Saturday, 19 October 2013

Week Recap: Ups and Downs

Our day started with a simple plan: I was going to go with Malcolm to varsity, so that I knew where to go if I ever wanted to meet him there. So we took the bus. In the wrong direction. So we got out and waited for the bus back. So we got back to our home-stop. And caught another bus, which didn’t stop where it indicated it should have. So we landed up back at our home-stop. So we went inside, got a map, and followed a foresty trail to the stop where we could definitely catch the correct bus. It was then a smooth ride to the campus, and I now know where to go. I then took a bus into town and explored the town in a futile search for shoes. How I miss Schildergasse! I walked all over the town centre and looked around – it isn’t very big but it is quaint and pretty. 

 I bought a teatime snack and found a bench in a pretty spot and crocheted there for a while –it really was as idyllic and lonely as it sounds.

I couldn’t find any shoes that I liked that fit the budget and my needs so I went home. Malcolm got back shortly after, and he’d managed to register at the faculty, but needed to go into town to register at the university. So off we went together, only to find that the office had already closed at 12. Fortunately, I had taken some vouchers with, so we went to the Mensa and had a free hot chocolate and watched what student life is like here... it seems to involve much beer. On our way home, we stopped to buy some cake, which was necessary to celebrate Daddy’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Daddy!

I won’t sugar-coat it. I had a day of intense dislike for Marburg, and wanted nothing more than to leave and go back... anywhere. It started off optimistically, and I was looking forward to going to a cafe run by the church, where women meet for coffee and socailising on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So I headed off, looking forward to meeting people. I found the place, seeing as it isn’t too far away. I walked in, and felt instantly awkward. There were 8 babies crawling around on a blanket, and a lady playing with them, while a group of young women sat together at a table chatting and busy on their phones. There was a lady sitting at a table, and I sat down there, and then realised that actually, it functions like a normal coffee shop. The lady ordered for her and her daughter, while I sat there awkwardly. It was probably less than 10 minutes and I left, feeling completely alone and frustrated at my unrealistic expectations. So I headed to Rewe to buy hot chocolate so that I could go home, crawl into bed, watch How I met Your Mother, crochet and drown my lonely sorrows in liquid chocolate. While standing in the baking isle searching for cocoa and trying to decipher various baking packages that were brown but not cocoa, a man came and said the name of something he was looking for. He showed the name of the product on a paper, and I could see it was something-mehl, but I couldn’t decipher it. I said to him that I’m sorry but I don’t understand and don’t know, which got him in a huff. He went to his wife and said something to her, and she then shouted down the aisle at me that I’m stupid. I should probably mention that I think they were mentally handicapped, and so while I desperately wanted to help the man and I could just pass it off, I was really upset at having somebody shout that at me when they know nothing about me. I walked home, and was really happy to see Malcolm! He was equally frustrated; he had been to register and needed to pay his registration fee, but was 5 euros short and couldn’t remember the pin for our card because he’s never needed to use it, so he’d had to come all the way home to fetch money. So, we got the money he needed and decided to tackle the rest of the morning together – Go team B! We went to the bank to deposit it into the account. We were told we need to pay 12euros as a deposit fee, though it would have been 6 if we had an account there. Not having time to open an account, we paid and rushed back to the office to finish the registration. It went really quick, and Malcolm is now a registered student – which means that as soon as the internet guy here comes, we can finally get internet. So from there, Malcolm went to varsity and I came home. I realised I could only eat a certain amount of chocolate chip cookies before I feel sick, so I went out to be productive. Productivity can be manifested in buying loofahs, washing powder and a broom. I never knew how stupid it feels walking down the road and getting onto a bus with a broom in hand feels until then. My day was brightened somewhat by the guy who was sitting next to me, who asked if I was ok... I’m not sure if I looked like I was going to cry or if it looked like I was supposed to be flying on the broom, but I assured him I was alright, and struck up conversation. Finally, after a room of unfriendliness, being confused by the baking aisle, getting called stupid, paying to pay, getting stomped on by a lady who passed me in the bus, being thoroughly challenged in choosing washing powder, a friendly stranger was a nice turn of events.
But still, I feel like there’s pressure on me to make friends. I’m going to be here for 3 years and need to get to know people, but it really is so hard with no student card or baby. I know it will take time, and I’ll meet people as I start doing more, like hopefully finding a job and a dance studio to join.

Turned into an interesting day. I gave the cafe thing I’d been to the previous day another chance... Christina was there this time and when I walked in she took me over to a table, introduced me to some women and brought me some coffee. So I enjoyed a coffee with these ladies, getting to know Nicole, the mother of two sweet kids. Then, it was time for the moms group to head downstairs. Despite the fact that I have no child, I headed with them and had SO much fun singing songs and playing little games with the four moms and their babies. I felt like a kid again, and felt oddly at home with some of the songs I sang as a child. My spirits were definitely lifted and I left there really happy... especially as one of the moms mentioned that there are no ballet lessons up her in Richtsberg and that the ones in town are expensive. So there might be an opportunity there. Not right now, but maybe in the future.
So from there I left to the bakery to connect to their wifi... though the battery didn’t last long and there were no plugpoints. But, I managed to get some stuff up.


Nothing much interesting happened... just more shopping-scouting so that I could show Malcolm stuff over the weekend. 
There are little things that remind me of PMB, like these two restaurants... 

That evening, Malcolm could have stayed late at varsity for a first year orientation, but it mostly just involved beer so he skipped it and came home instead. Yay! Varsity here really does seem interesting... Malcolm has access to free coffee in his research groups’ room, and there’s beer in the fridge if he wants to some at tea time ;) 


  1. It's those frustrating days where things just don't seem to go well that we're reminded that the expat life is not always glamorous. So glad it got better though and that you're settling in, starting to meet people and getting to know your city. I hope it only continues to get better!!

    1. Indeed, it is not glamorous at all, except maybe to blog about. It is getting better every day, thanks :)

  2. aww, i wanted to jump into the computer and hug you throughout this post. what a terrible tuesday - in my opinion, feeling awkward with all the babies/moms is/was probably worse than being yelled at by that man&his wife in the market. things can only get better, right? have faith :) i'm hoping the best for you.

    1. Aw thanks, it was an awful tuesday! But, it has definitely got a lot better, thank you :) :)

  3. Sounds like a rough day! :( I think you are so brave though to be tackling all this stuff. The beginnings in a new place are always so challenging-being the new kid, finding out how everything works, dealing with finding your new role in a new place. And I totally feel your pain about being the only childless person in the group! Almost all of my Christian friends have kids and it can make it hard to relate. It's rough now, but I'm sure God is creating opportunities for you. Don't lose hope, you've got a lot of ladies in blogland who totally know how you feel! :)

    ps Tandoori resto is pretty good :)

    1. I had such a stable school life and was never really the 'new kid', so this is my first taste of it, and it does suck. I love your "sometimes being an expat sucks" series though, knowing I'm not the only one who finds these things frustrating!
      I'll have to try Tandoori sometime!