I haven’t really felt much inspiration to blog lately - life here has kind of fallen into a nice rhythm, and not too many new things have happened. But, since I realize that even though I know everything that is currently going on in my own life, those of you back in the States or that live far away don’t have the opportunity to spend daily life with me! So despite my aversion to sitting down and writing my thoughts, here I am! (Also, David and I got our film scans back recently, so i’ll intersperse some of those in this post)
Every week, I feel like my German gets better and better. No huge jumps in my skills - just a slow and steady increase of understanding and usable knowledge. And whenever I speak to a German person in German, they always tell me how good my German has gotten in 7 months. It really is amazing how much information one can absorb in that short of a time when you just immerse yourself in learning and experiencing. Finally, the other day, I looked up a video example B1 level English speaker, just to be able to compare the level German I have with the equivalent in English, and I was surprised! Granted, there are differences that could make things sound different to each respective native speaking group (no English learner stresses over which “the” they should’ve used in the phrase they just said), but I’m still proud of myself for the progress I’ve made. I just took my officially recognized B1 level German test last Saturday, so that felt like an accomplishment. I not only felt prepared, but it’s a good feeling when you feel confident in your skills and performance on a test with minimal studying. To me, that makes it feel like all that information is really, truly in my head for good.
My most recent endeavor has been the ever-daunting job search. Already I know that job searching is not on my list of favorite things to do, only now, there’s been an added level of stress when it comes to language. Luckily, Stuttgart has proven to be home to many opportunities for designers, and also luckily I need no extra accreditation to work in the design field in a country other than the United States. My first step was to learn that Germany approaches applying for jobs a little bit different. Instead of the Resume (which I was told always needed to be one page long - no longer, and only with the most important details), here they use what is called a Lebenslauf - basically a selective timeline of my life since high school (of course only with relevant job to what I’m applying for - thank goodness there was no need to put my high school frozen yogurt shop job on there), personal details including hobbies and community involvement, and also personal details such as a photo of myself and my birthplace. And, mine ended up being two full pages, which here, is totally fine. Luckily, cover letters are approached in pretty much the same way, so that wasn’t so much a new thing I had to learn. I started out by writing my cover letter in English and sending that out with applications, but after not receiving as much response from that as I would’ve liked, David and I worked on translating my letter into German with the language skills I currently have. Once I began to send that cover letter out, I received a much better response, and this week I have four interviews with firms I applied to with both the German and English cover letters! I’m very excited to see how the interviews go, and what life in a German design firm is like! All best wishes and prayers for these interviews are most greatly appreciated!
After a bitterly cold spell a few weeks ago, and another bout of illness, it’s now beginning to feel like spring is right around the corner! You can see the birds in our yard daily gathering stick and leaves to build nests with, and every once and a while, you can see Crocuses and miniature Daffodils sprouting up in peoples front yards. Since January, David and I have been planning a vegetable garden for the backyard, and hopefully this upcoming weekend we’ll get to start working on it! I really can’t wait to start getting my hands dirty with the garden work - it’s a nice counterbalance to school and office work. Plus, we get delicious vegetables from the work we put into it!
I realized recently that I’ve only spent time in Germany between the months of September and the beginning of April - through a combination of my first visit here in March/April of 2009, my visit to Berlin and then Stuttgart in the winters of 2015 and 2016, and then the past six months I’ve been here. I’ve also never spent more than a few weeks outside of the Pacific Northwest during the summer, so I have a feeling that this summer will always be memorable to me because it’s my first one here in Germany, and it’s my first one in a completely new place in general. I’m already mentally preparing myself for a warmer and dryer summer than I’m used to. I guess it’s time for me to actually invest in some summer clothes??
While I’ve made many new wonderful friends while here, I’ve also had the privilege to have so many loved ones visit and plan visits to come see me! This fall and winter brought 8 friends to the Stuttgart area, and within the next few months, I get the joy of hosting my cousin Junia, then my parents, and then my best friend Naomi! As well as more meet-ups with other friends from Seattle! I have really been amazed at how natural it has felt whenever a friend from Washington has come to Stuttgart - like meeting up with friends 5,000 miles away from where you first met is a totally normal thing...
I’ve had some people ask me if I’ve done much traveling since I moved here, and they’ve always asked, “why not?”, when I’ve said that I haven’t really done that much yet. Part of it has been due to trying to not spread my funds too thin and being in german class everyday of the week, some of it has been that the sheer effort it takes to integrate into a community and society can at times be a little exhausting (read: VERY exhausting), so also fitting in travel just seems too daunting to begin to tackle. But part of the reason is that I have to every once and a while remind myself that there’s no rush. There’s no need to have the “10 cities in 10 days” mindset, when I have the time to take it slow and just live in the moment, where I am now. And seven months ago, the thought of being here was “traveling”. I haven’t gotten sick of Stuttgart, and I sure don’t plan on growing weary of it anytime soon! There’s a certain comfort in knowing a city and in realizing that what was unfamiliar to you at one time, is now known and better understood.
That’s all I have for now! Sometimes the only hurdle in blogging is just sitting down and letting the words flow freely and not thinking too hard about a theme or worrying about how interested my readers will be. I’m a firm believer that normal isn’t a synonym for boring or unoriginal. So, thank you for reading!
Until next time,
Published by: abbycham in Uncategorized