Almost two months ago, I was getting off a Thalys train at the Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof. It seems as if I’ve blinked and September and October both passed by without even saying “Hey, Sofia, what’s up?”.
My first week here wasn’t a very productive one.
I was still under a cloud of negative feelings, so I barely unpacked. All I did was register with the municipality, visit my school and wander around a bit.
The first weekend came and I took a bus to The Hague, where I’d lived at from January ’til July. Half of my stuff was with my old flatmate, as I wouldn’t need it all during summer break, so I needed to get them to Düsseldorf. The moment I arrived at the central station, my heart just lightened up and my emotions were all over the place. I felt at home.
“God, Sofia, it’s like you never left”, my flatmate said after we’d had dinner and were watching Rick and Morty together.
I felt the same way, like my summer’d been a blurry dream in my head from which I’d just woken up. Except I did leave. That flat wasn’t my home anymore – something that dawned on both us as she headed to her room when we decided to go to sleep and I… Didn’t. Go to my room. Because it wasn’t my room anymore.
My heart broke into a million pieces.
The next morning, I took the rest of my things, said my goodbyes and headed to the main station. It always hurts to leave, but I can’t help it. Such is life. If I stay at the same place for too long, I get restless. Might write about this someday.
On the 12th of September, I turned 22.
T’was an odd day – it was my first day of German lessons. Btw, if you’re wondering – I decided to move to Germany to study German. C’est tout.
Back to my birthday – it was a bit odd because I had convinced myself it was going to be just a normal day, since I didn’t know anyone here yet… Except a lil’ before midnight, on the 11th of September, a friend of mine (@alvaro_bernart) told me he needed my help with some freelance gig and asked me to get on a video call. I did… And some other bffs of mine, from different parts of Brazil, were also on that call. They had a sparkling candle, a cake, an ukulele and they sang me happy birthday.
We talked for a loooong time, which led to me waking up a bit late for my class the next morning… And, when I ran out the door, I nearly stepped on a birthday surprise my landlords had left me: a cake, some flowers and a book about Düsseldorf.
At night, I went out for drinks with a human I’d befriended online. When I said yes to drinks on a Tuesday evening, my birthday hadn’t even crossed my mind. I’m an introvert, so I was mostly focused on do not cancel, you can do this, you need to meet new people, you need a social life in Düsseldorf. When the date came and I realised it was my bday, I just shrugged. It’s not like I had anything better to do, anyways.
And, no, I didn’t tell le human that it was my birthday. It would have been too weird, lol.
It’s been hard to befriend people who are kinda my age and with hobbies somewhat similar to mine,
as most my classmates are married/with kids, and I don’t work “anywhere”.
When I arrived, I joined several Facebook groups of “expats/hikers/photographers/*insert hobby here* in Düsseldorf“, and attended a few meetups, but then I got a bit worn out of all the drinks/coffees/dinners I’ve “grabbed” with strangers… And I fell into the
dangerous comfort zone of always going out with the same people, so when they’re all busy with their families/SOs, I don’t really have anyone to hang with. That might sound ‘sad’, but it’s just life – especially when you’re a single freelancer student who will move away sometime soon. The good thing is that I quite like alone time, so exploring by myself hasn’t really been an issue.
Anyhow, the routine has been created and now it seems that time is passing by faster than ever.
This week, I received a care package from @emjanku, aka le SF BFF. It had a bunch of little thingies that she and I love in common – snacks, post cards, stationery, face masks… And stickers OF MY DOG. YES!!! Emotions were all over the place because 1. Ems has won in the ‘care package’ game, I mean, you can’t really trump stickers of my own dog, and 2. I haven’t seen her since 2015, when I left SF… And yet, she’s one of my closest friends, always supporting me, no matter the distance. AND SHE IS COMING TO VISIT ME IN GERMANY!!!
I love the internet for that. It’s easy to stay in touch with the people I care about. Most of my IRL friends are people who I met online. A lot of my BFFs are people I’ve never even seen. And with them in my life, I never feel lonely, despite the moving around and living far away.
All in all, coming to Düsseldorf was the best decision I’ve made this year. Things aren’t always easy when you’re still trying to find yourself and are far from your family, but I’m really lucky because I have the best support system – you ♡.