When I was planning my master's studies in Germany, I didn’t imagine that it would start like that. New life came a month earlier than expected - Russia got more than 5 thousand sanctions in one week, all flights had been canceled and bank cards issued in Russia became pieces of plastic, useless abroad. But I had a german visa, one semester of master's studies completed remotely, a place in a dormitory and a letter about financial support from the Care Concept scholarship. And I believe if you want to do something, you should do it, even if Apocalypse is happening around. So I took a train through the Finnish border instead of a plane (the trains have been canceled a few days after my trip), 8 kg cabin baggage instead of 40 kg luggage, and found myself in Germany.
If you will ever move to another country, please don’t do it just with cabin baggage. One sunny Monday I arrived in Darmstadt, got the keys for my room in the student dormitory and realized the difference between dormitory and hostel. In the dormitory, there is no internet (you need to buy your router), no bedding, no dishes - just a table, a wardrobe and a bed with a mattress. The clock showed 4 pm and in Germany, most shops close at 6 pm. So I had two hours to get something for my new home in an unknown city using public Wi-Fi only, because I didn’t had a German SIM card either.
Luckily, the shopping area in the center of Darmstadt is not big, so very soon I realized that I couldn’t get most of the things there. Thus, on the first day, I bought the most essential things and for the other stuff I drove to Frankfurt am Main, which only takes 20 minutes by train. A Wi-Fi router, SIM card and bank card I ordered online and got after a few days by regular mail. Regular mail is the main channel of communication in Germany - I am checking my postbox every day and always find something new and important there. I know some people are annoyed with using regular post in the 21st century, but I feel it is nice to hold something in my hands, while everything else is becoming digital.
Darmstadt is a very cozy town with small colorful buildings, green parks and two universities. My dormitory is not far from one of the sightseeing places - the house by Friedrich Hundertwasser. This famous austrian architect followed the traditions of the barcelonian architect Antoni Gaudi and built bright colorful houses without any straight lines. In Darmstadt you can find the last house he created - it has a garden and cafe on the roof. I think I should visit this cafe once I am visiting the supermarket next to this building.
It's difficult to feel home at this place, when it's empty. And when it is full of different things, like in my real home in Russia, you never know what matters to you. How many objects do you need to cross the border to make an "empty foreign place" to a "home"? I think I realized that at the end of my second week here, because the last items I bought were a flower in a pot and a bike. Now I feel cozy and ready for my studies starting after Easter. Adventures are coming!