“My journey does not define me, it refines me” – MC
In my previous post titled My Life in Germany: Year 1 and 2, I kicked off the series on my relocation journey in Germany. Bringing you another chapter of my relocation journey, let's move to my year 3 to 5 in Germany. The theme of this phase was - "Feeling stuck and not seeing progress."
When I left Nigeria, I expected life to be very different in 5 years of being in Germany. The first five years were very different from my dreams. In this blog post, I will share my experience from my third, fourth and fifth year in Germany.
Living in different cities
I lived in four cities in my first five years in Germany. As if moving to a new country was not challenging enough, I decided to move to different cities. Looking back, I am shocked and now understand why I felt very unsettled.
My twin is here
In 2003, my twin sister moved to Germany. I had my life companion with me again. The journey was still very hard, but I had someone on this journey with me. The comfort of having my twin close by lasted three years until my journey led me to move to a different city.
Building my community
I was now able to "somehow" communicate in German, and I moved to a Saarbrucken a slightly bigger city. I started meeting people from different cultures at my University and in town. I made great friends that supported me in many ways on my journey.
I worked multiple jobs to support my sister and myself. It always felt like we had just enough. I learned a lot of valuable lessons from working in cafés, restaurants, libraries, and babysitting. I became an expert in managing our finances and stretching our Euros.
Before I left Nigeria If you asked me where I saw myself in 5 years, one thing I was sure of was that I would have my university degree. My primary purpose for moving to Germany was to study and get my degree. Year after year, I did not see the success I expected to have. I was not making any progress with the course I was studying. Some reasons were that I was working a lot and the course was not right for me. I was so spoiled by being successful that now failure was new to me. My instinct and everything I had learned taught me to work harder when something does not work out. Hard work still didn’t get me the success I wanted. A huge lesson I learned here was that sometimes you need a make a significant change to make progress. It was time for me to change my course, leave my university and move to a different city.
Time to reassess
I was stuck; something needed to change. I needed to step away for a little while and plan my next move. I spent six weeks of summer 2006 in northern England and London. I was working as a babysitter, exploring England and visiting family friends. This was one of the major milestones on my journey. Stepping away gave me clarity on what my next step needed to be - I applied to universities in Trier and was accepted.
Making a big decision
The scariest decision I made was to move to Trier and start a new course. I was leaving my twin, my friends, the life I had built behind. I had a sliver of hope that this change will be good for me. At many points of my journey, my will to keep trying kept me going.
"I choose me."
Sometimes in life, you have to decide to "pick you." Forget everyone around you and choose what is right for you. Be prepared to live with the consequences. In 2006, I had to choose me and stick to doing something "selfish." Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I made. It was hard for someone who cared about family and friends’ feelings and opinions. I had to put my needs first and hope for everything around me to fall into place - and they did.
2006 FIFA World Cup
A highlight for me was seeing Germany host the world for the world cup. I experienced Germany differently- open to guest. The motto “ Eine Zeit, um Freunde Zu finden” (A time to make friends) was a reality for four weeks. There was something in the air; everyone was celebrating football talent from different countries. We had open-air football game viewings in town, on campus, and at restaurants. Interestingly I cheered both the Nigerian and German football team. Supporting both countries will become the norm for me over the years.
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