are some pictures from my time so far!!