It’s three days until I fly to Germany. Two, really, because it’s Friday evening and my flight is at an ungodly hour on Monday morning. So far my ‘packing’ consists of several detailed lists (I love lists), complete with (empty) tick boxes, and an assortment of clothes strewn across my bed. The seven weeks since term finished have been a concerted effort to ignore the looming reality of the big move by gallivanting around Europe instead – singing in Cologne Cathedral, sipping Bellini in a venetian palazzo, jumping off a speedboat into Greek sea, listening to a wannabe Beatle in Liverpool – anything to avoid the real pressing issues like where on earth am I going to live and how do I open a bank account and most importantly can I actually justify packing the whole Friends boxset?!
I’m a panicker. Here’s why. (I said I loved lists).
One suitcase. Six months. It doesn’t sound promising. There are so many things to take into account. Office clothes. Normal clothes. Coats and boots for winter (Leipzig in December and January tends to be below zero and snowy). Lots of books (I may not be in Oxford, but there are still reading lists…). A supply of teabags to ease the pain of parting from the land of proper cuppas. (And hopefully, the Friends boxset…)
It’s going to be very strange being away from Oxford and all its familiar faces for a whole year. I know precisely zero people in a 300 mile radius of Leipzig. The thought of making new friends is scary enough for an introvert like me, but doing it in German is a whole other kettle of fish. I have joked about spending the whole six months hiding in a cupboard. I hope that doesn’t become reality. (I will, at least, have six ‘friends’ in Central Perk, accessible via boxset…)
(people I’ll miss: a small selection)
I decided a while ago that I wouldn’t organise accommodation over the internet. I wanted to look round apartments first, to check for any unbearable clashes of curtain and carpet colours, and meet any potential housemates, to make sure they weren’t misogynists/serial killers/bad at washing up. And while I’m still glad I’ll get to do those things, the prospect of turning up and having to flat-hunt straight away is rather scary. (Don’t worry though – I’ve booked an airbnb for two weeks). I also have a list of mind-numbingly boring tasks like opening a bank account and registering with the Bürgerbüro and getting a German sim-card. It’s going to be daunting and exhausting, and I’ll be all by myself.
In spite of all that – in spite of myself, even – I am excited. I’m going to be in a beautiful city. I’ll be able to spend my weekends exploring – Prague and Berlin are both only a few hours away by train, and Dresden is even closer. I’ll be working in the same building as one of the best orchestras in the world, and I’ll be able to hear them practise from my desk in the marketing department. I’m reluctant to arrive expecting the BEST time (whatever that is) to start straight away, but once I have a place to live, a few friends in my address book, and a proper work routine, I think it might turn out to be quite fun.