After my classes ended in mid-February, I am back to being at home all day, every day. This is not to say my days aren’t busy. There is endless food preparation, due to the lack of anything edible prepared outside my kitchen in this village. I even started baking my own bread every other day, because I think German bread is as boring as everything else they call “food” here. Without my twenty hours of classroom time every week, I finally had time to wonder what my next step would be. The obvious answer was to find a job.
The most important thing about starting to find work is that I must not only consider the paycheck I need now, but what I want to do in the future. I don’t know if I want to stay in Germany forever. The herculean effort to not only better my German, but to then do either a two- or three-year apprenticeship or go back to college is not a decision to make lightly. Once I sort out my job situation, I will probably do a practicum or two. This is usually what teenagers do: get an unpaid internship for a short time. But I figure it’s worth a shot in my efforts to translate my education and work experience into something the German labor market might possibly be able to comprehend.
I’m still glad I moved overseas and I like being with my family here. I have made some awesome new friends in my language class. Despite things looking up, I am still homesick. Since I moved here, every time I felt overwhelmed and thought I couldn’t do something, I rolled up my sleeves and did. I have found a very little job at a school. A couple afternoons a week I’ll be helping kids with homework, playing games and generally ensuring nobody ends up at the hospital. It’s a good start. Children are excellent language teachers to boot.
Even knowing that I’ve come a long way, I’m still going to feel awkward and nervous the first day of my first job here. There are going to be long torrents of Swabian dialect that I will completely fail to comprehend. I have to start somewhere, I have start to now and I have to push myself further out of my comfort zone than I have ever been before. Eventually, it will get easier. I still miss home, but I’m getting used to things here. I still make many language mistakes, but I improve a little bit every day. My friend who moved to Spain six years ago said the first six months of an overseas move are the hardest. I didn’t even get the Honeymoon Phase (cobblestone streets and bakeries!), I went straight to Being Annoyed by Absolutely Everything in the New Country (has Europe even heard of The Internets?). There are still moments when I startle out of sleep at night and I think I’m still in my old apartment. I remember I’m here, my beloved kitty is dead and everyone at home is sitting down to dinner. The next morning, this American hustler gets up, makes coffee and gets back to the work of making a whole new life.