In a little less than 24 hours i will be landing in Hamburg, Germany. My grandmother will be picking me up at the airport and we will go back to her house where hopefully i will be able to catch up on some sleep before meeting up with jonah. Who knows maybe he will even take a picture of me for his blog! You may be asking yourself, just as i am, why i am up at 3:51 AM the morning of my flight. Well there are a few reasons not all of which are reasonable or well thought out but others, i think, are perfect.
I think i have jet lag figured out. If i set myself to the new time zone before i arrive there, i shouldnt feel the effects of jet lag as much right? So i stay up all night and then tomorrow around 4 or 5 when i board my plane from newark to hamburg hopefully i will be falling asleep. The local time will be 5 but the german time will be 10 or eleven, the perfect bed time. I wont get great sleep on the plane, so a small nap will be in order but i should be good for the rest of the day. Insha'allah!
Since my last post i have managed to pack and my bag weighs about 50 pounds. This is the heaviest suitcase i have ever packed but its for a whole year. Seeing as somebody brought two 50 pound bags for a month in egypt i think that my extremely large bag is okay.
Im not nervous about leaving or living there but this is the first time that i can ever remember trying to visualize germany before i actually arrive. I can see the streets of hamburg and berlin in my mind, with the fernsehturm, the michael, and the other churches sprawled across the hamburg skyline as well as the lines in the berlin roads marking the path of the wall. I think that this mental preparation or visualisation is a comfort thing. In the past i have gone but only for a month, and i had control of exactly what i saw and did (unless my mom drags us to some famous monument). This time though everything will be new to me and i wont be in control. The visualisation is weird because im picturing the parts of germany that are familiar to me, im not trying to imagine the place i will be staying. My thoughts and concentration on the scene of germany is almost stressful as i strain to remember tiny details and feelings about various locations. The other strange thing is that even though it is still late summer/early fall i can only visualize a cold fall afternoon bundled up in a jacket wearing a hat and a scarf as i walk down the hamburg streets. This image or feeling is so real that im even wearing my jacket on the plane later. I would probably only take a sweater otherwise. The past 4 years i have visited Germany purely as a tourist and a visitor, this time im going to live there. Ive done this before in the seventh grade when i lived there for half a year but never for this long. The length of time seems extremely long but it seems even longer when i think about how much i love Germany and how real the possibility is that i will stay there or be back for another long stay. Its weird to go back to live there for a second time because i never even thought i would go there once to live. Its even more weird to think that i could actually be more german than i think or feel that i am.
My mom keeps telling me that im going to come back even more german than i already am. The same was true last time i went. I dont remember how "american" i was going into that trip but i remember feeling very german coming back out of it. Since that trip i have been reformatted as an american by the social scene of highschool, sports, television, work etc. I know that I am very American but in the last few weeks i have also felt more german than ever before. Not in my behavior, or style, or culture but just my feelings. I am german, and i always will be. Even leaving this country i will be an american (even with my american passport) but once im on the plane from newark i can put away that passport and that life until i come back to the states sometime next summer. English will be around me, but it wont be me. American culture will be around me, but german culture will dominate. I will hear about american politics, but for a change i wont have to discuss politics with anyone. While im there i want to be german, as authentic as i can without putting on lederhosen or a dirndl, but what abut when i come back? I know that its too soon to think about that but still, have to. My biggest pet peeve about exchange students is when they come to america and refuse to adapt to our culture. They still wear their tight jeans, leather jackets, their hair long, and way too much gel. I know ill be going to germany with lots of american clothes but i want to be looking, feeling, and acting german quickly. Coming back though, i will have to read up on the latest in politics, download the top 10 songs on iTunes, and maybe look at a magazine to see what is "in" in america. Or i could come back with my lederhosen listening to a new Philip Poisel album and wearing a HSV scarf. Not to sound like some deep thinking person but what it all boils down to is conformity. I will go there, and i will conform. I will come back, and i will conform. Anybody does anything to fit in and they are conforming. I guess conforming is the least i can do because already by not going to college and going to germany instead i guess you could say im nonconforming.