A year ago today was my first day in Germany. I had traveled for about 28 hours total, was wearing a sweater (bad choice), some skinny jeans (also bad choice), and flats (the worst choice.) Also thought it would be cool to just wear a sports bra instead of an actual bra so I had this uni-boob situation happening. I forgot to put on deodorant because I had stayed up all night so I wouldn’t miss my flight and because Maddi (the most perfect human in the world) had come down from Greeley to see me before I left. So I was hella stinky, hella saggy, and hella sweaty for that whole time. I had two flights: one to Detroit and then from Detroit to Frankfurt. The flight to Detroit was short and nothing happened. I had a 5 hour layover at the Detroit airport (the worst airport to have a layover) and I spent the last of my American cash on Starbucks and then I napped in public like a hobo.
I was on standby for my flight to Frankfurt and it was a nearly empty flight. I got to sit in first class so when I boarded the plane I immediately started double fisting champagne and beer because classy. Everyone around me could sense the poor.
I got to Frankfurt and picked up my 3 bags, which were each 50 lbs because I was an idiot who didn’t know how to pack for shit. I carried my brother’s Navy bag on my back and rolled my wheelies behind me. I took up so much space wherever I went- it was ridiculous. I loaded myself onto the shuttle to the train station, took a crying break, found the right train and loaded myself on. I stood with my luggage by the doors for the first hour until I wanted to sit but I was also really worried about someone taking my luggage so I tied them together and this other guy saw my concern for them and told me he’d watch them for me so I spent the rest of the 5 hour trip in a seat.
I had to switch trains in Hannover and when I was getting off the train, this dumbass bitch was trying to get on and one of my suitcases hit her foot and she gave me this nasty horrible look. That was my second interaction with a regular German (after the train guy) and I was exhausted and really insecure so I immediately started crying again. I got on the train to Oldenburg, which was another hour and a half long and I finally got off the train and met Dennis, my German buddy. Dennis helped me with my bags and we got on the bus to my dorm.
At this point I was a just smelly, dirty hamster woman and my whole body was sore. Had not taken a dump since I was in Detroit. The elevator in my dorm wasn’t working (thanks Frau Sonntag) so we both lugged all my luggage up the three floors to my room. My whole floor smelled like someone had overcooked a fish Lean Cuisine. It smelled like infected vagina. I got into my room, and was a little let down. I had thought it would be more like my UNC dorm, but it was actually more similar to a really nice prison room. It didn’t have Wifi but it did have a huge German window that overlooked the daycare next door.
Dennis left for a while and I settled in and took a shower and then that night he took me to Aldi and Rewe so I could get some groceries and living supplies. I think I just bought some apples, a loaf of bread, and a chocolate spread which, in retrospect, could have done a lot better.
Dennis invited me to have curry with him, his girlfriend Fenja, and their friend Julia the next night.
So that was my first day in Germany.
In the weeks that followed, I mostly just hung out in my room all day every day. Since I didn’t have internet, I would just watch the movies on my laptop over and over again. My daily goal was to leave my dorm at least once, and to be honest didn’t always make it. I tried going to the grocery store once and the cashier asked me a question that I couldn’t understand the whole experience was so distressing that I didn’t go back to the grocery store for a week after that. I was living on the apples that I bought and the chocolate spread. Hamster woman. I am still so grateful to Dennis, Fenja, and Julia for talking to me during that time because that was my only social interaction. I did go to a game night once, when we basically just played Werewolf all night. That’s when I met Rebecca and Emma, and I didn’t know it then but I also met Artur (the most handsome man in the world.) I had my first Döner kebab and it changed me.
A few weeks in it was Easter weekend and we all went to the zoo and celebrated Julia’s birthday and Fenja invited me to spend the night at her parent’s house and the next day we went to see the sea and I hugged the giant penis.
International orientation was later that week and that’s when things really started getting interesting.
Other than my obvious struggles, like starving and not knowing where anything was or how to get the things I needed, there were a lot of little things that made my life so much harder.
I didn’t have a hairdryer and my hair was already fucked up from my bad bleach job so I had to let it air dry and it always looked like a bird’s nest.
Almost all the clothes I brought were basically useless.
I could have had internet so much sooner but I didn’t know I needed an ethernet cord. I thought they would just turn the WLAN on or something.