Visiting and moving to a place is definitely a huge difference! After travelling for 30 hours, I arrived in Germany. I have to say, the first two days had been a very overwhelming experience and it went a little like this…
...I got on the plane even though I had cold feet because I knew in my heart that if I did not go on this exchange, I will look back and really regret that I did not take this opportunity. So, 10 hours to Singapore, a 6 hour layover at Changi, and another 12 hours flight from Singapore, I stepped into Germany, tired and just longing to get to my room and crash on the bed. I ordered an Uber to ease the pain of figuring out a foreign public transport system but instead I just couldn’t find the Uber Tesla driver despite walking every possible direction to find him. So I called him to ask him. I told him to wait for me and I was on my way but he didn’t understand anything I said. So I cancelled the Uber, got charged cancellation fees and just as I cancelled it, the Tesla drove by right in front of me and out of the airport. I was tired and frustrated. So, I told myself, let’s just try one more time, and I would take the train if Uber didn’t work out for the second time. True enough! Uber connected me to the same Tesla driver!! I quickly cancelled the Uber and made my way to the train stop.
The S-Bahn and U-bahn systems were extremely foreign to me. Unlike other trains I had sat on, the German train doors didn’t open automatically! Instead you or someone had to open the door and I thought it was a very interesting concept. The train ride from the airport showcased beautiful countryside views, green fields, German style houses and corn fields. The screens that were supposed to display station information did not work and the German announcements were nearly inaudible. This meant that I had to do the old fashion counting the stops and staying alert so I would not miss my station.
It was definitely a challenge figuring out how to navigate the public transport system with 2 heavy luggage, observing how people did things like opening subway train doors and needing to complete all sorts of registrations in order to stay in Germany. When I got off the train, I went to sign my tenancy agreement thinking FINALLY i could go to sleep soon! I went to sign the agreement at 9:30am and they told me I was only allowed to collect my keys from the keymaster between 2:30pm - 3:30pm. I tried to reason to collect my keys early, but they said the keymaster was unlikely to give me the keys early. With two luggage, a heavy backpack and nowhere to put them, I sat outside the office where I signed my agreement and waited for 4 hours to get my keys.
I manage to secure accommodation for the duration of my exchange and feel extremely lucky because this allowed me to focus on other things. I think so far, one of my highlights is the trips I make to the supermarket. The organisation isn’t that different from most supermarkets in other countries but there was an element of homeliness in this German supermarket that made the experience more enjoyable. I love some of the packaging of the products like the juice bottles where the lids were larger than usual so it allowed for better grip when opening the juice for the first time. It was also really lovely to see products from various places in Europe, something I don’t get to see in New Zealand.
The biggest highlight though was my impromptu trip to the BMW Museum! Despite parts being renovated, it was truly amazing to see the development of the company from producing airplanes and aircraft engines to motorbikes and cars. There were many displays of their engines that they had produced, various car designs and I think my favourite exhibit would have been the BMW Isetta; commonly known as the Bubble car produced between 1955 and 1962. It is a fascinating little car and this cute, compact car was an affordable car during the 50’s and 60’s. Wish I could rent one now to drive around! haha!
So far, I don’t seem jet lagged and strangely I somehow managed to wake up and sleep at the right times! I definitely miss the warmth and comfort of home but I know that it will be a great and fun semester ahead. Looking forward to my adventure of a lifetime!! See you soon for upcoming posts!! Don’t forget to follow me on instagram @clrgn_design for photos of my adventures!