So I'm sitting in the middle of Munich right now. As we speak. As I'm writing. It's dark outside and the furthest into the night sky I can see is the towering Rathaus (city council building) ahead of me. There are hundreds of people milling in this large square, and a little down the street a performer is playing Tchaikovsky on a marimba. The church bells all around just started ringing because it's now 9 o'clock at night - so considerate of them to remind us.
If you have the opportunity to go to a foreign country through school or work, they're probably going to put you through a program like the one I had to experience. There I learned that different cultures are different, that sometimes they have different foods and sometimes the weather in different parts of the world can be different than Utah. Absolutely mind-blowing stuff. Who knew? Probably the best bit they told me, though, was about stages of acclimation:
1. When you get to a new country it's amazing and charming and beautiful and life-changing. But then,
2. You start to notice differences between where you used to live and where you live now. Sometimes that makes you afraid and you start spending a lot of time with people more similar to you.
3. Something else.
4. Eventually you come to appreciate that the new culture is different, and you'll probably learn to like it about as much as you can - maybe as much as your old culture, if your new one is cool like Germany.
I wish I were the one paid to write that. I'd enjoy it so much, and then to get paid besides would be amazing! Anyway, the point is, that training comes to mind as I sit here and watch and listen and feel german. The people, the food, the culture and history, the smells and sounds. Without such advice, I'd never be here.