Saturday, February 27, 2010

20 hours of sunlight

Quite a lot happened in my last month in Germany. After finishing the course, Thomas and I visited Berlin again and I was once again reminded of what an interesting and lively city it is. There is so much going on there. It's full of immigrants, students, activists, artists, politicians and so many people in between. It's a place where you can expect to hear three or four different languages spoken just by taking the U-Bahn (subway). It's also a place I'm looking forward to experiencing when the sidewalks aren't covered with three inches of ice and snow.

On our way home I had an job interview for a language camp for German children. I really got along with both people interviewing me and liked the idea behind the camp. It's called "Language Farm" and it's entirely in English with the goal being to teach the children English in a fun, non-classroom environment. I got the job, but tried to not get to excited because I knew I still had the visa issue to resolve. Thanks to the help of Thomas, it only took me a few days to get all the required documents together to apply for my visa. Preparing everything wasn't as stressful as I thought it would be; however, we still had to go to a couple different offices and be very thorough in everything. We took everything to the Auslaenderbehoerde (foreigner's office) on a Tuesday which happened to coincide with Fasching (Carnival/Mardi Gras) so the office was closed. We had already planned on leaving that day to go back to his hometown, which is exactly what we did, knowing we would have to come back to Wuerzburg a day earlier to finish the visa process.

In Immenstadt, staying with Thomas's parents, I found the sunshine and snow to be a refreshing change from the gray I was becoming accustomed to. We stayed for almost a week and it was a week full of firsts for me. My first "schlitten fahren" (sledding) experience from the top of a mountain, my first attempts at snowboarding and my first visit to a "schwimmbad" (unique German concept of swimming pools and sauna). It must be said that the very first attempt to snowboard left me crying in pain and frustration, but a few days later I was beginning to enjoy it. Although it didn't hook me like surfing did, it's still something I will try to improve upon in the future.

My last few days in Germany included going back to the Auslaenderbehoerde twice and packing. I was approved for the visa not even 24 hours before my flight home. It's valid from now until the end of October, which is when the camp season is over. Now, after saying goodbye to Thomas and spending a day above the clouds chasing the sun, I'm back home feeling a whole range of strange yet familiar emotions.

I'm excited to celebrate Hank's 21st birthday today, starting with him and I going somewhere to watch the KU game this afternoon. I miss Thomas, yet find it easier to push him away right now rather than facing the fact that we are back to skype phone calls and living in different time zones, continents and what feels like different planets. I feel the pressure (solely exerted by myself) to think about going back to school and what I really want out of my existence. Despite the fact that I am fully aware of my tendency to take life too seriously, I cannot seem to escape all the thoughts scattered throughout my mind. And despite the fact that I just feel like hiding, I am surprising myself by writing this for anyone to read.

With that said, I know my general state of uneasiness has no outside cause and therefore no outside cure.

"both help and harm come from within ourselves"