If you know me it’ll be no surprise that tears streamed down my face as I headed towards security. I hugged my family a long goodbye, and my heart broke as my God- Daughter wished me a safe flight and good luck in my new job.
It wasn’t anything extraordinary really, it was probably about my 10th flight to Germany, but this time it was one way. It was for real. I was finally moving to Germany!
On arrival, I was helped with all four of my suitcases and bags (yes, packing was an issue), as I clearly wasn’t the smooth ‘I can carry this shit’ arrivee that I thought I was. I was greeted by my friend Vera at the airport but adrenaline was doing what it does best and it still didn’t feel real. Vera and I made a rule; no more speaking English together, just Deutsch, Deutsch and more Deutsch. It had been a while since I had spoken this much German and I was mentally tired by the end of the first day, but I’ve been here for a week and a half now and I’m feeling confident that my German is fluent.
So what was next? I could just about squeeze my clothes into my luggage bags let alone any home furnishings, so a trip to IKEA was due. Being a Croydon girl, you can only imagine the excitement as I entered my blue and yellow home from home. Vera laughed at how ridiculously happy I was, but whatever, I was excited and it was IKEA afterall! After couple of hours of um-ing and ah-ing and coming to terms with the fact that Germans don’t have double duvets (!!!), I now had 3 suitcases, a rucksack and two massive blue bags. Woohoo!
I was finally able to move into my flat when reality began to kick in. I cleaned, rearranged furniture, personalised my room with cushions and candles, and then finally, here I was: home sweet home. Home sweet home? I didn’t even know how far I was from the nearest station!
My first day at work wasn’t as daunting as I’d expected. Everyone was friendly and I was often asked ‘do you speak German?’ I replied hesitantly as a Brit who knows how well the Germans speak English and didn’t want to give off the wrong impression, but within no time I had adapted to the mixture of German and English in our international office- pretty cool. I explored and socialised as much as I could during my first week; going to lunch with colleagues and meeting friends of friends, I was determined to make the most of my life long dream and take every opportunity available.
And then… Friday came around, I had no plans and let’s face it, I’m hardly the most well-known person in Frankfurt. With the prospect of a lonely night looming ahead of me, I looked online and remembered that I had been told about InterNations, a society for expats. They had a welcome drinks event on, which started in 5 minutes- perfect, I had better get a move on! I’ll be honest, I was feeling a bit uneasy when I first arrived. I had no idea what this really was and of course, who I would meet. But you know what, after a bit of mingling and mixing, I had a great time. Everyone was shocked that I am from England and can speak German, and I managed to overcome the awkward and inevitable Brexit questions, but I met loads of new people from all different walks of life. I just can’t wait to see where this one takes me!