Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tourist or resident?

It is ridiculous to go so long without internet especially when everyone tell you: oh, you can find this and this online. Yeah, if there was such a thing as free internet in this country, then maybe! There is no free public internet whatsoever, just dusty internet cafes ran by Turkish immigrants.
So today... the woman in charge of housing changes will be in tomorrow only, so i will have to find the time to get there in between all our registration procedures. Thank god i did not have to make any too important decisions today. I opened the bank account, which you have to use for rent and school fees, but did not put any money in (the system was down), but i am happy to delay that moment because I am still very much on the fence about the whole thing. I feel like i want to jump off any moment and go home. I do not want to invest in anything- a table lamp, a towel, - anything! 
I have talked to other people more today (the Russian guy from Moscow, the Uzbek, the Venezuelan couple, the only other native English speaker from Iowa and the Austrian guy, trying to get their take on Tuebingen and settling in and how tiny and boring and inconvenient it is. Most people have a conviction that they came here for a reason and it's going to be their home for next 2 yrs, so they might as well make peace with it. Some even kind of enjoy it, while admitting that its small but cute and some things are a bit more expensive than at home. Hearing this blows my mind and i wish i could see it from their perspective. Maybe it is because those who are a bit older (the couple and Iowa guy) came here with their partners, so no matter where they go, they will feel like they are starting a new life together and not miss home as much because they have each other. I am sure that contributes to a sense of stability and emotional peace. Others who came single are quite young, 22ish, and do not seem to experience this pull towards a home-supported community.

On the other hand, I tried to buy some paper to draw on -no luck. The only store that seemed like it might carry art supplies sold envelopes all sizes and colours. I can't even buy paper!!!! The desperation continues. I have never been so confused in my life. Maybe this is what an English speaker experiences when he comes to Moscow. I bought a map of surrounding area, but i don't understand anything on it! You'd think a map should be universal, but no. I can only rely on my feet because it will be a long time before i understand the bus and train system!
My roommate kind of made an effort today. I've been avoiding everyone in the apartment, leaving early then coming late or staying in my room. But today i came home in daytime and noone was in, so i sat on the balcony enjoying the view. Right now the only thing that gives me hope is that view from our balcony on 3rdloor: the blue-grey hills behind a thick green forest, where i desperately want to go hiking and walking in, but don't quite understand how to get there (hence the unreadable map). 

If i wasn't so tired from walking all over the city every day and getting to my room after 5 pm running on 4-5 hrs of sleep, I'd try it though. So the roommate came around and talked to me, just wanting to find out what they've shown us at the orientation, even asked if i wanted to go jogging with him, to which i had to decline and say I'd rather sleep, considering the jet lag and the state I'm in right now. But he is a decent guy, pre-med school, done 6 yrs and going for another 4 years! Looking at some of these people, you wouldn't guess they are capable of that. His English is very good, actually, but he is just from outside the city. People look at me like I'm crazy when i ask why more people don't speak English everywhere in the city. Their nationalism and the whole” hello, you're in germany” is daunting. It's more common to hear some Russian talk in the crowd somewhere but i don't want to be that desperate stranger who runs up and goes: “oh, you're Russian, how wonderful! Please make me feel better about being alone!” 

As part of the orientation days, they showed us the library today and the thought went through my head: “am i really doing this whole scholar thing again? Why? Wasn't i so very happy to be done and not come back just last December?” I feel like i keep waiting for something to happen. I don't know what exactly. For classes to start? To fill my time and mind so I can replace this worry and agitation with something else?

I've also realized that i could've felt like this anywhere in Europe: Denmark, France, Italy, Spain. Anywhere can be the most beautiful place in the world but if you don't speak the language you could feel foreign and cut off. If you have to live there, that is. You really do see things differently then. When
I have, unfortunately, lost the appetite for these small pleasures. Yeah, there are a lot of outdoor cafes that look so cute and inviting... and you know how i feel? Nauseous. All the time. Ridden with fear, confusion, depression and tiredness. I look at the extensive selections of dairy, cheese, fresh bread at the supermarkets ...even my favourite cherry juices and 1 euro authentic German unfiltered wheat beer and i see how vain it is to think that it will sustain me. That maybe this will make you happy.

I used to get extremely excited whenever mom and I would go to the states. First thing I'd do is go to a supermarket and stare at the wall of cheap liquor as if I were in a museum. Well, yesterday i bought a 2 euro bottle of wine and it's even drinkable with a very decent taste. But there is no joy in drinking anymore. I drink because i want to fall asleep sooner and stop thinking even for a few minutes. 

No comments:

Post a Comment