Guten Morgen! I’m so glad I got to sleep over 12 hours in a decent bed since the experience at the airport yesterday was what it was . As soon as I woke up I had to organize all my stuff so that I could even move around, and of course it’s much more pleasant to work.
Yesterday when I arrived here, the Coordinator of Incoming Students, Anita, warmly welcomed me, gave me keys and instructions, some kitchen equipment and most of all: a coffee maker! Das ist super! I couldn’t make a do without morning coffee. Pre-arrival we were instructed that only one person can meet one other person at a time and that is why all buddy and tutor team programs are regretfully cancelled. Anita will be very busy as she will now act as our tutor or “around the clock contact person for everything” as she puts it 😊
Yesterday afternoon she called and asked me a favour: Patryk, a student from Poland didn’t have a working lamp in his apartment nearby and he was ordered to stay in quarantine for coming from a risk area – according to Robert Koch Institute. So of course I went next to his corridor door and left him a small reading lamp I had got from Anita earlier. We are already planning on getting to know the city a bit better after his quarantine is over. Perhaps we can buy some cheap bicycles from the local ebay 🚴♂️🚴
Today Anita came and helped me with the necessary paperwork, told me little about the schedule which there isn’t that much during these times since almost all the official exchange events are cancelled. Tomorrow I’ll have to visit the bank to get a student debit card and bank account. I really need that debit to save my feet from total breakdown. Sounds weird but wait till you hear the whole story…
I was indeed already quite exhausted yesterday after getting the keys to my apartment and falling to the bed, but I knew I still needed to go out for groceries. The nearest shop was half a kilometer away, and my only means of transportation are my feet until I buy that bicycle. It doesn’t sound too bad but unfortunately for me I’ve suffered from plantar fasciitis for at least two years now. It means that my heels get very painful after even a short walk and especially If I have to move slowly or stand. I am wearing air cushion supports on both feet all the time I’m awake but they can only help that much.
Anyway I went to the shop and didn’t find shopping baskets anywhere. Instead I saw everyone taking a shopping cart from outside, but they were all locked and needed a coin to open, so I queued for a long time for the cashier to change some cash. She was friendly though and gave me a plastic coin so I could grab a cart. Okay not too shabby; now I just have to go through my premade shopping list and return home to relax my feet
What happens when one is hungry and goes to a rather bulky food store where everything seems soooo cheap?
Answer: they start grabbing stuff here and there like a maniac. This happened to me and I was barely half way through my list when my shopping cart was already almost full. At least the booze is cheap!
I ended up spending more than an hour in the shop looking for essential stuff on the list without succession. My feet were burning already so I decided to give up and go queuing for the cash desk.
I was quite tired, hungry and everything so I was a bit confused by the fact that the packing surface was so small and the cashier looked at me with a rather annoyed face. I realized this and started packing very quickly. I knew the total would be rather big so I was prepared to pay using a card – I knew that it would be a good idea to bring actual cash just in case but I had only brought 30 euros. After I finally succeeded in putting the card in the correct way up… Well, I bet you already guessed: yes, it didn’t work 🎺🎺🥳
As a newcomer with plantar fasciitis, a sleepless night behind and a general travel fatigue, I felt really hopeless trying to find the nearest ATM. I ended up running around the block twice when deus ex machina my brother called me to ask if everything was okay 🤗 Then using a GPS, I found one directly opposite way and near where I live. Well “only” 350 meters away, but it was quite a great distance for me at that point, but I had no choice. Luckily all my shopping were still waiting there in front of the cashier.
What wasn’t so lucky was that I still had to return back home and to boot with all the other groceries: I had bought a six pack of 2-litre mineral water bottles which weighed alone 24 kg. I had noticed that the water boilers tend to collect some calcium in time and in general I am always little cautious on local water sources abroad at least at the beginning, so I thought it was essential to have bottled water (my brother told me later that it’s okay: German water is highly inspected and clean if not cleaner than in Finland, though it might contain a bit more calcium which explains the water boiler’s calcium precipitate).
I think it must’ve taken at least half an hour and half a thousand kcals to walk that half a kilometer distance, stopping not only half way but more like half a dozen times to rest my arms and feet a bit 🤯 When I got home I could barely move, my feet in infernal pain 💣💥😖 I don’t remember a time when I would’ve been more sweaty than after this experience. BUT at least I got something to write about now 🤣