There is a winds that’s been howling through Freiburg for the last 3 days. Screaming incessantly into my ventilation hood in the kitchen, knocking over whatever isn’t fixed to the ground and turning these sunny February days very cold. It’s like some sort of transplant, visiting from Hamburg or Chicago. It’s brings some sort of out-of-place dream-like quality to everything. It doesn’t belong here.
Yesterday I fell asleep reading before 10. Highly unusual. But this week was stressful for a variety of reasons, mostly involving Germany treating me like shit. (Is that actually the norm for my life here, I shudder to think..?) It was beautiful. Til I woke up sometime after midnight, in some sort of lucid dream, where I dreamt someone was sitting on my sofa, asking me if I felt safe in Freiburg. I knew I needed to escape, I tried to dial my phone, but I don’t know the emergency number in Germany. So with no other choice, I answered yes. A thin woman with short white hair stood up and slammed an ax down in my body, smiled and walked away.
Why do I call it a lucid dream? Because I knew while dreaming that I could stop it, but I didn’t. Then I was completely awake but too terrified to move. I wanted to call the bf, but couldn’t wake him up for a nightmare.
Those days where nothing seems real? That’s today. I could be an insect living in the bellybutton of gorilla for all I know. Surreal.
Some things I’ve figured out recently, first I know why I want a pet. It’s not just to help my stress levels. I hate being here alone and not having anybody or anything to take care of. I didn’t need a pet when I was in Nuernberg. I was looking after children in the afternoon and the bf for dinner. I feel like a time traveller right now, gone back to school. And back to the selfish existence of someone whose just got out of high school. Everything is about me. I can do just what I please. I’ve escaped some of the burdens of adulthood (which I’m NOT complaining about. Germany’s expensive.) and only have myself to answer to. It’s should be amazing, but in fact I hate it.
I remember when I was younger and I thought, oh by the will of my positive thinking and high hopes for the future, only good things will come my way. But positive thoughts do not bring positive karma. In America society told me I was entitled to things, but when I went out into reality I discovered that the world owes me nothing. They say this mindsets sets in your mid-20’s-30’s as a sign that your childhood/immature 20’s are behind you. Was there anything wrong with dreaming big? I suppose not. But I read and hear lots of things about the “millennials” in my generation dealing with exactly this issue, some better than others. Might as well get over it as soon as possible instead of suffering under delusions of being “special”.
And the person who helps my keep my chin up when the stresses of being an expat here get me down is far away forging his own path for our future together.
If I had a pet, I could fuss over it and get over my fears and carry-on with day-to-day life.
Another thing, this weekend as I told the bf proudly that I’d try to manage dinner and the movies without a book/knitting, for just in case, he laughed affectionately as always. But later I realized it’s something I feel I have to do. Leave me alone with my thoughts for an hour and I’ll find about 100 things to worry about get my blood pressure rising again. Knitting helps me stay in the “now”. I told him that later, but he doesn’t get it. He just knows he doesn’t want to take trip inside my brain ever. Hah.
But today I am stuck inside my brain. I’m trying to find a job that will lead to further opportunity, so I am sticking it out with the crappy waitresses that I’ve come to loathe. Because I could find another teaching job in an instant, but my goal is to do this at Uni and not find myself in a situation with unmotivated students and a contract that is hard to get out of when the dream opportunity comes along or the pressure to take on more and more classes. I know the negatives very well. I need a position where the pay rises in accordance with how well you perform your job. Or at least based on years worked. My boss was fair, but she couldn’t ever raise my pay. And I could never get away for the weekend to recharge.
Now my weekends are devoted to the restaurant, except when I book time off every 3 weeks. Stress stress every day of the week. But I’ll find something better sooner or later. Meanwhile I’ve got 3/4 private students that are very encouraging and learning for the right reasons and usually boost my mood.
But the bf has it worse right now. I am doing this program for me. I’m not worried about completely it or proving myself to anyone, not like his is. He is worried about passing all these tests, esp. since they didn’t give him adequate time to learn, then barely missed one he thought was a sure thing by 2 points, then missed the deadline to have them regrade it. So he’s got to prove it to himself and them, since they think, the “Greek guy” won’t make it, cause he doesn’t speak German like a “native”. And then he’s got to prove all of this to me, cause he doesn’t want to disappoint me after we spent so much time together trying to find a way for him to improve his job chances here. No, he has a massive weight on his shoulders.
That only means that I need to try not to distract him as much as I’d like. I did tell him though, that if this doesn’t work out, we’d say peace out to Germany and give the US a shot. Or perhaps Greece. Shocked? Maybe I just need a vacation from Germany so I can appreciate it again.
So the wind is blowing in Freiburg and my heart is in Nuernberg, my mind, who knows where my mind is… And my future, who knows where that will be either. And the bf isn’t scared of all this darkness and worry and poetry in me cause he knows it isn’t unusual to have the soul of poet (have you met many Greeks?) & turns it into hope through his patience.
And so when some stupid German, (cause usually non-Athenian Greeks and Americans aren’t superficial in this way), looks down at him cause he’s not college educated, I nearly bite their heads off cause I met a lot of these so-called “catches”, and they COULDN’T HANDLE me. They didn’t make me a better person. Until he comes here, Freiburg won’t be home. (More on that next time) *sigh* Europeans are such superficial snobs sometimes. Americans give you a fair shake.*
And as soon as he comes here, I will not invest a lot of energy into going out with my classmates. I see what my social future could be. I like some of my classmates very much. I see how, just like in the past I could be the glue that holds them all together, the person organizing the social events and smoothing over the bumps that occur when people try to become friends. But I can’t take on that role. It’s already been 1 quick semester. We have 3 more and then we’ll all go our separate ways and it’ll be another set of people I hung out with for a while and promised to stay in touch and drifted away. I will not invest the energy this time. That is time I want to invest in learning languages, in friendships that won’t disappear in 2 years. It could even be my fault. I am not as young as the rest of them and I’ll probably choose to have kids sooner and that will end things even if we stay in the same town.
I have a tutorial meeting in an hour, with people I’ve already decided will leave me no matter what. But I will probably still go. Because with almost all of my best friends, my first impression was wrong. Yeah if you are reading this and we aren’t related I probably didn’t think you’d want to be my friend when I first met you.
It’s cold and dark and windy. I want this separation to be over and my life to feel steady, quiet and safe again. But I don’t want to skip ahead. I enjoy the chance of each new day and the developments that can’t be measured until years later. I love living my life, even in times of transition between dreams and reality.