The dust is on its way down. It is yet to settle, yet to shake down into a discernible pattern but it’s on the way down. I kicked a lot of the stuff up moving over here, more than I realised at the time of footloose and fancy free dredging. I forget, every time, the mental shift involved in moving. I have written before how much making the foreign the familiar is part of the buzz, the fun of new cities, new homes. And it is. But it’s also the hard part. And I always forget to slow down and give that process the time it needs – I run in and go, go, go and expect my mind and body to keep up. Although, it has to be said, I am getting better at sleeping, shamelessly sleeping. My God, what a wondrous thing sleep is. What a solid, smart decision it is to listen to yourself and turn the lights out at an uncool, early hour most would sneeze at as a ‘luxury’ because you know you’re done for the day and there’s no point in pushing it.
Routine is beginning to making itself known, in bits and pieces, poking its nose into the everyday and making itself comfortable. There’s a regular coffee shop, a Penny Markt for normal things, the Schlemmer Markt for ‘gourmet’ things (there is such a supermarket divide in this country) and an Asia Laden for ‘exotic’ things. I have keys to my new workplace, and a desk at home to work from. I’m used to it being dark for a couple of hours after waking (largely because SG gets up at a truly ungodly hour). I’m used to rugging up to go outside – the novelty still hasn’t worn off. And every evening there’s an episode of Germany’s Come Dine With Me – Das Perfekte Dinner – which is as weird, awful and watchable as its British counterpart. A new normal is slowly but surely emerging.
And things are coming back to me about living here. I have been routinely reminded by sub par beverages that Germans don’t make the best coffee – but you can’t win ’em all. I had forgotten how easy indulging my book habit was – 8€ for a fresh, crispy new hard back means a new book a fortnight. I had forgotten how thrilling the cheese aisle was in the supermarket; abundant, affordable. I had, after teaching Brazilians back in Sydney, almost forgotten the punctuality of German students. And I hadn’t forgotten, but was cheered nonetheless when confronted with the utter German refusal to jaywalk. Winter, a season I am not known for loving, is slowly petering out, but you know what? This time round I am quite enjoying walking to work amid tiny little swirling snowflakes. I have embraced hats and scarves. I can do this winter thing. Australia recharged me sufficiently, I have enough battery to power through the remains of the frost.
This particular process, moving to and making a home out of Kiel, a familiar one yet quite distinct from Münster, Weiden and the stint back home, has gotten off to a flying start. It has been less than 2 weeks since I touched down in Germany, just ten days since unlocking the door to this little apartment. The to-do list, always long and prone to multiplying when you move, has been whittled down to ‘get new SIM card’. The t’s have been crossed, the i’s dotted by a thorough, paperwork-loving bureaucracy.
It’s Friday tomorrow. I think I’ll take a deep breath with a bottle of wine. Let the dust settle a little more.