Sunday, June 24, 2007

Last real week of work...maybe...ja..nein...doch

Ah, Sunday; the perfect day of tranquillity and peace. Today Keith and I had a day of relaxation as we ended up spending a large part of the day with the pastor and his wife at their house. This means that we were treated to lunch and then later on in the evening a round of Kaffe und Küchen and board games. Keith and I ended up winning at one time or another. We rule.

Tomorrow I start my last real week of teaching English. Praise the good lord almighty! My vacation days are about this close: (----> <-----). Exciting, non? Trés. Technically, I have two weeks left, but I am writing the second week off due to good-bye parties and the like. I will never have to sing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ ever again! It’s not that I don’t like doing these lessons, its just I don’t care to do the same thing 10 times in a week.

Everyday now I am reminded that soon enough I will be trying to reengage myself into Canadian society. Finding a job, looking at schools, trying to fit back into an old social life, these are all things that constantly gnaw on my mind. Reintegration is always hard once one has been away from their native culture.

In more than one way I am very scared to go back to my old life. There are a lot of things that I’m not looking forward to dealing with, but such is life. I’d have to deal with most of these issues in Germany sooner or later anyways. That little voice in the back of my head is now asking those questions that I don’t want to say out loud; am I going to fit back in or will I be bitter at coming home to a place that has changed without me? That is a scary prospect to deal with all of that change.

I’ve become so accustomed to my life here I sometimes don’t even realize how different North America is. I recently ran into a group of American students who were very green in the ways of the world, or so I gathered. They were very excited about staying in Germany for a month and some of them had serious doubts about whether they’d be able to make it through emotionally unscathed. I pompously discarded their notions of worry; living is Germany is simple.

After talking about it later with Keith, I suddenly awoke to the fact that living here was not easy at all. It was hard. It was really hard. I’d simply forgot what it was like to have intense culture shock. I’d forgotten what it was like to not speak the language, not be used to the change in food or weather or cultural attitudes. I think back to my first weeks in Germany and just trying to communicate with people would a task I thought would be insurmountable.

What I’m asking myself right now is, ‘will you be able to live in Canada? Or will you find yourself back at square one: in a culture that you don’t understand anymore and you’ve forgot how to speak the cultural language because you now speak a new dialect?’

There are few people in this world who speak the dialect of true multiculturalism. When you find someone who speaks it fluently, it is like finding a long lost family member. You accept them at once and trade stories about other people in the Family. There is a certain amount of trust because there is an instant understanding between these people.

I look back into my old life and see that there are few people who I know who can speak this language. Will I starve for true conversation? Will my friends find my dialect too hard to unravel? These are questions that are going through my mind at the moment.

We’ll see how things turn out. I’ve still got a 1 ½ months though, so hopefully that will give me some time to prepare myself!

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