A few weeks ago, I was so stressed out about so many things, and I was having a meltdown about something insignificant because whatever it was, was the last straw. I told Andy I needed a change of scenery, needed to take my mind off all the things pulling at it.
The waiter brought over my Pad Thai, and Andy and I dug into our meals. Neither tasted authentic or overwhelmingly delicious, but the flavors were decent enough for what we were looking for – inexpensive and short walking distance from home.
What we hadn’t bargained for was the food poisoning that hit us both a few hours later.
Food controls us in so many different ways. It’s unavoidable. We need food to survive. But I never really understood just controlling food can be until I spent 30 days eating a strict Paleo diet. Andy decided to join me on the experiment, which I did not expect, but it made it a little easier to take knowing we were in it together. Here’s how our month went.
Boxes are everywhere. Sheets are taped up over the windows. Light bulbs are hanging out of the ceiling. We often have trouble finding things that are still packed away. It looks like we just moved in a couple days ago, but it’s actually been three weeks. And it’s driving me nuts.
This is my 300th post, which still seems crazy to me. When I started the wordpress.com version of my blog more than three and a half years ago, I’m not sure I really thought much about how long it would last. I know I didn’t think I’d be switching to a self-hosted site just a few months later. Now my life is different in so many ways I never could have imagined back then. But instead of looking back like I did for my 200th post, I thought I’d take a look at where I’m going.
Andy and I had been talking about our future, our goals, and what we wanted our lives to look like for months. Mostly in vague terms, no concrete plans or decisions to make it happen at first. But sometime during the summer we started getting more serious. We really needed to make some changes. We didn’t want the traditional life of going to work in the same boring office every day and trying to make the most of our few weeks of vacation each year. We wanted more.
March was a bit of a blur.
I’ve mentioned a couple times here that I have a disease called ulcerative colitis. It’s an intestinal disease that I have to take medicine for each day for the rest of my life. It usually doesn’t bother me, but occasionally problems come up. I won’t get into too much detail, but it affects my large intestines, so I’m sure you can use your imagination. Or, you know, don’t.
Shortly after arriving in Germany, Andy and I went into the immigration office to get my visa allowing me to live here. Since Andy has a job here and we’re married, there really wasn’t much to it. But I was told I needed to take a German integration course, which is 600 hours of language classes followed by 60 hours of an orientation course. The orientation course teaches German history, the government structure, the school system, and basically how German society functions. I finally began the integration class in June 2012, and thus began a stressful and intense eight months. (Note: I will not be mentioning the name of the school or any people involved.)
We are well into winter here in Germany, even though technically the first day of winter isn’t until December 21st. Most days the temperatures are right above or right below freezing, sometimes even colder. We’ve already had more snow this season than Atlanta normally gets in two years. Freiburg is also in the southwestern corner of Germany, and it’s the sunniest part of the country. Though you’d never know it by looking out the window these days.
I love to travel. I make no secret of that, and I’ve made it my mission to encourage others to travel. So I don’t think it surprised too many people when I announced my plans to move to Germany. Even before I met Andy, it had always been a dream of mine to try living in Europe. But like most things, the reality usually doesn’t match expectations, and being an expat often feels like being in a weird travel limbo.