This past month has felt like a week. I have been spending a lot of time planning future trips around Europe, applying to colleges back home, and studying for my German C1 exam. I found myself stressing out over the mere unpredictability (unvorhersehbarkeit) of my life as an exchange student. I didn't want to dedicate this year to planning, and worrying about my future (Zukunft). I challenged myself to actively make time for relaxation.
Whether I decide to take a long bike ride into town or enjoy a good (German) book at a cafe, I am allowing myself to think and overcome obstacles in a foreign country independently. Self-introspection and reflection are important for growth. Remembering the intimidating, first experiences I had in a foreign country helps me appreciate how far I have come. It's just as rewarding to think back on minor struggles, like gaining the confidence to take public transportation or even conversing with strangers in a foreign language. The unpredictability of studying abroad for a year is what makes it an adventure (Abenteuer), and sometimes it's better to plan less and take life a little less seriously. In other words, I have learned to "genieß" my time abroad. The German word "genieß" cannot be directly translated but is a hybrid of the denotations enjoy, savor, and appreciate.
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. " -Ferris Bueler