10 September, 2013

I thought I was immune to jetlag. I guess not.

I'm writing this post partially to keep myself awake. In an effort to adjust more quickly to the 6 hour time difference between the US and Germany, so far I've successfully not taken any naps, even though sometimes all I want to do is fall asleep. I seem to be getting tired in the middle of the afternoon, but then when it comes time to go to bed at night I can't sleep. Saturday night I didn't fall asleep until 2:00am, and Sunday night it was close to 1:00am (despite being in bed at midnight).

The past few days have thrown a lot of new information at me. Arriving in a new country, moving into someone else's house, learning my au pair duties... it's a lot to take in all at once. But let me back up and start from where I left off before, which was the Boston airport, safely recovered from my near-tragedy.

My flights were fairly uneventful (I had a layover in Reykjavik; my only comment about Reykjavik is that the airport is really cold). I remembered from my previous flights to Germany that Icelandair, the airline I flew with, doesn't serve food on their transatlantic flights, so I brought food with me, but I was almost too nervous to eat it. I tried to sleep on the first flight, but my attempts to sleep went even more poorly than my attempts to eat. I think I slept for less than an hour on the first flight, and I slept fitfully for most of the second flight.

When I landed in Frankfurt, I felt the craziest mix of excitement and anxiety that I've probably ever felt in my life. Most of this was due to the fact that I knew Maxim was waiting for me inside the airport, and I just wanted to see him as quickly as possible. Some of the anxiety was (obviously) due to knowing that I would be in the this strange country for an entire year, but I was not thinking much past the next 24 hours that I would get to spend with Maxim. Taxiing from the runway to the airport seemed to take forever, as did getting my luggage at the baggage claim, but finally, FINALLY I got to hug Maxim again. I never wanted to let go.

We drove back to Maxim's apartment in Karlsruhe, and I stayed there until the next day (Saturday), which is when I moved into my host family's house. Even though I had met them on Skype before, it was still different meeting them in person. When I arrived, Tatjana (the mother) was there and so were the girls, Annika (14) and Clara (12). I got settled in, we had lunch, and then the girls and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. (Actually Annika and I walked, Clara unicycled.) They showed me the train stops that are near their house (there are two stops which serve different train lines so it's easy to get anywhere in the city I want), the nearby sports complex and pool (I might consider getting a membership), their school, and the small shopping center. When we got back I was exhausted, but I didn't want to fall asleep before dark so I watched some TV to stay awake. Then it was time for dinner, I met Ulrich (the father), and after dinner I watched Pirates of the Caribbean with the girls. By then it was 10:50, so I got ready for bed, and finally fell asleep at 2:00am (stupid jetlag!).

Sunday I slept super late, and didn't have "breakfast" until noon. That afternoon I took the train into the city with Tatjana and she showed me where the Volkshochschule (the school where I will be taking German classes) is. We walked around a bit more and saw the libraries that are downtown, had a soda at the cafe outside the castle (yes, there's a castle, I'll put up pictures later), and then walked home. It took us a long time to walk home because there is construction all over the city and the path we were going to take had a huge chunk of it taken out. We had to take the long way around, so I still don't have the best idea of where to actually walk/bike to get downtown. Oh well, I'm sure I'll figure it out.

Monday was my first real day of au-pairing. I went out in the morning and got home later than I expected, so when I got there the girls were already home from school (although in my defense they came home earlier than I expected). We had lunch together (one of my main duties is making lunch for the girls), and after Clara had done her homework I spent the rest of the afternoon playing cards with her. I taught her how to play spit and rummy (or my version of rummy, at least) and she really enjoyed both. Then when Ulrich came home we had dinner, and after dinner I went to Maxim's house to spend time with him and a few of his friends.

And here I am on Tuesday afternoon. I slept in again today, took a quick walk around the neighborhood to time how long it takes to walk to one of the train stops, and had lunch with the girls. They have classes again after lunch today so I have a little time to myself now to finish this post.

Other than the simply chronological narrative that has taken up most of this post, there are a few more developments that I'm excited about, and some upcoming things that I still have to do that I'm nervous about.
--Developments: As of yesterday I have a German phone number and can call, text, and use mobile data in Germany without huge fees. (Sorry, USA, I'll have to communicate with you via Facebook and email from now on. Also, my American phone number will soon no longer be mine, so beware.) Also, I now have wifi in my room, thanks to Maxim and his spare wireless router.
--Upcoming things: I still have to register with the city to tell them that I actually live here, and I'm not exactly sure what that requires. I know I have to go to an office somewhere, but I don't know where or when I need to do that. I also have to sign up for German classes, which I want to do soon, and I need to apply for my visa. I will of course post details about these things as they happen.

This was a long post and took a long time to write--two days to be exact. Until next time...

No comments :

Post a Comment