I just recently passed the halfway point of my project, and consequently feel obligated to be reflective and sentimental about the first part of my trip. I feel doubly obligated due to the fact that I have had a major change in my living situation, and am leaving my home of the last 5 months behind. The only problem is that I have been so busy during this week, I’ve hardly had time to sit and reflect. So, if this post doesn’t bear the sentimental and reflective load it should, I ask you readers to forgive me, and consider it a debt I’ll make up to you eventually.
As I said, I have decided to move, and in fact already have. It was a decision I thought long and hard about, but now that it’s done I’m sure it was the right thing to do. When I planned this project, I tried to account for every possible circumstance or problem that might come up. But as is always the case, the carrying out of the plan revealed a few errors of judgment I could never have predicted before coming to Germany. I did an excellent job (if I do say so myself) of making sure that I would have plenty of opportunities to practice my German and be available to teach English. Those aspects were, and of course still are, the most important parts of my project here. I also chose to live in a more rural part of Germany in order to “get a different perspective on life in Germany,” by which I meant different than Berlin, one of the biggest cities in Germany. And while living in Enkenbach-Alsenborn did grant me this different perspective, it also reminded me of something about living in the country which I had somehow forgotten after 5 years of Nashville city-living: there’s not much to do, and there are not many places to go. While Enkenbach-Alsenborn has much to offer in the way of beautiful trails through the woods and peace and quiet, it has somewhat less to offer in terms of nightlife, socializing, and places to work. One thing that I know about myself is that I need to have different places to go to do different things – I like to work in cafes and libraries and I like to have fun at bars and restaurants. Enkenbach-Alsenborn has an unfortunate shortage of all of those things.
So after a few months of trying to make the best of my situation, I realized that the much simpler option would be to just move. After doing the math and talking with my partner organization, I worked out an agreement with my host family that would allow me to continue my teaching project, but also live closer to the friends that I had already made (but seldom saw) through my language class in Karlsruhe. The whole moving process was a test of the language skills that I had developed over the last five months, and I know now that even though I lacked some things in Enkenbach-Alsenborn, my time there gave me language practice that has over the last two weeks proved invaluable.
So now it’s back to the city life for me. I’ve acquired all the necessary things that one needs for an apartment, and I’ve even got the heat to work (mostly). I am excited for the new opportunities and experiences that I’ll have here, and am at the same time grateful for the ones that preceded them.
I hope all you readers are doing well! We’ll talk later.