When I came to Munich, I told myself – I need to survive one day, one week and one month. After that, I know that I will be just fine.
Is that exaggerating a little? But here’s what I think: it is easy to live in another country, but to truly enjoy the experience, a person must make that place their home, their second home. That takes a bit of time and sometimes going against uncontrollable circumstances.
First month is always the hardest. There are so many questions: Will I miss home too bad? Will I make really good friends here? How do I say [insert really simple word here] in German?
The last question comes up numerous number of times each single day.
But the month has passed, and I finally figured things out. It was an eventful month: from the stuck key on the first day, first time discovering StuStadt (where the students from our program live), first bar, first trip to the store, first U-Bahn ride, first train ride, first class, first time trying to speak German, first time failing at that, first time going to Oktoberfest, first time opening a bank account, first real German sausage, beer, bread, cheese; to the first morning waking up, looking out the window and thinking : “Wow, I am in Germany.”
Here, to my best ability, I will try to summaries all the events, thoughts and emotions into words, the way they are forever carved into my memory.
To get to Munich I had to take a car, two planes, a bus, eight excavators and then some walking distance. The whole journey started with me waking up at 5 a.m. and ended more than 24 hours later at 8 a.m. German time with the whole day ahead of me. The flight even though 8 hours long wasn’t horrible, what harder is spending time in the airport waiting. What made it easier was meeting other JYM students from my program there.
At the Munich’s airport we got our luggage. I accidentally bummed into few strangers and realized that I told them “Sorry.” It would be not easy switching the language.
We met out program coordinators and got transported to the StudentenStadt. From that moment, all of us would be leaving in four tall buildings on different floors, so that we can integrate into student life more.
The first challenge did not keep me waiting. As soon as I entered my room, the key got stuck in the door. With no cell phone, or any other way of communications, the only thing I could do was knock on my neighbor’s door. He helped, but I don’t think he appreciated being woken up at 10 a.m. Oops.
I also realized I couldn’t say anything in German.
The same day we had our first JYM meeting. I honestly do not remember what was discussed, by that time it was already 28 hours of no sleep for me.
The JYM orientation lasted for 2 weeks. We received a lot of useful information and had a few tours of the city and one hiking trip.
The other parts of ordinary life were more challenging, because we had to do them on their own.
As silly as it sounds, even the first time going to a store was intimidating. What if they ask me and I do not understand? It turned out to be not that scary, however, the cashiers here work fast. I cannot put the groceries in the bag as fast as they scan them.
The other little challenges were figuring out how electricity works, how to turn on the fridge, if the tap water is drinkable.
Needless to say the first month just flew by, and time keeps flying. There is a lot to do, a lot to see, to experience.
Time: 8.5 months