Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Expat Blues

We enter the tricky phase. Adjusting from tourist to resident. The excitement of the city and the new environment wears off and the realities of living here set in. We don’t have any sort of routine, no favorite grocery store, no neighborhood hangouts, and no friends to hang out with. The difficulty is compounded by the fact that we are in a new culture with a new language. (Though it can come in handy speaking little German, as I’ve found when stopped by salesmen and surveyors.)

Ryan is at his new job full time and seems to be enjoying it, although he sounds a bit lonely sitting at lunch with everyone else speaking German. With him gone all day and me not at work yet (no news on that front…) I find myself a bit timid to go out. Like our flat is my own bit of America and I’m reentering foreign soil every time I step out the door. I invent things to do during the day, and I have to trek to a café to check the ever-important email. Other than that, I read a lot, and watch a bit of German Disney Channel. It actually has helped my German a bit, although I’m frequently at a loss in conversation. Germans speak very quickly and it takes me some time to figure out exactly how to say what I want. In this time the German person is staring at me like “what’s the problem?” or already trying their question/comment in another language.

It will be easier when I get a job, I keep telling myself. It was the same way when we first arrived in Newcastle. Also when we get the internet at the house, that eats up a considerable amount of time. Hopefully we’ll get all sorted soon. Until then I look forward to the weekends when Ryan is home to entertain me. I just realized this is the first time that he’s worked full-time since we’ve been married. Anyway, Friday is his birthday and the weekend after that we go to Paris to visit his brother.

P.S. did the laundry in the bathtub yesterday—not as difficult as one would think. It costs like 4.50 a load here, which we do a couple a week, so this might be the new method of choice.

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