normal, what’s that?

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, people of all ages!

I must tell you that after 3 years my life is finally starting to normalize. I am finally able to study (Masters of Science, Integrated Natural Resource Management at Humboldt Universitӓt zu Berlin). I have a job (working for a martial arts program) that I really like (although I am now covered in bruises and tweaked my neck a little falling down).


Alas, I still feel a bit crazy. I get these insane mood swings that I find almost impossible to control. I guess it can be a normal part of the cultural transition – according to google.  According to my non-professional opinion, I am still in the negotiation phase of the four phases of cultural acclimation (it is the second phase).

Of course, I am trying desperately to be and do better. I am trying to be happier. I am trying to be positive. I am trying not to be resentful about the past years that I feel like I lost (even though I know it was my choice to come here).

And the only way to go is forward is by recognizing my weaknesses and trying to better myself. I have been super motivated by the blogs All-Around Better Me and The Barefoot Budget. They seem to be people with plans and maybe I am so frustrated right now because I do not have a plan. I am just sort of floating without any sort of end goal. So, my first two goals that I am making are:

  1. Prepare meals for the coming week. I am now at the university every day at 8 am and sometimes do not get home until 10:30. I eat crappy food and then feel crappy, so that needs to change. Plus, working for the martial arts program, I am doing about 9 hours of sport courses each week. My body needs to be properly fueled.  Waffle cookies and bananas are not proper fuel.  This will have to start in the new year because I fly home in a few days and there are things that need to be eaten before I leave (I can’t imagine my fella cooking much when I am gone)
  2. Write out goals for 6 Months, 1 year, 2 years and 5 years. I do not think I can think past the 5 year point, so 5 years seems like a good start.  I have not started this yet, but I have to because I sort of just want to know where I am going.

Some other habits that I am starting to get the hang of are

  • Making breakfast ahead of time (I have a freezer full of apple cinnamon muffins and overnight oatmeal is my new best friend)
  • Separating the garbage (bio, paper, plastic/metal {no idea why these bins are mixed here} and glass), organizing the apartment and
  • Not being “afraid” to bring stuff I found on the street home if I like it even though my significant other looks down at used goods (I hate supporting the throw away culture we love so much in the western world).  I ended up finding a gorgeous rug, a brand new sweater and a wicker bin for our paper.  Woohoo!

It is amazing how much time one has to think about other things in life when no worrying about things like being arrested for visa issues and whether or not you will ever be able to find a job.  It is almost like I can breathe again.  Amazing and it may even be that I a stronger person now for enduring the challenges life threw at me throughout the past few years.




4 thoughts on “normal, what’s that?

  1. Aw, thanks for the mention 🙂 I may have goals, but I definitely don’t have my shit together, haha. I’m glad you have gotten some of the acclimation issues under control. I can’t imagine how hard that’s been. It’s just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – if you don’t feel secure about your basic needs like homeplace and employment, it’s impossible to move forward with other things in your life. It’s a huge accomplishment to have gotten into school and found a job! (The job sounds awesome) You just gotta focus on those steps, even though they seem basic, and celebrate yourself!!

    1. Thanks for the support! And you are totally right – I was just sort of stuck. But, I am feeling happier every day and looking forward to the future which is something that I had not done for a long time. Also, you may not think you have your shit together, but it looks like you are getting there and doing it on your terms. I find that super awesome.

  2. Thank you also for the mention. As Christine mentions, I also may have goals, but I regularly don’t follow thru or necessarily succeed at them…
    But I can’t imagine what you’ve been going thru, so don’t be hard on yourself and definitely make sure to take a moment every day to enjoy the things that are going well for you and focus on those. I read a book one time that likened life challenges to storm clouds. They all eventually pass, and the sun that shines after a storm is that much more beautiful.

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