A few posts ago, I declared that I needed to find a travel mantra. A group of words strung together that describe my outlook on new experiences and how to make the most of my time traveling. I told myself that thinking of this mantra would take time; it was not something to be created on the spot because it needed to have meaning behind it, and finally after a summer that was arguably the most overwhelming time in my life, I have figured out my mantra that not only applies to travel, but life: Never doubt your next great adventure.
At the time I am writing this, I am 3 days 12 hours and 25 minutes away from stepping on an air plane to Germany, not to come back until July 2015. Am I excited? Totally. Do I have doubts? At times. But those glimpses of doubt that run through my mind are almost necessary when embarking on the next great adventure. Doubts are changed into motivation that fuel the original desire of leaving my comfort zone. Now, this summer was definitely a time of change, readjustment, and acceptance. I did not come to this conclusion by reflecting upon my Fulbright agenda. I only realized this today, while looking into my beautiful grandmother’s eyes for the last time, accepting that in a matter of days, she would be embarking on her next great adventure. Having doubts about anything is okay– it means you care that something good may end up terrible. As long you embrace that possibility that things may go sour, it is no longer a doubt, but all part of the experience.
Well. I have yet to update this blog regarding anything related to my Fulbright, but that changes NOW! For awhile, I did not know where I would be in Germany, what type of school I would be assisting at, etc. In mid-June, I found out I would be teaching at the Peter-Apian Oberschule (5-10th grade) in Leisnig, Germany, a town of around 8,000. I was immediately excited about the location, as it is right between Leipzig, Dresden, and Chemnitz. Soon after this email and a lot of bureaucratic paperwork later, I received an email from the teacher I would be assisting at school. She has been a saint by helping me every step along the way, most notably, helping me find an apartment! As of August 21, 2014, I actually have my own (tiny) apartment in Leipzig, Germany!
But Layla, I thought you said you were teaching in LEISNIG, not LEIPZIG?
Doch. I am teaching in Leisnig, but I decided to live 45 minutes away in Leipzig. It wasn’t that hard of a decision to make. Yeah, it would be super convenient to live in the same city I was working in, only making the 5 minute walk to school every morning, but my Fulbright experience is not, and should not be strictly defined by what I do in the classroom. The intent of my and thousands of others’ Fulbright grants to mediate cultural understanding between the US and our host nations. Although I am sure Leisnig is a beautiful city (my teacher even said so!), I did not think I would get the most out of my year abroad if I lived in a town that resembled the town I grew up in (small town vibes). I want to meet people and join a community band and make the most out of living on my own in a big city like Leipzig. So, for the first couple of weeks, I will be taking the train to school, and then a little later on, my teacher offered to drive me since she lives in Leipzig as well.
The process of getting an apartment was interesting in itself, so a little later on, I may write a post about that, probably with a list of other things I have noticed that are different than in the USA. But for now, I have to finish packing. Next time I write a post, I will be LIVING IN GERMANY!
Später gators! ;D