Above you can see the fruits of my packing labour, and I promise not to get all sappy and say I’ve packed my life into a car boot’s worth of stuff. I mean, it’s patently untrue, ’cause my friends and family wouldn’t fit in. (Okay, yes, it’s the tiniest bit sappy to insinuate that my friends and family are my life, but I’m allowed a little bit of cheese. I am moving abroad for 8 months.)
And yes, you read that right. A car boot’s worth of stuff. That’s right folks, I’m driving to Germany. And by I, I mean my Dad. Roadtrip seems the best way to start my year abroad, even if it means taking my life in my hands as Dad tries to drive on the wrong side of the road. I’m dreading roundabouts.
But back to packing. I do not travel light, especially when moving somewhere. We have a seven seater car and when I move into uni, I fill the entire car with stuff. I guess it helps that I’m not taking books to Germany. (Don’t worry, my e-reader is primed and full of books I’ve not read yet.) So the scene above is actually quite good for me. Also bear in mind that I’m taking bedding with me. It’s vacuum packed but it still takes up space. And a whole box of tea.
But tons of stuff or not, this is it. Heading to the continent tomorrow. Don’t wait up.
Dad has informed me that it’s 16 weeks till Christmas, and though it seems way too early to know this, Christmas has been mentioned so many times this week.
It has been a week of running around town, writing lists on my arm of things I absolutely must not forget, and trying to say goodbye to friends and family. The last of these sounds easy, and in theory, yes, all I need to do is see them, hug them and say bye.
Hasn’t gone quite that smoothly though. I said bye to my cousins about three times, had to stagger seeing my friends because apparently they have lives and stuff to do (Who knew?). And saying goodbye is hard, you know?
I have got it down to an art now though. You say goodbye about 5 million times, promise to skype all the time with the pre warning that I’m terrible at skype, say you’ll see them at Christmas. And then prevaricate and do it all over again ad nauseam until one of you really has to go.
And it’s sad, you know. Family is family and my friends are like my family, and saying goodbye for three months is hard .
But rather than get upset about it, I have to go and start packing, because otherwise I can’t go out later and say bye to more people. But if you want to steal my patented method of bidding farewell, feel free. Though you’re gonna have to say “copyright Kat Harris” at the end.
I asked my boss for the next 8 months, aka the headteacher at the school I’m working at, whether there’s a dress code, and as it turns out there’s not. Most people wear jeans, which excellent news for me, bearing in mind I live in my jeans. Jeans and dresses, that’s me.
However, in Thüringen (the state I’m going to be living in) it apparently gets cold in September, and it can be snowing from October. This is somewhat disconcerting, bearing in mind in England we’re lucky if we get snow at all. So I have gone on a mad dash to buy warm clothes.
This means I’ve been trying on jumpers in shops without air conditioning while it’s still warm, because the weather’s suddenly remembered it’s still summer. Which is even less fun than it sounds.
But I’m more excited about Germany now. The prospect of real snow in a country where they can cope with snow is making me look forward to it, for the first time in a good while. And the collection of jumpers piled around me is making the fact that a week on Sunday I’m leaving for a far flung place more real. And more than a little warm.
I’m starting my year abroad on 1st September 2013. It’s part of my course at university, because I do German Studies, so surprise, surprise, I’m headed to Germany in a little over a week.
Work is sorted (I’m going to be an English TA in a primary school) and my accommodation is similarly organised (I’m sharing a flat with two other people at the university in the town). So why has terror and panic set in?
I think it’s because I don’t know anyone out there. By which I mean, I know people in Germany but the closest to me will still be two hours away by public transport. And I know that due to German fantastischness the public transport is generally pretty good – I’m going to ignore the time I was stuck on a train in the middle of nowhere for five hours because the electricity stopped working – that visiting people probably won’t be difficult. But it’s not quite the same as knowing people who’ll be in the same area as me.
And speaking of the area that I’m going to be in, I can’t Google street view it, because Google street view hasn’t been there yet. When was the last time I went anywhere unknown without having Google street viewed it first? A very long time ago, that’s when. So I have no idea what my accommodation looks like or even the town in general, other than the fact that it’s small and forest-y. I’m not kidding, I suspect that in winter it looks like Narnia. Which is no bad thing.
I think what the panic boils down to is:
1) I am terrible at keeping in contact with people via the internet, or phones or letters or even carrier pigeons.
2) I’m going to have to make a whole load of new friends, and I only did that two years ago, do I really have to start from scratch all over again?
3) I don’t know what my town looks like. At all. And Google could be lying about the ice cream parlour.
I think what I’m going to do is squash the panic down and supress it by being excited about the fact that I’m going to have to buy new jumpers. Gets mighty cold in Germany you know. And if it does in fact look like Narnia, I’m going to have to get used to the always cold but never Christmas thing.