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.