One Month In

I’ve now been on this expat adventure for one whole month now.  I’m still very much in the early days.  Still waiting for my work visa/residency permit to be approved. Still trying to find my way around.  Still struggling with the language (this one is going to be on-going). But I’m still loving it.

I have met some fantastic people here and look forward to meeting many more.  I’ve done things I probably wouldn’t have dared to do back in Australia and on the whole am being way more social than I have been in a very long time and find myself loving it.

It hasn’t all been fantastic though.  There have been times when doing this whole thing solo has been really tough, when I have felt so very alone. Fortunately those times have been rare and fleeting.  I have been saddened by friends who I thought would keep in touch who haven’t and completely taken aback by others who I would have never expected emailing and skyping me to see how I’m doing.

So far there is not much I miss about life in Australia.  Oddly, the one thing I really miss is being able to watch TV in English.  It’s a strange thing to be missing and something I never thought I would, but I long for the day I can turn on the TV and be able to understand what they are saying.  They always say it’s the little things that get to you and for me, at this stage, this is it.

I wonder how I will feel about this whole experience on my two month anniversary.  Hopefully, my work visa will have come through by then and I’ll be feeling more settled.  My “long term” plan is to have my visa and a place of my own by Christmas.  If my visa doesn’t come through, then I’ll be spending Christmas on a plane back to Oz and I really, really don’t want that to happen.

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About Meg

A thirty something queer Aussie geek girl who now lives in Germany.
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13 Responses to One Month In

  1. Catherine says:

    This brings back many memories for me that I had totally shelved. I left for Paris at 21, did a language course, stayed a while with a boyfriend, organised papers for a while, eventually found a job and never really went back to Sydney except for visits. It’s been a long ride but once you have decided you are not going back then you generally find a way – a life, a new persona – to stay.
    But yes a lot of loneliness and years of displacement that will become a part of you, not a bad or good part, but just you. Some people function better like this and I know I am always attracted to mixer-up movers. It takes courage and courage has often disappeared in our societies.

  2. Nyssa1968 says:

    It’s a milestone to make it through a month!

    I agree with Catherine’s comments, too.

    When do you think you’ll be able to get to Blighty? Assuming all goes well, I’m thinking of an excursion to Germany in the New Year.

    • Riayn says:

      Hopefully in the New Year I will have my own apartment with a couch that folds out into a bed for you to crash on. :)

      Not sure when I will make it to the UK, probably some time after I get my residency permit.

  3. Claire says:

    Heya Meg, congratulations on the first month, that’s gone quick! If you ever wanted to come over for a brew you’re more than welcome :)
    Felt like that too with my “friends” learnt who are real and not, which is a shame but I know who my true friends are.
    Not planned anything yet about a meal/night out but will keep you informed when it happens. Hope you’re feeling better soon, everyone I know here seems to be getting struck down with a cold!! Maybe try a hot toddy (whisky, warm water, honey and lemonade.. without whisky also works) and lots of Garlic (supposed to make the cold vanish!)

    Get well soon x

    • Riayn says:

      It is definitely flu season here, but am feeling much better from just resting and doing not much of anything this weekend.

      It is a shame when you lose contact with friends, but I guess these things are bound to happen.

      Let me know about dinner/night out. Would love to catch up with you and Lee again. :)

  4. Beaker says:

    Hey, congrats on being a one-month-in… even as a man “island” the isolation here can be tough… much like you, I gather – I was never *really* the social type, could count those I considered to be friends on two hands, one at a push – and coming out here made it clear who did and didn’t belong in that number.

    I echo claire’s sentiment, if you ever need to just get outta the house and see a friendly face or two – think of us, we never really go far :)

    To comment briefly on something you posted earlier in the week, consider those of the opposite gender; at least in my experience, what you are feeling is not so unusual – I approached it with manly bravery, and spent the winter trying not to think about it, and concentrating on my German.

    You’ll find whatever you need to get by here, it looks like your improv class is your thing, for me it was sport, riding my bike and climbing/bouldering, etc.

    Here’s to another 11 months :-D then we can compare notes!

  5. Karita says:

    Wow, you’ve reminded me of how much I missed English TV when I was abroad. I read a lot of books that year.

  6. Congrats on your one month anniversary :)

  7. Fiona says:

    One month down! Yay!

    Hope the visa works out.

  8. It’s funny what a big impact TV has on us.

    I remember very well when we, a US military family living for years in Germany, returned to our home in Pennsylvania. TV was absolutely shocking. Even now I remember the ads and the first show we saw (Star Trek).

    This was over thirty years ago.

    So your comments really hit home. I should add that I was confused about dollars and cents for years, after chasing ice cream trucks and paying in German money (before the Euro). It’s amazing how children internalize monetary systems when ice cream is on the line. ;)

    Good luck in your new home.

  9. genevieve says:

    I’ve been in South Africa now for 3 months and am really enjoying it – but I am here with my partner, who is a South African resident, so it’s a very different set of circumstances. I completely relate to the friend thing, and am finding that the friends who are social networkers are the ones who stay in touch…and I’m thinking that when I go back to Sydney I am going to have to have ‘the talk’ with a few key people who I really do care about, but who just don’t respond to my emails…

    Thankfully I am not yet having to grapple with the language barrier, as English is very widely spoken (there are 9 official languages here), but I am planning on opening a business, and will probably have a crack at learning some Zulu.

    Chin up Meg :)

    • Riayn says:

      You are right, those friends who are on social networks are the ones that tend to stay in touch, but not all of them.
      I’m wondering if people who don’t respond to emails just feel they have nothing to email about and so don’t, when all we really want is not big news but just a friendly hi from home.

  10. Mandi says:

    Welcome to Hamburg — one of Germany’s most beautiful cities! I found your blog through Resident on Earth and wanted to say congratulations on making it through your first month. I lived in Hamburg for two years before moving to Bremen for my PhD (in September), but still travel to HH quite frequently and consider myself a part-time resident. My memories of first arriving and figuring everything out are still vivid, so if you ever need anything, just ask!

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