I arrived in Germany 4 years ago, a small, shy child with a world of uncertainty ahead of me. I had no job, no language skills, my girlfriend’s parents didn’t like me. I had nowhere to live, I knew no one and I had brought enough money to technically last a year without working. And I had 3 large bags me to go along with the 5-6 boxes that I had mailed from California, each having cost about 50 bucks to mail. It took some time but things started to fall in my direction.
1)I went to the Czech Republic for a month to earn a teaching certificate.
2)I met Assiyeah’s parents and they didn’t seem to hate me.
3)I got a place to live and then a work permit (oh the good ole days when it was easy to do)
4)I got a class one Thursday while someone went on holiday.
5)I got some more classes.
6)I travelled a bit
7)I got more classes.
8)I went home to Xmas, already knowing that I would be going back after the holiday.
That was my first year living in Germany in a nutshell. I improved the language, seemed to make enough to live a nice, albeit reduced lifestyle and had new experiences all the time, like having a Norwegian and Swedish girl sleeping in my living room. God only knows what time they got home last night! Assiyeah got home around 3am she said. I was already sleep by 12.30.
So, four years have gone by. I now have more work than I need (unless I have to start paying those pesky social security taxes), have travelled further and longer and to more exotic places than I would have ever imagined possible at 32 and a half years old, learned another language (Norwegian), started having photo exhibitions, fluffing out my feathers as it were to show that there was more to me than just my English teaching.
I’m still really happy here. In fact, a new life was really opened up to me and I have done my best to take advantage of the opportunity and live. It is so great to meet my friends back home, I wish I could see them more often but we all have responsibilities, they just seem to have more because the basic things needed there each month like rent and car and a shitload more expensive than I have to pay. My rent is approximately 175US dollars a month which includes utilities and for transportation, I pay about 50 bucks a month, give or take. Those two things right there pale in comparison to what in California costs. I like making less money and paying less money here. I have a lot more time to do my thing, even if that is watching youtube or thinking about working out.
The weather is definitely crappier here, as it’s raining lightly now, killing my motivation to go running but that doesn’t mean I can’t do a workout with weights, ya know? My TV, while big for German students, is a behomothly old. There is no TIVO, and very few channels. But it’s okay. I have made sacrifices and life seems to be pretty good to me.
I was asked the other night if I have any regrets in life. The answer is no. For me to be sitting here typing this in my apartment in the Black Forest on my new laptop must mean that everything that has happened up to that point has worked out perfectly. In fact, the only regret I have from the past 7.5 years of my life was possibly getting the Auslaenderbehoerde so damn involved in my work permit problem that now I have to pay the social security taxes which were never a prerequisite for me. That is my only regret from the past seven plus years. Please god (or whomever), please let this turn out for me.
See, four years later, I still am in a position where I have uncertainty and hope. That’s exciting, right?