I

I’ve been in Berlin for a month now.

I really can’t believe it. I can’t believe it’s November. I can’t believe this starts my eleventh month of being abroad. I’ve learned a lot over the course of this year, but right here, right now, I’m learning how to breathe.

It’s winter here—at least, an Austin winter. It will get colder, but, at the moment, it’s in the low 50s during the day and upper 30s at night. The leaves have mostly changed colors (yellow) and fallen on the sidewalks and the streets, reminders of lives that were lived and breaths that were taken. The calmness of winter, even if my life doesn’t feel calm, seems to be a good time to learn how to breathe again.

II

Leaving Edinburgh was stressful. I loved it there, and I wouldn’t have left if there had been any way for me to stay (aside from a marriage of convenience). I really liked my life there and my apartment and my friends and my church and my bike. I was excited to come to Berlin because I’d heard great things about it, but I wasn’t prepared for how different it would be from Edinburgh and how sad that would make me. Leaving might happen in an instant, but saying goodbye is a longer process.

Five months in Edinburgh was long enough for me to forget what that first month in a new place is like. It’s a whirlwind of figuring out transportation and grocery shopping and trying coworking spaces and going to Meetups and learning a new apartment and so many other things. I forgot that a place doesn’t start to feel “normal” until sometime after that one month mark.

I’m learning, once again, how to breathe through replanting.

 

III

In the midst of this transition, two wonderful friends have visited me in the past month. Shane and I walked all over this city, learning its history and eating its food. Katelyn and I took a short trip to Prague, and I can’t wait to go back to that beautiful city.

You can watch the highlights of my trip to Prague in this short, little video:

 

Long talks and long walks with both these souls helped me remember how to breathe.

 

IV

My big news is that I’m looking into the German Freelance Visa. It would allow me to live and work in Germany for one year (and it’s renewable for, up to, five years). You might be asking yourself why I would do this. The short answer is that I don’t feel “done” with Europe yet. There are still so many places I want to travel and so much food I want to cook! Without the visa, I have to leave Europe around the middle of December, and that is too soon. The process seems a little backwards, though. First, I have to become a resident of Berlin, get an apartment (which I’ve been told is really difficult because everyone in the universe seems to want to live here), buy health insurance, and then I can apply for the visa. This process can take three or more months. I’m meeting with a bureaucracy consultant on Friday, and I’m learning to breathe through these unknowns.    

V

To help me learn to breathe no matter what the situation, I’ve challenged myself to 100 Days of Meditation. I’m using the Headspace app, and I’m posting my journey to Facebook every day. It doesn’t matter if I do 10 minutes or 30 or if I do it first thing in the morning or the last thing before bed. The point is that I do it. The point is that I learn how to breathe.

I encourage anyone who wants to join me on this #100Days challenge to message me on Facebook. If enough people are interested, I’ll start a group for encouragement.

VI

I’m sorry you haven’t heard from me in a while. I was in Survival Mode, and as guilty as I felt about not posting weekly, I wasn’t breathing enough to actually do it. But postcards are on their way, and I’m actively looking for someone to teach me how to cook some German food!

In the meantime, I’ve been asked to cook something for my coworking space’s weekly community lunch. It’s a very nice tradition: on Mondays at 12:30, we all put away our laptops and gather around the big table in the front room over steaming plates of food from the cook’s home country. So, what do you think I should make? Comment below with your ideas!

Until next time, remember to breathe.

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