Sunday, April 27, 2008

Being the Newcomer

Last night we had dinner at our friends Dirk + Constanze's apartment. I love visiting with them although I sometimes feel I start to zone out after a late night combined with drinks and endless German. One of the trickiest aspects of learning another language is not behaving the same as you do in your native tongue. My reactions are definitely off - especially if someone tells a joke or has a word play, and I don't speak as much since the conversation flows. Keeping up with that for hours on end takes a lot out of me. We came home around 2 am, which is extremely late for the couple that is usually in bed by midnight. Then we had a hurried morning while Stefan packed his last minute things and loaded up his ipod with movies for the flight.

Today is a bittersweet kind of day. I'm left to enjoy the beautiful weather on my own.

I decided to head to the Prater Insel, which had a Newcomer's get together with loads of helpful and informative booths ranging from consulates, international schools, and insurance, to tourism for Switzerland and India. I picked up plenty of literature to read in hopes of gaining some more knowledge about the city, and a few free pens to jot down my thoughts, which will help pass time while Stefan's gone. I also love the M♥Dich promotion, so I was happy to pick up postcards with stickers on the front. Another clever ad was from the International Herald Tribune using percentages from one to one hundred of statistics around the world. Certain areas were in bold print to create the world. A few of the statistics that it listed are: 4% of the world does not live in its country of birth. 15% of the world lives on less than $1 a day. 50% of the world's languages have been lost in the last six years. 61% of the world's births take place in Asia.

I always have high hopes that are a bit unfair for these types of events. I always envision that there is an enclave of newly married young women and other young people that I simply have yet to run into. Rather than that being the case, it's typically families and couples that are 40+. My ideas of then heading to a beer garden and chatting about life before Munich and in Munich don't come to fruition. Instead I spent the rest of my afternoon tracking Stefan's flight and waiting to hear that he's arrived safely.

It always seems more difficult to be the person that is left behind. I spend time wondering what new and exciting things he's encountering while I have the small reminders that he was just here. I am happy that I have my upcoming trip to get excited about and focus on rather than dwelling on the fact he's not here. The goodbyes never get easier, but they do make the returns that much sweeter.


Nan said...

I hear you about hoping to find that secret group of younger people who don't have jobs and want to spend afternoons talking and drinking coffee or a few beers. Your post made me think of "Leaving New York" by REM - here's the video, if you haven't heard the song:
Hang in there!

Lane said...

I know that feeling Emily! But you are much more proactive and active than a lot of other people in your position (*ahem*!)...

I promise we are going to get busy and plan a GTG when and if I get back to Germany!

JoernandAllison said...

It is difficult to find a group of your own, and I think it is especially difficult in Germany. It sounds like the newcomer's event was way better than any ever in Stuttgart, which are usually more formal "how to navigate" Stuttgart events. Bleh.
You do know a group of newly marrieds (or a certain fairly young girl who has simply been married forever) in Germany. Sadly, we are scattered all over. I second Lane's GTG suggestion. It can be something we all work towards.
Hope the time passes quickly for you and Stefan. It turns out it is also very difficult for the person leaving.
I'm so excited to hear all about your trip!