So it’s been a week and despite having the privilege of basking in an empty house while my host family work and study, there have been a few testing things to get to grips with.
1). Language is the most obvious point that springs to mind. The past few days have brutally demonstrated to me that whilst an A Level in German may equip you to debate literary techniques, it really can’t help you discuss Minecraft installation, or tell an 8 year old to get moving when they outright refuse to come home with you. Still, there are the arts of smiling excitedly, nodding vigorously and using your baking as a bribe!
What I’ve also realised, is that despite understanding most of what is said to me, there just isn’t space in my brain to withhold any of it. I’ve successfully forgotten the names of nearly everyone I’ve been introduced to, and have become convinced that one neighbour is absolutely just the brunette version of another blonde neighbour.
2). Next I’m adjusting to life with a pet in the house. We’re talking about a cat with too much fluff for it’s own good! I should probably try harder to be more reasonable, but I’ve twice found it sat on the kitchen worktops after roaming the muddy garden and I found that hard to deal with. It’s an intelligent cat though and always surprises me by quietly appearing out of nowhere! Today it pooed on the bathroom floor when I had only just cleaned the whole room. Deep breaths, Claudia.
3). I can also report many exciting adventures on the public transport. Already I’ve racked up a count of four missed buses and accidentally caught a regional express train. The clue really is in the name: by the time I worked out it was the wrong train, I’d travelled all the way round the north of Berlin, and the train didn’t stop for another half an hour. I alighted in Königs Wusterhausen, like an Aussie arriving in a Russian winter and was then faced with the prospect of trying to Schwarzenfahren my way back to the right place. It was a good five hours all up!
On another note, I am really enjoying the suburb, it’s easily accessible to the city, but is really just a village, with a lake to swim in in summer. The next place, Spandau, has a much rougher feel to it, it is grimy, busy and you keep yourself to yourself. On Sunday I got off the S-Bahn and got back on the next train that came along, because I felt so uncomfortable next to the person who sat down next to me. Certainly here there aren’t the sunny, no worries vibes of Sydney, and as a non native, nineteen year old, I’m super conscious of keeping my wits about me.
4). How do you go about getting used to eating dinner at lunch and lunch at dinner? It is so disorientating. At lunchtime I bear in mind the prospect of having pretty much a slice of bread and a cucumber for dinner, and try and eat more than I would usually. It’s not really working, because the whole time I’m so hungry that I can barely eat much at all. We’ll have to work on this one…
5). Enough of what will probably sound like moaning. Alles in Ordnung, really. As I finish writing this, I’m thinking of heaps more funny and awkward things I could write about (eg. how I spent my weekend walking aimlessly round the city alone and how host mum has told me just to chuck my clothes in the basket like the kids and that hostdad will wash them – not used to that), but I could go on forever, so bis bald!