It's been TWO YEARS since I moved to Germany!! Can you believe it? I certainly can't!
Ironically, this anniversary came and went during my month-long visit to the United States, so I don't know if I can official say I've lived in Germany for two years yet. It happened over the weekend, on Sunday, September 6th, without much notice on my part. I was attending a wedding so I clearly had more pressing things on my mind than this milestone, but I didn't want to let my two-year "Germaniversary" pass without some recognition and a recap of this past year.
The last twelve months have involved a lot of travel, a lot of changes, and a lot of hard work. I went from seasoned au pair to world traveler to grad student in a span of less than six months. I visited five countries, wrote three university applications, tutored more than a dozen students, moved four times (depending on your definition of "moving"), and completed the first semester of my Master's degree with average to very good grades. Writing it all out, I can't believe that all of this has happened just in the past year!
As with last year's recap, here are some photos showing where I've been and what I've been up to in the past twelve months (links in the photo descriptions connect to blog posts about the place/topic). I don't have pictures of myself for all of these places, but where those are lacking I've chosen a nice picture anyway:
|Final weeks as an au pair in Karlsruhe, Germany, September 2014|
|Baden-Baden, Germany, September 2014|
|Munich, Germany, October 2014|
|Amsterdam, Netherlands, October 2014|
|Paris, France, November 2014|
|Barcelona, Spain, November 2014|
|Sevilla, Spain, November 2014 (I somehow don't have any pictures of myself from this trip)|
|Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida, USA, December 2014|
|Bad Wurzach, Germany, March 2015|
|Hildesheim, Germany, ongoing (I live there!)|
|Hannover, Germany, May 2015 (and another visit in August 2015)|
|Meersburg/Constance, Germany, May 2015|
|Burlington, Vermont, USA, August 2015|
|Mount Dora, Florida, USA, September 2015|
...and all that isn't even counting another trip to Berlin, multiple trips to Hamburg, visits to Schloss Marienburg and Schloss Derneburg, visiting my dad in Massachusetts, my cousin's wedding in Virginia, a friend's wedding in Washington, D.C., and other places I've visited in Florida with my mom, including two days at Walt Disney World (shout-out and huge thanks to Phil for the guest pass and for hanging out with us!).
As with last year, this year has been full of exploration and discoveries about my adopted home and about myself. I've proved to myself that I really can conduct my entire life in German, even without a safety net of other native English speakers around me. I've pushed my language abilities farther than ever, and studying and socializing in German has gotten a little easier every day. (Let's see what happens when I head back to Germany next week after more than a month of speaking only English!) I even passed all of my classes my first semester, which not all German students can say. I've also realized that I really like tutoring and that, as far as part-time jobs go, it can be fairly lucrative.
When I return to Germany and begin my second semester of grad school, I hope to push myself to accomplish the same as last semester and more. My plan is to take more classes, develop my social relationships, take on more tutoring students, and maybe find a part-time job on campus (schedule permitting). Last semester I decided to give myself some time and space to adjust to my new surroundings and not stress myself out by taking on too many obligations, but now that I know I can make it as a German student it's time to kick next semester into high gear!