I think I’m going to like it here.
I’m here. I’m in my halls and my room is beginning to feel like my own. Ramona came and picked Ramsey and I up from the station yesterday, even though we arrived 2 hours earlier than planned. She is absolutely lovely and not only sat around until we sorted everything, helped me carry my things up to my room and translated anything important, she also had a massive welcome basket for me with everything I might need food-wise in the first few days, including proper English breakfast tea! After a short wait, I was given keys to my room and told I could just come down at some point this week to pay my rent and deposit. This was a huge relief. Having heard some horror stories about entering student halls and the bureaucracies involved, it was nice to just get my keys and settle in, knowing I could sort that all out later.
The room itself is basic, of course, but very nice. I am on the 3rd floor (thank you very much to Ramsey for carrying over 50kg of luggage up the stairs for me!) which means I will get fit and I also have a fantastic view. I can’t comment much on other former East German states, but Thueringen is beautiful. Despite being in the capital city, the view out my window is green and goes on for miles. It’s wonderful to lie down on my bed and see the clouds dance across the blue sky. The space I have to call my own is vast with over double the floor space I had in my room in student halls in Cardiff. The double windows cast an abundance of light across the entire room and my bedclothes from home add the colour that the room is missing. The white, bare walls seemed stark when I first arrived and there seemed like a lot of them, but now I’ve unpacked I don’t seem to notice them so much. The room doesn’t feel so overwhelmingly large as when I first arrived and I feel like I could make a home here. On the other hand, the kitchen is very basic and has no natural light. By basic, I mean we have no oven. How will I survive without roast dinners, shepherd’s pie and gluten-free cake?! Oh hell, I’ll have to go all German and get used to bread and cheese and cold meats all the time. What a hard life, eh? The most important thing is, I can still make proper tea and it’s not UHT milk in my fridge either which is a massive bonus!
I am living here with Amy, an English girl I met in Altenberg and Gabija who is a student, orginally from Lithuania. Both are lovely und am meistens, habe ich Deutsch mit Gabija gesprochen. Yesterday, Gabija showed Ramsey and myself around the city. It is compact and we can walk there from where I’m living. It is so German too. The buildings are all stunning and everything looks like something from a movie. It is beautiful.
Today was Wiedervereinigungstag or Reunification Day. This is a bank holiday across Germany and so I (yet again) didn’t have to work today. Ramsey and I got up late, headed into town and ate ice cream and drank coffee in the few shops which were open. Nothing opens on bank holidays or Sundays here which might be a little hard to get used to when I’ve run out of milk and I have to wait until Monday morning for it. Tomorrow, I am meeting my Betreuungslehrer and going to pay my rent, register as a citizen and then open a bank account. I am not sure what the plan is after that: maybe go and visit my school or maybe just go home after a day of bureaucracy. We shall see! Either way, the plan is to go to IKEA tomorrow (I know, I know, I don’t have the luxury of choice right now) and get all the things I need. Unfortunately, that list includes curtains. Privacy isn’t a massive issue this high up but the sunlight in the morning might be!
It’s strange, being in a place that is so very different from home. Erfurt is unlike anywhere I’ve been before, even Frankfurt. It feels special though, like a present I’ve been waiting to open or a secret I am about to discover. By this time tomorrow, I will be a fully fledged German citizen, ready to explore as I see fit. With the end of the Oktoberfest excitement to experience and the beautiful cathedral to see, just tomorrow, I’m sure I have a fantastic year ahead of me. Plus, it’s clearly conker season and that in itself makes me feel at home. I think I’m going to like it here.