I’ve known for some time that a move to Germany was a very real possibility. My fiancé, Jan, is a German citizen here on a work Visa. We’ve known for some time that, someday, Germany would be our permanent home.
It seemed so far off, though, that I didn’t really worry too much about what such a change would really mean. This was especially true when we thought he might extend the contract one more year, meaning we would be here until October 2018. Now, we may be leaving as early as this May, but certainly no later than the beginning of this October.
It’s a strange feeling, going from believing that I had an extra year in the U.S., to finding out I may actually have even less time than was originally planned. Don’t get me wrong: I’m excited for the move, and I believe it’s the right choice for both of us. Although I am concerned about the rising popularity of the AFD, I still believe Germany is a much better fit than the U.S. for a progressive like myself.
I would be lying, though, if I said I wasn’t nervous.
Now, obviously, the reasons why I’m anxious could fill a list a mile long. For the most part, however, I know that they’re temporary concerns that will be assuaged over the long-term. For example, I know that I will eventually become fluent in German; sure, it’s taking me longer than I had anticipated, but I am confident that I will get there sooner than later. I also know that the move will force me to learn much faster out of necessity; a fact that ties my stomach into knots as I think about the unavoidable embarrassing situations ahead of me, but I can still tell myself that (eventually) it will all turn out for the best.
My primary fear is that I will not be able to make any new friends in Germany, and I will thus end up bored and lonely for the rest of my days. That might sound a bit melodramatic to some, but I’ve only recently gotten past many of my social anxieties, and just thinking about starting over has been keeping me up at night, as of late.
Making friends as an adult is hard. Making them when you’re at the age most people have kids is, well, harder. I’m happy to make friends with people who have kids, but that doesn’t mean they’re looking for new friends; their lives are much busier, and it’s probably hard enough just to maintain the friendships they already have. Now, obviously, I know that not everyone my age has a kid, but that still doesn’t mean the child-free are looking for new friendships, either.
Logically, I know that I really am being dramatic If I can make friends after moving to the metro Detroit area, then I can surely make them in a new country. Yes, it will likely be harder due to things like language and cultural differences, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If other people can make friends in foreign countries, surely even I can do it if I put forth some effort.
…but it’s still scary, nonetheless.
I’m not even going to get into my fears about what will happen to the friendships I’ve recently made here in the U.S. I keep trying to tell myself that we will all remain in touch, but I also know that, deep down, that may only be over Facebook. That, of course, is no one’s fault; flights are expensive, and even though I do plan to come back and visit, it’s a bit cost-prohibitive to rack up frequent flier miles.
So, I want to focus on the good! I really enjoyed the two weeks I spent in Germany over Christmas break in 2015, and although I know a vacation is far different than actually living somewhere, I am looking forward to exploring the country, as well as the rest of Europe.
And even if I don’t, in fact, make a single new friend, I will never really be lonely as long as I have Jan by my side. Regardless of how worried I may be about some of the challenges I will face after we move, I am still excited for what will, undoubtedly, be a very exciting chapter in our lives.