Moving abroad can be a tricky, wonderful, scary, difficult thing. When I packed a bag in July 2010 and hopped on a plane for an adventure of a … grander sort, I had absolutely no idea what I was in for. I had, perhaps, a fraction of an idea of what I was in for. Living in Germany with a dear friend with Europe on my doorstep, hurrah! Yes! Jawohl! But all of the ins and outs – the insurance, the registering, the visa renewal and restrictions, the renting rules and regulations, the TEFL industry – all of that, I was blissfully ignorant of. And as for the sheer emotional roller coaster you merrily board and strap yourself into, you can’t prepare yourself for that, you just have to hold on.
Previous travels had had end-dates, return tickets, known time frames. This one was indefinite. This one was moving somewhere and staying there, not hopping from hotel to hostel. This one had a whole new emotional framework with which to acquaint myself. And just as I had, just as I was starting to feel a little restless once more, ready for something new, I was shuttled into Weiden, a teeny town near the Czech border where I knew no one except the wonderful man I had joined. Six months later, things changed again and I moved back to Sydney to recharge, refuel, get my lust for overseas life back again. And after six months re-fuelling at home (and studying and working) it was back to Germany, but do a different city – Kiel – for six months. (Life seems to have moved in six month allotments for the past 18 months).
Writing has been the best therapy for me, through it all. Writing and wine with friends new and old. Here are the key pieces that came out of the confusion, homesickness, frustration, fear but also the satisfaction and excitement that has been like no other. They start in Münster, progress through Weiden, Sydney and Kiel. Each of the four chapters (thus far).
Boil the kettle and let’s begin.