Frankfurt View From Main Tower

In Retrospect: First year in Deustchland

Is it a year already? No way. Wow. Really? It doesn’t feel like it, but I better believe it. I don’t know if I can look back without feeling a little bit emotional over the past year. Leaving my family in the Philippines to start a family of my own, finding my bearings again, and entering a new phase in my life, which I had been looking forward to for quite a long time until it finally happened. Although I never doubted if I was in the right place, at times it gets overwhelming trying to take all the heightened emotions at once and processing my reality now.

I was putting so much pressure on myself; I need to find new friends, get more freelancing gigs, study German, and have my own hobbies even though I share a lot of interests with my husband. I just didn’t want to feel dependent and look too clingy as I tag along to wherever he goes or whatever he wants to do just because I didn’t have my own shit going on. I didn’t like feeling like a lost puppy, you know?

But I quickly realized I didn’t need to prove anything to anyone, not even to myself and that I needed to relax – nobody’s scrutinizing. It’s all in my head, no really. As soon as I’ve accepted that, everything became a lot easier. There are way too many real-life stressors already; I better quit adding to the problem.

So I quit forcing friendships

Man, I’ll tell you this. Finding the “right” (and true) friend is harder than finding a nice dapper guy you’d love your parents to meet. Maybe I’m just unlucky, maybe I don’t try hard enough to “connect”, maybe I can’t tolerate the non-existence of depth anymore, or maybe, I’m just really better off alone – or by now, with just a handful of people I’d call friends even if I really don’t see them all the time.

Who am I kidding though? With my back-to-back responsibilities, I even struggle to make time to go on date nights or go to the gym and get ripped. Bleh. I haven’t given up. I know potential BFFs will sweep me off my feet someday, but for now, I’m done actively searching.

I let go of my fear of making mistakes

Yes, I’m specifically talking about the language here. Sure, I’m still self-conscious, a little shy, and unsure – but I’m no longer scared. When I am not tipsy, I used to be so stressed even going to the toilet for fear of people talking to me while in the queue. People love chatting up with me for some reason. More than 60% of the time, I would know what to say – but it just wouldn’t come out right and my frustration would become apparent. It’s probably the reason why I couldn’t make friends because I fail at making conversations or I just can’t be bothered trying. Haha. I wasn’t trying to repel anyone, it’s just my initial response – I avoid conversations. Surely, I can just say things in English when I can’t find the words anymore and they’ll understand somehow, but I don’t.

Anyway, now I would just keep trying to speak it as necessary with mistakes and all without beating myself too hard. I can’t be fluent in just under a year, right? Especially if I just started formally learning a few weeks ago. I always remember to give myself a break because I deserve it.

I embraced getting Germanized

A few of my friends have noticed I’m already catching the German accent. Oh neee. It’s possible that on my third year or so, my accent will be unrecognizable because of the contrasting syllabication and diphthongs mashup of all these languages in my head. I surely wasn’t thrilled to go back to school after 12 years (online courses not counted) and show up every single day, but I always find learning fun and definitely empowering. At times it’s boring, but that’s expected. Do you know of any student that has ever been consistently excited to go to school everyday after the first?

I am just glad I’m getting out of the house, meeting and interacting with people who are in the same boat as I am. Although I admit that sometimes, I can’t help having a case of schadenfreude in class whenever I realize I’m not as bad in German as I think I am. But, I still can’t speak without sounding like a robot. Give me time, guys.

Yes, it’s been tough, but I’ve survived my first year! Yay! If we won’t be flying home to the Philippines soon, I’d probably feel miserable now that summer is over and it’s about to get chilly here. So happy I got something to look forward to! Then when I come back, it will hopefully be easier to go through my second year.

4 comments

Nicky_wanderlust

Hello Sarah!

Congratulations on surviving your 1st year in Germany! I’m a fellow serial expat myself, and I understand the frustrations of moving to a new country (with a different climate than home, too!) Trying to learn the language, make new friends while keeping up with loved ones, show up for your hobbies… it can all get so overwhelming!

But at the same time it’s exciting, proving to yourself that you can grow so much outside of your comfort zone, discovering new things every day, exploring your new country in the weekends. I also quit trying to make new friends forcefully – when it happens, it happens. I’m an introvert too, so I’d rather spend time doing the things I love and find meaningful, than burn out on pointless socialization with people I have nothing in common with. Time is precious!

Cheers on your 2nd year coming up and Viel Gluck with your German language lessons! 🙂

Aww, thank you Nicky! My goodness, I can’t believe I have just made time for this blog when the year is almost ending!! 😀 I hope next year will be a lot better! Frohes neues Jahr!

OMGGGG. We’re exactly in the same boat!!! Where are you here in DE!?? Thank you for reporting me as spam on FB (or was it you? lol), if not because of it I won’t be able to stumble upon your blog!
x
Mutzii • http://www.theshoenazi.com

Oops, I haven’t reported anything. 🙂 Actually, I have just read this as I have completely neglected this site for far too long. But I will be back soon! Are you here in DE, too?

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