My third day in Germany is already coming to an end. The time has been going by so quickly, I've been busy and active from the moment I stepped off the plane in Düsseldorf. The trip over was easy and mostly uneventful, even though I stayed awake for the entire trip.
Arriving in Düsseldorf was absolutely surreal... this whole experience feels very strange to be doing on my own. This is the first time I've embarked on something so grand on my own. It feels amazing to be somewhere so different and so new, and to be on my own doing something so spectacular, but I can't help but wish I had a friend to share it with. Of course I haven't had much time or opportunities to meet people my own age, so that's part of it. While the family is in Hamburg this weekend for a christening I'm planning on meeting with the family's last au pair, Clare, in Düsseldorf, where she said she'll show me around and introduce me to some people. I'm very excited to meet her and to see Düsseldorf!!
I live in Mönchengladbach, a small town/city about a half hour train ride from Düsseldorf, which I attempted to explore tonight. It was an unsuccessful and fruitless expedition. Inga tried to direct me to an Irish Pub in a part of town called Aldermarket (Oldmarket), and though I did miraculously find the right street and street number it appears it has been turned into a bar/restaurant called "American's" and was, unfortunately, not open for business. There were a few bars open, but they were either too dark and sketchy or too full and overwhelming. It's difficult to walk into a bar when you know that most of the people you encounter probably won't be able to communicate with you. Again, it would be nice to have a friend with whom to brave these challenges.
Besides this failure of a quest for a social experience in Mönchengladbach, I have really enjoyed being here so far. I'm getting along with my family very well, even though I haven't met Daniel, the father, yet. The girls are absolutely lovely and Inga, though she can sometimes be flustered, severe, and strict (a.k.a. German), is very accommodating. I made sure today to keep everything super clean and to be on top of her schedule since yesterday she was a little annoyed with me for not having all the dishes clean after baking cupcakes with the girls and forgetting to put away a game Iuno and I had played together. When she came home from school this afternoon she asked me to make some coffee so she and I could "talk about some things that were on her mind". I was sincerely worried that I had disappointed her again and that she was going to tell me that she wasn't sure I would be right for the job. Instead she gave me a brand new phone and 100 € and we mapped out a weekly schedule together. This woman is totally unpredictable.
It's funny, transitioning from my life in the U.S. to here has not felt very difficult so far. Apart from this evening when I tried to experience life outside the house, I haven't been put into many situations where my lack of German has hindered me. Living with this family hasn't felt too awkward or strange, and it's only my third day of living here. I even overcame jetlag with surprise ease and speed -- I'm already on a normal sleep schedule. The strangest part of all is that I don't feel very homesick yet. I wish I had someone I'm close with to share this experience with, but I'm not aching to be in Boston like I was when I was in L.A.. I do wish I could be in New England to experience the beauty of Autumn, but when I think about it its not painful. I know I'll be back again to experience it next year, most likely. It's also strange that I don't feel strange about not going back to school. I thought I'd be pining for the reliability and structure of the academic setting, but I hardly think about Emerson at all. And when I do, it's always with a sigh of relief that that time is over. I am starting to apply for Graduate school at NYU and CUNY, which makes me feel very excited. It's just weird how easy this has been so far.
So now I'm once again in my lovely room at the top floor of this beautiful home. I hope to start taking a German language course as soon as possible, and I'd also like to find a gym. I don't want to get too fat while I'm here -- though I have been eating very well and very healthily in this house. Inga and Daniel have both mentioned the opportunity of playing for a sports team, so I'm going to look into local basketball leagues I might be able to join. I'd definitely learn some German phrases that way, yah?