One of the hardest parts of moving to Germany has been finding my place, my life. My first year here I was, for lack of a better word, lost. I had uprooted myself from the southern USA and moved to my husband's hometown. I was thrust into a life as a housewife, wife to a PhD student, an immigrant, a foreigner....I just felt lost. One of the most difficult challenges proved to be finding friends, people I could relate to and connect with. People other than my husband and his family and friends to share this wonderful blessing known as "life" with. I have a wonderful family here, but in order to true establish a life for myself here, I needed to find my own way.
When I decided to move to Germany, I knew it would be challenging,
but rewarding. However, I never anticipated the challenge it would be to
make friends. I remember thinking that since we were moving to David's
hometown, finding friends would be easy because he already had an
established group of friends. What I didn't realize was that my husband
related to his friends through things like playing soccer and drinking
beer (while watching soccer games). Whereas I relate to my friends in
other ways, coffee, girl's night, and talking. What proved to be more
complex than just a battle of the sexes, was the fact that David simply
did not have time. The demands on his time made by his job proved to be
the ultimate champion and I was left to fend for myself when it came to
entertainment. This is not to say anything negative about my husband. He has a very demanding job. He puts 200% into his job, just as he does our life together.
At first this was wonderful. I crave alone time and for once it was nice
to have endless amounts of time without the pressures of work or
school. However, it got old really fast. There are only so many things
to do when you have endless time on your hands. Things such as reading
and watching a movie became less of a joy and part of the everyday
grind. They lost their meaning, significance, and specialness.
The first year here was really difficult. There were many days that I
wanted to pack up and move back home, wherever "home" was. I felt liek
my dream of living in Europe had been crushed. This wasn't how it was
supposed to be. This was supposed to be the experience of a lifetime,
but it wasn't.
I met lots of people in my German class. Mostly students who were not
here for significant lengths of time. Others were older, looking for a
way into Germany, to make a better live for themselves and their
families. Everyone I met was transient. It felt impossible to make
friends that I could keep.
I prayed alot during that first year here. I felt frustrated that I had
given up my life, only to be thrown into what felt like an endless pit
of dispair. It was a dark time for me. I felt isolated and alone. I
Slowly, things began to happen. My life changed. It started by putting
myself out there. Something which I am really uncomfortable doing. I put my name on a forum for tandem language
partners. Within days I recieved lost of emails from people wanting to
meet me. From this forum, I made my first friend of my own here. Someone who is still a part of my life. A German girl, who had lived in the states for a time. We bonded over cocktail and walks with my dogs. She loves my dogs. My dogs love her. We were taking a walk about a month ago and Emma actually saw my friend and started pulling me towards her, crying. It was really sweet.
In October of 2010, I enrolled in a new German class. One that was especially for people who were immigrants to Germany. People like me.
It was in this class that I met my first American friend. Another American girl married to a German boy. Her situation, so similiar to mine. We both move here in September/October 2009. Our wedding were actually the same weekend. Crazy, huh? My husband always joked that every American in our town knows this girl. It's true. She is such a sweet person.
Also sometime in October 2010, I received a text from another girl. She and her husband had really moved to my city. A lady who works at her gym, another american, sings in the choir with my mother-in-law. She and her husband are so kind and generous. They have been such a positive influence on David and I. Both are devout Christians. They have influenced me to finally face my fears and go to church here. Something I was really missing in my life here.
In March of 2011, I meet yet another American girl in one of my German classes. She is married to a German man, who like my husband, is a local and a PhD student. She has managed to integrate herself into her husband's life her, while simultaneously creating a life of her own her. She is also fearless when it comes to embracing life here.
Lastly, I must include my Irish friend, who also possesses immense bravery. She moved her to be with here German boyfriend. She is our group organizer. The reason that we all meet up weekly. She super sweet and always trying to connect and include people. She is also a great confidant.
Today I am so blessed to have found a this wonderful group of girls that I meet for lunch/coffee every week. A group that is slowly expanding as we meet others like us.
We lose track of time. :)
I love it!
Those few hours I spend every week with these girls is
one of my favorite time of the week. I love have a group of people to
lose track of time. Thinking about it brings such a smile to my face.
We come from different backgrounds. Have different occupations. Have
different ideas and opinions. Different beliefs.
We do have one, very important thing in common. We are all trying to
make a life for ourselves here. All try to navigate this multicultural
family life. A bilingual life. The challenges it presents.
I am writing this post, so that my friends can now just how much they
mean to me. How much I appreaciate them. Thank you for being my
friends. You know who you are. :)