Looking back on my exchange so far, I think I've really done a good job of getting the most out of my time here. Without giving it a second thought, some people might think that means I've travelled all around Europe or taken a trip every other weekend. However, what that means to me is that I have lived my life here in such a way that it doesn't feel like vacation, but instead, simply as if I am living my life in Germany instead of in the US.
This scholarship has given me this opportunity to live my life in Germany and it is an opportunity few people ever receive. I think one of the biggest lessons I have learned this year is how different it is to experience a country as a tourist, or on a short term exchange, and to experience a country as someone living there and taking part in day to day society.
A few months into the year, I thought that meant a country somewhat lost its charm. What used to be something new and exciting became typical as it transformed from a dream to real life. Now that my exchange year is entering its last quarter, I am starting to realize that everything being so real makes it even more beautiful, as I have the opportunity to appreciate the smaller things in life.
After having my view of Germany radically changed, I am finally starting to feel like it is home here and as if I was going to be spending the rest of my life here instead of in the US. The next few months in this regard are offering a sort of dilemma. On the one hand, I have a great number of events planned from a sailing trip on the Baltic Sea, to a concert with one of my favorite German artists, but yet, despite all these exciting events, I am a bit afraid for the next months to come, because I know that along with all these great times comes an ever nearing departure date.
In conclusion, I'd like to share a question my math teacher asked me a few weeks back. He said, "Noah, are you looking forward to going back?" I said "No, but when the time comes, I think I'll be ready." Just like I tried not to dwell on my life in the US when I first arrived here in Germany, I think it is important that wherever life sends me, whether I like it or not, that I focus on living in the moment and appreciating all the beauty around me that I possibly can.
Photo is of a friend's backyard. We talked and enjoyed the beautiful spring weather during our lunch break.
I am Ric. The short name of my name. In this country is necessary to have a short name. I don't know if it is because this is a friendly country or a lazy one. Locals choose the second option.
First of all, can you do a favour for me? Would you tell me if you find a grammar or spelling mistake? my mother language is not English. You will notice it. Although I've been living here for more than 2 years, I have to improve many things.
After my little introduction, I want to tell you that I am in trouble. The name of this blog makes you think I am a tanned man, with a nice blonde unkempt long hair, with a backpack, living near the beach and driving an old van. That is my problem... I am in my 30s. I am a physician. I am studying a PhD and I am bald. I live near the beach but, of course, I do not have time to go and have a tan colour! (Ok, possibly I have time, but I don't use it to go to the beach. Instead, I am willing to go home to have a glass of wine with my food and to enjoy my bed using my iPhone for tweeting).
I believe that an adventurer has many stories....Many interesting, risky, sexy, strange, funny, secret stories. I am an adventurer although people don't see me as that.
After many months of talking about it, last weekend the Ben and I took a big step. We finally started tackling the boxes and boxes of stuff we’ve had sitting in the garage since we moved. You can learn a lot about yourself by approaching a project such as this from a mindfulness perspective. As you clean through the clutter, you are forced to consider your motives for collecting all this stuff in the first place. The thoughts and feelings that came up for me were rather enlightening.
At one point in my life, I owed tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt. While I’m not particularly proud of that fact, I am proud that over the last few years I have managed to dig myself out of the hole (with the help of a budget and a supportive husband) and I am now living debt-free. Looking at all those boxes of stuff took me back into that consumerist headspace where I bought what I wanted, but not necessarily what I needed. I realized a couple of things;
1. When I was younger I didn’t really know myself, so I tried on a lot of different personas to see if they fit. This also meant buying a lot of accessories to go along with each new reinvention; was I a raver? A back-packer? A snow boarder? A kick boxer? I was all of these, for a minute. But ultimately I abandoned most of these identities as I figured out what really mattered to me. Some of the stuff in boxes was like a veritable snake skin of youth I had shed across the years as I came into my own. Interesting to consider, but no longer needed in my current life.
2. I realize I sometimes buy things for the person I want to be, not the person I actually am. Exercise equipment purchased for that awesome athlete I wish I was, but am really not, is a prime example of this.
3. This is a rough one to admit, but I realized I’ve also bought things for praise and status. Having a high-end bag, awesome new outfit or sexy designer shoe can get you a lot of compliments. If you’re basing your self-worth on external feedback, this might make you feel good for a minute. And it did. But I’m not sure this works for me anymore.