As of today, I’ve been living in Germany for 1 month.
Not going to lie, I honestly thought that after being here 4 weeks I’d magically feel like this is home, but I don’t. Things I’m having to contend with:
Living in a new country. The roads are different, the food is different, the language is different, and the culture is different. I’ve come to realize that culture is the trickiest of them all. Even if I am eating good food or talking to people who speak English, I still feel a little on the outside. I just don’t know how things work. (How much do people tip here? Do we have to wait to be seated? Did I just cut in front of someone in line? Did I just say something considered rude without realizing it?) The cultural norms here are, well, foreign to me. Thankfully, we live in a military community with other Americans, but day-to-day living is harder in a different country.
Being so far away from home.
Knowing that everyone is more than a day’s drive away, that I can’t hop on a plane and be there in a few hours, totally blows. I honestly don’t think that I would want to go home, but I just like knowing that I could get there easily. I’m also annoyed by the time difference. (Story of my life for the last year, right?) Most of the day here is the middle of the night back home. That means no one is on Facebook, no blogs are being updated, no one is returning my e-mails. Sure, all that stuff happens while I’m asleep so I get to wake up to it, but I miss the real-time interaction with my people.
Learning the ins and outs of military life. Army life (strange as it may sound) is new to me. I’m supposed to register with Tricare? I really have to show my ID every time I come on post even if it’s multiple times a day? I have to get out of my car if we are in it when they lower the flags at the end of the day? That guy was a super major Sargent lieutenant of the first order? Is that good? The worst of it is, I don’t know what it is that I don’t know. I don’t know what I need to learn or how to go about learning it. Again, I feel on the outside.
Being jobless. I knew that it would take a while to find work here. (There aren’t many jobs available and the Army has a deal with Germany that 60% of the jobs on post go to Germans.) I never really thought about what my life would be sans-job. It doesn’t feel like summer break. Summer break is a time that I relax and work at my leisure. It’s a time that I’m supposed to have off. It’s temporary. Being jobless feels indefinite. And it sucks. It’s not even about the money. I don’t have to work if I don’t want to, but I want to. It feels unnatural to spend all day at home.
Is it all bad? No! Of course not! I have a list a mile long of all the good things. Being with Stephen, having Geronimo here and happy, the wonderful home we live in, our yard, the fact that I got my driver’s license, the places we’ve traveled, the new adventures, our health, all good things. And I could go on. I’m just struggling with the few negatives.
I’m really hoping that I fall out of this funk soon. I know that I’m so lucky to have my little family of three all together. (It’s all I wanted for so long.) This transitional period is just taking me for a ride.
How do you fight homesickness? How do you handle moving? (I moved a ton as a kid, so I thought I was a pro. Wrong!)*