German Word of the Day:
(a) n. f.; neighborhood, area, vicinity
(b) adj.; nearby, close
(c) v.; to become close (to someone)
Well, I’m here.
On Friday afternoon (though it felt like morning to me) I arrived in the town of Rodenberg, Germany. A few pointers about the area:
- They speak German here. This can make communicating a bit difficult.
- Everyone is very blond.
- You will have to get used to eating pastries and Nutella. (This shouldn’t be too hard.)
Still, waking up 4,000 miles from home has been mind-boggling. Every day I see things that I’ve never seen before. At dinner, I think I look ridiculous as I struggle to eat with my fork in my left hand. The first time I got on my bike, I immediately fell off because the chain and brakes are set up a different way than they were on my old bike. And all of it set against a background of words that I’ve never heard and can’t understand. It’s really difficult. But it’s possible. In fact, adapting to a new environment goes surprisingly fast – because it has to. When you’re away from everything you know, you need to create a connection to something, someone, or someplace, and you find that you’re able to. If you’re wondering what’s so unique about international exchange programs, perhaps it’s this: if you want to really get immersed in a culture, you have to let go of your safety rope. You have to be wholly dependent on the people, places and language of this new life. When you need to learn, you do.
Yesterday I headed out to explore the Nähe. The city of Rodenberg is like a little German fairy tale town. Tiny herds of sheep and goats and flocks of chickens and ducks graze in pastures next to houses with red-tiled roofs. Here are a few pictures:
This environment is a big change from the cityscape that I’m used to, but so far it’s looking pretty good! So, for now, Tschuss! I’ve got some goats to introduce myself to.