Polar Thoughts while Traveling

Last night at a CS meeting, I met a bunch of travelers who had all come to Berlin for different reasons. One woman from Macedonia was here for work. A man from Tel Aviv was making his European tour. A guy from Melbourne had spent a year baking cakes and Paris and stopped in Berlin on his way to Amsterdam for another year. The woman and I commiserated over the difficulty of finding a flat in Berlin. An American girl from California who is currently living in Barcelona overheard my whining and tried to cheer me up.

“It always seems impossible until it happens, and then you’re like ‘Hey, that was nothing.'”

It’s true. While I haven’t found a flat yet, everything seems to be ten times more drastic when you’re traveling. So far away from your support system, without knowing too many people or speaking the local language, everything seems more extreme. Either you’re on top of the world, or you’re all the way at the bottom beneath an anvil, a grand piano and a rhinoceros.

Here are a few examples of how being abroad has made my thought process a bit dramatic over the last week:

-on getting separated from the people I went out with one night-

What I felt likeOh my God, where have those Australians gone?? I have no idea how to get home and I’m going to have to sleep on the floor of this disco until my ears are completely burned by badly remixed Top 40 music.

What actually happened: I was about 4 blocks from my hostel and I walked home with zero problem.

-on getting catcalled by some guys outside the grocery store-

What I felt like: This is not a safe place and now I’m trapped in this Kaiser’s because I’m too scared to go back outside and have to surrender my virtue, all because I wanted some reasonably priced beer.

What actually happened: The boys who yelled at me were about 14, and they had already left when I came out of the store. Probably to go finish their homework.

-trying to buy a German cell phone-

What I felt likeThis is so unfair. I came in here ready to spend good money and that snooty woman behind the counter won’t help me just because I’m American. Berliners are so snobbish and German is really complicated! 

What actually happened: I was in the wrong store.

-staying out until 9am-

What I felt like: That last DJ was the best I’ve ever heard and I have never been so cool in all my 21 years.

What actually happened: That last DJ was the best I’ve ever heard and I have never been so cool in all my 21 years.

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