You may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a couple weeks. Maybe you even wondered why, and hoped that I would write something (that’s what I like to think at least). I wondered why I didn’t want to post. Why I didn’t have anything to write all of a sudden. Writers block, in a way. Or only thinking about things that I would prefer to write in a journal where the entire world won’t see it. Being the person I am, I don’t just take things for what they are. I have to interpret every little tiny detail of my life (in this case why I didn’t feel like blogging) to determine its potential consequences on my future and that of others.
My conclusion? I’m more than halfway through my time in Germany now. As of today I have been living with my host family for six months (and it’s my half birthday!) so I’m used to the way they live. I’m used to getting around the area. I know what I can and cannot do. I’ve started my internships. I’ve made friends. I’ve had Christmas. And, I’ve been away from the United States long enough that my references are a bit old.
That being said, I would still not consider myself to be completely ‘integrated’ into Germany/German culture. I’m still the Auslander (foreigner) who speaks good German but says ‘what’ a little too often for a real German. And who has an American accent (strangely enough the accent is usually more or less inexistent the first time I talk to people…if only it would stay that way). I still get asked about how it is on the other side of the pond. What I think about our military involvement in this and that. When the primaries are in different states and who is going to win the presidential election. Whether I eat McDonald’s a lot. And so on and so forth. Then again, I guess I should define the word ‘integrated’. If it means I’m in a good mood most of the time and know my way around and have made friends and feel like I have a life here, then yes, I am integrated. It’s just the fact that I’m still a foreigner that makes me feel unintegrated. It’s an odd feeling because in a way I sort of like it. I’m something new and different. I get looks from people that say to me “Wow, I could ask her so many things, but I’m a little shy and concerned that she has an accent because that’s intimidating, plus I have so many things I’m wondering that I don’t even know what I’m wondering”. I am regularly complemented on my ability to speak and understand German. In short, I get more attention because of it. But attention is tiring after a while. There’s a part of me that really wants to go back to my life in southeast suburban Denver where the streets are too wide and the grocery stores are open twenty four hours.
What all that has to do with why I haven’t wanted to write for the past couple weeks is still a bit unclear to me. But I think the longer you live in a place, the less the things that might be weird to a newcomer appear weird. Rather than being the foreigner, I’ve been trying to allow myself to become German. Just for a couple months. Trying to let go of the part of me that is American and trying to embrace the German part (I’ve actually thought sometimes that I would have made a good German, had I been born here. I quite like the lifestyle for the most part). It’s just hard, because, well, I grew up in the United States.