5 ½ Don’t-s when you move in a new country

If you are like me, maybe you read some articles, more or less motivational, before moving into a new city. Or in a new country. Or both of them. Articles about how to register to the public library. Where is the boulder gym? What is the best school for German class? Maybe I should have read more about all kind of administrative issues but I had the feeling that if I find a good and friendly boulder gym than everything else will gonna work automatically. Off course they are a lot of list with 5 things that you have to do, 25 places to visit, 50 first words to learn in Bavarian and so on. But you find rarely a list with things that it is good not to do.  Especially if you are a fresh newcomer and you don’t know exactly how to figure your life.
I. Don’t buy things online. I know that buying the things directly from Amazon can spare you a lot of time and annoying moments. Like the ones when you buy something helped by google translate and when you arrive home you notice that it is not at all what you think it will be. And it is so good to buy those products that you are familiar with and which are offering you that homey feeling. But when you buy from the internet all the things you know already, you miss the chance to discover all the things that you don’t know. Go into the shop and search for your product. Spend half of hour in front of the same shelf. Explore how they call one type of herb or another one. Take the risk of buying something completely untasty. Like when you buy the Sauerkraut believing that it has the same taste like the one your mother is preparing home. Give you the chance to know your new city at first hand. To smell the fruits. To hear the people speaking in dialect. To discover local specialties. To learn those super long complicated German words.
II. Don’t choose the easy way of: Do you speak English? Especially after you already took some German classes (or whatever is the language of the country or place where you are living). Try to speak in German with the lady from the shop, with the guy from the restaurant, with the postman, doctor, banker, baker and the list could continue. I know that your conversation will sound stupid, you will mix all the possible articles, verbs, you will have to ask that they repeat once or twice what they said. But it will help. (of course, if it is something too complicated, vital and technic, ask if they could speak English. Or a language in which you feel very comfortable). It will help you to start to feel comfortable with the language and with your new city. And it will make you feel super proud of yourself at the end of the conversation.
III. Don’t stay at home because you don’t know anyone. When you move in a new place, the first impulse is to spend the evening home, chatting on Skype with friends from home, listening to online home radio, cooking some happy food. But guess what, this will not bring anything new in your life and will not be very helpful in the long term. And guess what, you didn’t leave home for spending the evening listening to your home music, watching your home TV or speaking your one language. You left home because you wanted to discover a new culture. Learn a new language. Explore a new world. So, instead of staying home, dress up, put your big smile on your face, calm your heart and go into the world. Choose something where you can feel comfortable. Search for a group of interest. Or a MeetUp. Be ready to try the second and the third time. It is not always perfect from the beginning. But later you will thank yourself.
IV. Don’t let the envelopes unopen. Once you move your first apartment, you will start to receive a lot of envelopes in your mailbox. Sometimes maybe you will be lucky enough to receive postcards or letters from friends. But you will start to receive also regularly bills. Or announces. Invitations. Don’t let anyone of them unopen. Some of them can be your regular bills. Other ones can be notifications (more or less severe) when you delayed with a payment because you didn’t open the first envelope. Open each one of them, put next to you a dictionary, google translate, the phone so that I can you don’t understand something to be prepared. You don’t want to pay a stupid huge penalty only because you didn’t open your first envelope. Or because you didn’t understand clearly what you have to do from the beginning.
V. Don’t lose your patience. When you move in a new country or new city you need for sure a lot of patience. Patience with yourself and patience with others. Patience with your failures. Your ups and downs. Your moments when you don’t find the proper words to express yourself. Or to talks with the doctor and you have to ask him if he could speak in English with you. Patience with the people who need also time to know you, to discover you, to integrate you. Remember that the relationships that you built home needed also time. Don’t lose your patience. It is one of the best allies you could have in your adaptation process.
V 1/2  Don’t forget to validate your ticket. It was my second day in Munich. I bought a daily ticket from the machine and I run to catch the metro, avoiding the small blue machine which was in front of the stairs. A short thought cross to my mind that maybe I should validate the ticket. But I thought that if it is a daily ticket. And if the date is written on it, I don’t have to validate it. I discovered how wrong my thought was exactly in the moment when that stranger who sat two chairs in front of me, suddenly stood up and started to check the tickets of the passengers. When he arrived at me, I showed the ticket smiling. He told me that it is not validated so I have to pay a fine of 60 Euro. I was shocked. I explained to him that I didn’t think that I have to validate it because it was a daily ticket and the date was written on him. Nothing made him change his mind. After that, I tried to use more emotional arguments. Like I am super new in Munich. It is my second day. Could he have some mercy on me? No chance. He wrote smiling and polite my fee. And he explained to me where do I have to pay. I know that sometimes you have to validate and sometimes not. Depending on the machine from where you bought the ticket. But, for the sake of your budget, don’t forget to validate your ticket. Ever.

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