Getting my Lust Back

Living in a foreign country makes you tired. There are things to think about that you take for granted in your native land. Things like visas and special rules that apply to non-citizens and foreigners offices and language barriers and sitting with Google translate and an official letter to make sure you’ve got the right end of the stick and aren’t being summoned for a bill you forgot to pay because the day it came through you were having a ‘fuck you Google translate’ day and you never got around to reading it. Once the excitement of living in another country (!) wears off, you have to really want to stay or have a bloody good reason to, because to live in a country where you are not a resident, a citizen or a something, is making the choice to make it that little bit harder on yourself.

Initially, it is the idea of difference that drives you somewhere. The lack of difference in your native land that bores and fatigues you, that pushes you out the front door and onto a plane. The idea of everything being different, of someone else’s bookshelves you are idly scanning as you wait for a cup of tea always being in another language, of the supermarket daily yielding something unusual, of TV being an entirely different world to the one you’re used to, of the language you let wash over you in cafes and bars and on the street not being yours, is exciting. Thrilling. A little bit scary, but thrilling nonetheless. And then, as so often it is with this life, what thrills you begins to tire you, begins to take its toll. And it is those same things that made you bristle with excitement in the early days, that make you want to throw a tanty in the middle of the supermarket because you can’t find fresh rocket.

I got tired. That’s why I came home. I got tired and when I thought of The Future being predicated on visas and translating, I could barely open my eyes. If that was what The Future held, I needed a break. I needed to plug myself back into some sameness, some familiarity, let it fill me back up again and fatigue me.

And, over the past two weeks, something has shifted, is shifting, present continuous is a tense far better suited to this permanent state of flux. Over the past two weeks, I have started getting excited again. The idea of bookshelves and supermarkets and bars in another language, another culture, have started to thrill me again. Have started to bubble at my sternum like they did before I left the last time, when I was pushed out of my front door and onto a plane. I have even started thinking about shipping things, about additional luggage allowances to get my wardrobe and books and DVDs and things over there, so they can join forces with all my things sitting in our apartment in Weiden. I am thinking logistics. Three months ago, all I could think about was getting on a plane and touching down in a country where my passport has a special queue at the airport. Logistics didn’t, couldn’t enter the equation. My headspace was all used up, my battery was flat.

But now? The shift. The pendulum is swinging back, ten weeks after touching down here, in Sydney. For the first time in months, I can say ‘ready’, I can use the word ‘ready’ in reference to the next chapter, Germany Take 2. Here I am, ten weeks later, not crying at the mention of the word Ausländerbehörde, not resenting visas, not resenting anything about being a foreigner. Here I am, ten weeks later, excited again. Excited to move back, crack on with life over there, be a foreigner, continue this experience, this big life.

I think the Germans call this getting one’s lust back.

32 Replies to “Getting my Lust Back”

  1. “Ausländerbehörde”… *Shudder*. It was a real shock to me that the Germans were not as amenable towards us Brits as we are to them. Getting to an office guarded by burly military-looking policemen who didn’t smile like our Bobbies back home was disconcerting. It was a chilly introduction to Germany back in the day – literally, because I also had to travel out early in the cold dark morning to make sure I joined the queue towards its beginning rather than at its end.

    If you ever want to reset a little bit and don’t have the time to go “home” once you’re back in Weiden, you’re most welcome to pop over to London to hear some English, buy some fresh rocket and sample some other foreign languages. You will hear so many just by sitting on a Tube train crossing the City 😉

    1. I think this has to happen! I love London and am desperate to show it to SG, as he has never been. So maybe a little trip over the pond is in order,,,

    2. Funny, I’ve always enjoyed going to the ‘Ausländeramt’! Especially when I forgot to ‘melde mich ab’ the previous time I left the country, which happened all but every time apart from the last. Ok, going back 15 years or so, the law for EU members was different, it was slightly more daunting then although I’d just grin like a Cheshire Cat and show them my lovely job ‘Papiere’ – passport stamped again. Even funnier, I never did ever have to pay a ‘Bußgeld’ for my ‘nicht Gemäß’ Abmeldung.

      Different kettle of fish for non-Eus, though….even nowadays, I guess. Nothing too daunting for you – you what to expect now.

      Liv: I let that pendulum swing back and forth a bit too often. It happens. Oh well. Have fun being back wherever you’ll be…up North or down South – somewhere new, is it? Have fun assimilating and becoming an Aussie-German, that is, if you aren’t already! How’s your German? Fluent with an Aussie accent?

    3. Sorry for the hijacking: This is Lemonade: I just don’t get your first paragraph? Did you first go to the Ausländeramt in the Eighties or something cos I first went mid-late 90s and didn’t experience anything scary, at all, even in Berlin because of an ‘Ummeldung’. So, I guess you went early 90s or mid to late 80s. I love the fact that the ‘Ämter’ open really early – 7.30 is great – get it out of the way for the rest of the day. Brits could take a leaf out of ‘their’ book!

  2. This is so beautifully expressed. I identify with you so much, and although I haven’t gotten my Lust back yet, I’m sure it will come one day.

  3. What a beautifully expressed post. I can’t help but be drawn in when I read your blog- I feel like in living it along with you! Good luck for take 2. We shall be eagerly reading the updates xx

  4. So when are you coming back?
    We’ll soon have you crying once more about the dreaded Ausländerbehörde. 😛

    Also, this is lemonade is right, going to London for a bit of German timeout is an awesome idea. I’ve been doing it myself and it does help. Although seeing everything in English is its own little culture shock.

    1. I probably spoke too soon about the bloody Ausländerbehörde hahaha. I am head back early next year and will be living in Kiel! So a Hamburg catch up is ESSENTIAL!

  5. Liv, you always have such a way of speaking the words of my soul. There’s so many discoveries I have found in myself through your words & thoughts, thank you x

    1. You are so welcome. Thank YOU for reading and commenting and telling me these things, it makes this all so much more worthwhile than it already is. x

  6. Sometimes I feel exactly like you, Liv. Being a foreigner isn’t easy. It takes time to build friends relationship, to know where to get certain food from, to get to know people’s habits. It’s weird, it’s different, it’s new, but if it’s what your heart is telling you to do, you should listen to it. I wish you all the best!!
    🙂

    1. Thank you! It does take time and sometimes you just need a little break from it, to recharge. Then it’s time to be foreign again.

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