My year in Germany slowly came to the end. Today I am flying back home, which makes me happy and sad at the same time. This was a significant year in many senses, so I decided to put a list of changes I noticed in myself after living in Germany.
1. I started sorting my garbage. In Ukraine I would never care about it, but in Germany it is one of the first things you learn when you move here. Green, yellow, brown, gray, blue bins. One for plastic, one for paper, one for general waste, one for organic waste. Glass is sorted by color. Some plastic bottles are refundable, other ones land in the trash. To tell a truth, I am still confused a lot of times when I need to get rid of some random stuff.
2. I started loving public transport. At home I would avoid using public transport and walk anytime I could. German public transport is pretty awesome and reliable. I love checking my next connection in a mobile app, going to bus stop exactly on time and being sure that bus arrives when it should. Well, most of the times. I still remember how horrified I was when I first time took last possible tram home. The tram was few minutes late, which meant I would not be able to catch the bus going to quite a remote area where I lived. To my big delight, the bus was waiting at the bus stop, which is totally normal as I learned later. Another big like from me is for night traffic on Friday and Saturday night, which means you don’t have to splurge on taxi if you party late.
3. Eating healthier. Here many probably will not agree with what I mean by healthier. In Germany, I started eating much more meat and bread than I used to eat at home. Bread for breakfast almost every day, sometimes also for dinner. Meat for lunch every other day. Why do I think it is still healthy? Because it all came along with a lot more of vegetables, fruits and berries. The balance of protein, fats and carbs must be really good, because I didn’t gain weight, even though it felt like I was eating more than before. Another good thing – set meal times. Everyone knows how important it is to eat meals at the same time every day, but this was the goal I couldn’t achieve in years.
4. I don’t hate cooking anymore. One reason for this is this Thermomix. This advanced kitchen appliance turns cooking in a play. You mostly need to press buttons and put ingredients inside, all the rest Thermomix does for you. And it is always tasty in the end. I really want to have this one in the future.
5. I am not afraid of having kids anymore. Not like I was really afraid before. Rather curious how different life is when you have a family. I could not understand how you can still have a fun life when you have little kids you need to take care of 24 hours a day. I also didn’t imagine how you can travel with babies and toddlers and not get crazy. After a year living in a family with two kids, I realized that this life is also nice. You don’t do crazy things you were able to do before having a family, but you get to do lots of other fun things. And you don’t necessarily need to sacrifice your hobbies, interests a job for kids, there is a way to combine it all and live happily.
6. I learned to ride a bicycle properly. I occasionally went on bike tours in Ukraine, but it was in Germany for the first time when I started riding a bike in the city. It was really scary at first. I had to deal with panic riding next to cars on the road. In addition to that, I don’t have a driving license and I don’t know traffic rules for cars. Now that I overcame fear and learned how to behave properly on the road, I do enjoy biking in the city same as in nature.
7. Talking more to strangers. Have you ever heard that Germans are a friendly nation? Back home I remember this stereotype about Germans being quite closed and not very talk active. I was ready not to be very welcomed. However, this stereotype proved to be totally wrong to me. Maybe I’m extremely lucky to meet nice people, or people here in South are different than in other parts of Germany, but I mastered a small talk this year.
8. I feel younger than ever before. Although I also didn’t care much about my age before, in Germany I felt especially young. Many people here in my age still studying and are surprised to hear that I already graduated. They react totally understandable when I say that I am not sure yet what I want to do in my life. I keep hearing from people in their mid-30ies that their life became somehow sorted out to the end of their twenties, which makes me feel really good. I learned to focus on enjoying the moment instead of planning my life 5 years ahead.
9. Feeling more free in general – free to travel (no borders, yeah), free to drink in public spaces (oh I love that one), free to go back home or stay here a bit more. I love the feeling of passing country borders without being checked and I traveled this year more than ever before in my life. I am not a big drinker, but I do enjoy having a drink or two with friends somewhere in a nice place like park, near the lake or just on the street. I know it’s normal to feel this freedom when you are moving to a new place. No one knows you here, you can be whoever you want. You can leave if you don’t like this place, you can stay if you feel good here. And I do feel good in Germany, that’s why I am staying a little bit more.