Well, I’ve officially been in Dresden for 2 weeks! It’s crazy how time can simultaneously fly and crawl… it seems like I’ve been here both forever and for no time at all.
I’ve accomplished a lot, relatively, in the 2 weeks I’ve been here already. As far as bureaucracy goes (and you know that’s the best part of moving to Germany), I have registered as a resident of the city, matriculated as a student at the university, and bought a year-long museum pass (a new accomplishment as of today!).
And I’ve seen some sights, too: walked around the Altstadt quite a bit, eaten some street food, visited some beautiful churches, seen the Grosse Garten with my roommate, bought some much-needed winter accessories because the weather is already starting to get cold. This week, I went to the opera house with my host parents to see a performance of the symphony orchestra. (We agreed that the pieces they played were kind of weird, but the opera house itself is stunning, and I like classical music concerts in that they give me time to think, while feeling classy.)
I am getting very excited about living here for the next 10 months. This is a wonderful city, and I’m so glad I’ve been placed here. I’m pumped to start meeting people, taking classes, and doing my research. I am already starting to get a feel of how to get around in Dresden via the public transport, and I have a list of things to see while I’m here. (I created a new page on the blog to keep track of everything!) I knew next to nothing about this city before I got here, and I feel up to the challenge of learning as much as possible during the next year!!
However, I am kind of in a state of limbo. I haven’t had tooo much to do ever since I got myself registered and matriculated and all that. Of course, there is the thing of exploring the city, which I have done in moderate amounts. But it’s been hard thus far to force myself out to do things. The good news is that I have been able to coax myself enough to get to the free Friday exhibits at the Stadtmuseum, and to walk around the Herbstmarkt a few times, and to try out a restaurant near city hall when I was having a serious craving for Indian food.
It’s one thing to be on vacation and see as many sights as possible. But it’s totally another to be in a new city where you know about 4 people total, already out of your comfort zone due to language and cultural differences, and then muster enough energy to go to 3 museums this afternoon, or whatever. This is something I already knew, but had maybe forgotten the severity of.
So, yeah, I’m really out of my element. But that’s the point of moving abroad for a year, I guess. I’m not homesick in the sense of “I’d rather be in Texas right now.” But I am homesick in the sense of “Home is easy and I already know how to live there, and here it’s uncomfortable and new and I still don’t know what’s going on.” I can live with that, because it gives me room to grow! I’m setting myself up for success by getting to know the city, and getting all the student discounts for train fare and museum entrance fees ahead of time. (Also, because this didn’t fit anywhere else: I am getting very excited because I can eat in the University Mensa, which was voted the best in Germany, for 3 Euro per meal!! Yay for staying on budget and not needing to cook every day!)
The whirlwind is already beginning: tomorrow is Germany’s big state holiday celebrating the reunification in 1990, so I’m going hiking in the Sächsische Schweiz. Friday is foreign student orientation at the University, and then I’m leaving for a weekend in Prague!! And Tuesday, I’m going to Berlin to see my dad, who will be there speaking at a conference with Bill Clinton (both cool and hilarious). Granted, then I will still have about 10 days before classes and research starts, but things are starting to pick up!! I can feel it. Stay tuned.