18 Months

While discussing the ins and outs of residence permits with a friend today, and why I cannot apply for anything much more than your standard work permit until I have been here for something like 5 years (or am married), I had a little realisation. It occurred when my friend made some quip about being 2 years closer to applying for residency and I did a quick calculation and, as it turns out, I have been in Germany for 18 months today. Then I thought, only 18 months? Only? Not 5 years? Not even 2? 18 months feels like such a non achievement and I like to think I have achieved something since touching down on September 8th, 2010. Particularly seeing as I am writing this to the dulcet tones of our new kitchen being installed and those dulcet tones smack of achievement. I don’t know why, they just do. Something to do with newness and change and, ‘look at me in my new apartment in my new town with my new kitchen.’ I, quite clearly, have had nowt to do with scouting, ordering, or installing of the kitchen, I am just basking in everyone else’s hard work. Irrelevant. It still feels good. And weightier than the paltry phrase ’18 months.’

Has time sort of stretched out, like chewed bubblegum, has it compressed like freeze dried coffee? It feels like so much more has happened than could normally fit into 18 months. I say that, being the annoying kind of person who intones, ‘a lot can happen in a year’ whenever possible and slips it into novel synopses to make the storyline sound full and laden with plot twists.

So if a lot can happen in a year, then I suppose a lot and a half can happen in 18 months. An immeasurable amount of Wine Time in the Kitchen with flatmates can happen. Jobs can be started, jobs can be quit (and God, didn’t it feel good). Rewarding, enjoyable work can be found as can the discovery you really love it. Colleagues can become friends. Many mini trips can be taken. As can trips to the doctor and the hospital. The meeting of Significant Germans can happen, as can the decision to not only stay in the country longer than planned, but move across it. New kitchens can happen.

18 months isn’t really a long time and really not deserved of celebrating (2 years … now that’s another story). But as someone who enjoys the process of taking stock and the lovely feeling of roundness that tidy blocks of time can provide, I am going to have a mini celebration anyway. In my new kitchen. With my new colander.

And thank you Germany, for everything so far. Now, how about, in the spirit of friendship and togetherness, you turn on a little sunshine?

3 Replies to “18 Months”

  1. I think you’ve done tons in 18 months. But I know what you mean. I truly think that when you are outside your original comfort zone (e.g., living in a different culture), time slows down. You’ve been up and down so many times, through the wringer, made it through the toughest parts of your transition, are starting to really feel as though you ‘belong’. You look up and it’s ‘only been a year and a half’. See? Time slows down.

  2. Thanks girls! Linda, I think you are right – I think you hit the ground running to keep up with everything and by the time a week passes, it feels like a month. I bet the next six months will fly and then I’ll be thinking, ‘2 years? What the hell have I been doing for two years?’

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