I would like to preface this post by supplying you with the knowledge that I am tired. So bear with me here, folks.
Merriam Webster defines a dichotomy as: a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities; something with seemingly contradictory qualities.
Why am I starting this post with a vocabulary lesson? Because if you understand the essence of a dichotomy, then you understand me. At any given time, I am fighting an internal battle between Heimweh (homesickness) and Fernweh (ache for travel). Whiiiich is why I have both of those words tattooed to my body. And it’s pretty much the worst. Essentially, I have an unhealthy, burning desire to be wherever I’m not. I can’t stand to be away from my family for too long any more than I can bear to be in one place and not traveling for extended periods of time before I feel like I’m going to lose my ever-loving mind if I don’t hop on a plane. So what do I do? I go to college on the other side of the country but move home for a year after graduation bc I hate missing out on watching my sisters grow up. I travel for seven months around the world but cut my trip short bc if I don’t get at least a few months with my favorite humans on planet earth before leaving again, I’ll go crazy. It’s about balance. And I don’t know that I’ve mastered it yet, but I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got. I like to think I’m doing alright. I got my family-time fix for the time being and while it is never enough time, at least I had another perfect summer with my people. I am perpetually in a state of “Can’t wait to go, but never want to leave.” Not great.
But right at this moment, I’m in a state of boredom. Airports are great bc it’s 6pm in Iceland and I’m 7h into a 19h layover about to take a nap on a cafeteria bench and nobody gives a damn. But I, Alexandra Janecek, am officially a resident of the Keflavik International Airport. I live here now. I am becoming one with Reykjavik’s tiny, itty bitty, little, small airport. I’ve walked the length of my terminal countless times (all 3 minutes of it), refilled my reusable water bottles as a preventative measure (my budget airline isn’t into giving free food or water), eaten an obscene number of protein bars, called friends, and started a blog post in just the first 7 hours! Imagine what I’ll do with the next 12! Now for those of you asking yourselves, ‘Why doesn’t she just go into the city, what an idiot….’ Well, you’re not wrong on the idiot front, but my reasoning for not going into Reykjavik proper is this: I have 19h here, about 9 of which are during the average course of a day, and a round trip bus into the city would cost me approximately $60. Plus food (which is expensive as hell here in Iceland), plus whatever dumb things I find in the city to spend money on. SO, here I am in the airport coming in hot on hour 8 in this godforsaken place bc $60 is almost two weeks of groceries and ya girl is real poor. Oh, also fun fact I have been to Iceland before so pls don’t yell at me for missing the joys of this beautiful country bc I was here for several days like 5 years ago and loved every minute of it and would love to go back for a period longer than like 8h but until that time SHUT UP.
Now for those of you who are somehow as of yet unaware…. I’m moving to Germany. One day, I would like to say that I move(d) to Germany, but that would imply that I survived this 40h journey from hell. I say hell like there aren’t an abundance of outlets and free WiFi and beautiful Icelandic people to look at. But I digress. This time tomorrow I should be in my new apartment getting to know my roommate and fighting the urge to pass out due to jetlag. She’ll leave for Estonia the following day, which means I’ll go from living with four other people and two dogs… to being completely and utterly alone for two weeks. YAY. Honestly I’m not too worried about it considering the myriad of things I need to get done between now and when my masters starts. Things like finding a phone plan and opening a bank account and applying for a residence permit are at the top of the list, followed by (and probably procrastinated while) doing things like touring my new city, visiting neighboring Cologne twenty minutes to the North, and doing some serious grocery shopping.
You know when you first move into a new place and you have to buy all the basics like spices and toiletries (bc you can’t bring those with you when you move across the world) and things like that? So, the cost of those first few shopping trips is like physically painful? Yeah, I’m pumped. At least my shopping struggles are lessened now that I recently found out that I DON’T HAVE CELIAC. Apparently, I tested as a false positive and when I was re-tested last week, they confirmed that I do not in fact have a gluten allergy. So, like, that’s great bc I’m moving to the land of beer and bread, but also…. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??? I TRAVELED FOR SEVEN MONTHS AVOIDING GLUTEN AT ALL COSTS AND MISSING OUT ON SO MANY YUMMY FOODS JUST SO YOU COULD COME BACK AND TELL ME I DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO SUFFER LIKE THAT? FORREAL???????? It’s fine. Like, I’m fine. Honestly this is some of the best news I’ve gotten in ages and I am HERE FOR IT but like damn science why you gotta play me like that?
My present anger at the modern world of medicine aside, I’m doing pretty damn well. There is a certain calm that settles over me when I embark on a new adventure. After all the stress leading up to leaving and the packing and the goodbye’s and the crying and the worrying, stepping onto that plane is like wiping the slate clean. I feel centered. I’m back in my element and I know that life is going to happen how it’s supposed to and all I can do is enjoy the ride. I have wanted this ever since I started learning German, and I can’t even process yet the fact that it’s actually happening. Dreams do come true, kids! Once again, there is no return ticket. There is, however, more of a plan than I usually have – at least for the next year while I study to earn my next degree. But after that, who knows? Cross your fingers that I get some badass diplomacy job bc I can use all the help I can get… Regardless, I couldn’t be more excited. I don’t think it will really hit me until I actually walk into my apartment, at which point I will probably faint as a combined result of exhaustion, emotions, and carrying my massive duffel bags through the 108*C heat of Germany in the summer. Joy.
For now, however, I think this is where I leave you – I found myself a fabulously uncomfortable cafeteria bench for my impending nap (this one even has cushions – lucky me!) and I am getting more and more tired by the minute. So hopefully the next time I write to you will be from my balcony while I drink my morning coffee and make you hate me slowly as I tell you about how much I love my new life in Germany.
Until next time folx,
PS. WOW Air is pretty much the worst, but if you’re trying to get to Europe on the cheap… it may be the answer for ya. Just be sure to bring reusable water bottles. And food. Bc they will not feed or water you. Bc they hate you.
PPS. Already planning out trips for both my sisters and my parents and Ky to come visit me so I’ll keep you updated on that front. I miss my humans. And my dog. Actually mostly the dog.
About the Author
Mouth like a sailor, great lacker of empathy, paper cut survivor, avid arguer, harsh critic of people who put clothes on their pets, easily distracte
USA, Mexico, Iceland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Malta, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Hungary, England, Poland, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Scotland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Greece
The Baltic countries,
if Covid allows for it (Latvia, Estonia, maybe a stop in Finland)
(in August in the US)