Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Honeymoon Phase

When you move abroad, you expect it to be difficult at first. Leaving family and friends behind, dealing with new forms of bureaucracy, learning or improving your language skills, making new friends, in my case even finding a job. But it doesn't just start out difficult and get progressively easier with time. Reality is not linear. It ebbs and flows, comes and goes, and sometimes you find yourself wondering how as soon as things seem "figured out," you hit a rough patch.

At least that's been my experience. For me, moving to Berlin was the easy part. The door was wide open with possibilities but I also knew I could made a sharp turn at any time and go right back across that ocean. I was all sorts of excited, but not at all invested.

For the first half year or so I frolicked and explored and made wonderful friendships and ate an obscene amount of Goezleme. The whole not having a job thing was certainly stressful at times, but things eventually worked out and soon enough I had my Berlin bears in a row. I signed a contract, flew to Puerto Rico for my first work trip, celebrated with my Berlin buddies, and then flew home for a few weeks to spend time with the family. A happy whirlwind, indeed.

When I got back and started my job, in June 2012... that's when I hit my first rough patch. That summer was a tough one: adjustment in a new office and position, close Berlin friends off traveling, pitiful weather, and a fear that I had just committed to something that I wasn't 100% sure I wanted.

Come fall the anxiety had mostly faded, I was getting the hang of my job, and I'd established something resembling a routine. By the same time next year, Collidoscope was born and I was increasingly pleased with the direction my life was taking.

Now I'm close to the 2.5 year mark, and almost everything seems figured out. The job, the friends, the hobbies, the running, the traveling. But nonetheless, I find myself in rough patch #2. Nothing is wrong per se, but there is a nagging feeling that some of the excitement has waned and the comfort is settling in.

Hold on! This doesn't mean I'm planning on leaving, nor does it mean that I love the city any less. In fact, through all my self-analysis these past few months I think I've come to realize that I may now love the city even more. Is this possible? Is this what true love is?

I'll never be 100% sure as to what's going on in my overly-analytical-and-hyper-sensitive mind. But I've come to accept that Berlin is not the problem, I am. The reason I am increasingly nervous about what's "coming next" is because of all that I've built for myself here and how invested I've become.

The honeymoon phase is over. Berlin is no longer a risk I'm taking. It's a life I would be leaving.