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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Setting Off

At 41,000 feet above the icy waters of the North Atlantic, a sudden nosebleed is the least of my problems. It is just the most pressing one. I am an hour and a half out from a yet another new start: new friends, new jobs, and new horizons—or so I think. There is no shortage of things that could go wrong and prevent the unfolding of this next chapter in my life, and I am currently pinching my nostrils as tight as possible with bloodied fingers while trying not to create a scene on the crowded aircraft. At just over a leggy six feet, it can be a little challenging to escape the clutches of an airplane seat while doing one’s best not to bump into and wake up everyone around you in the process. Several disgruntled passengers later, I had cleaned myself up in the bathroom, and returned to my thoughts regarding my impending change of life events.

And this was before the person in front of me reclined their seat.

At this point, my imminent future depends upon the benevolence of some German immigration official who I will stand before and plead my case. I do not believe in any sort of destiny or fate; if the official lets me in, I was fortunate with my persuasion, if not, I could very soon find myself deported from Deutschland and on a flight back across the Atlantic to the US. It is as simple as that—no need to involve cosmic powers guiding events here on earth.

This possibility is the case because I have a one-way ticket to Germany, and not too much proof that I am going to eventually leave the country. I will, if all goes according to plan. But with some kind of copied "promise to hire" from a school in the Balkans as my only proof, I am not so sure at this point. A German tourist's visa was not an option as it is fairly contingent on your bank account's balance for the past three months; mine has resembled that of a teenager's savings from a once-a-week paper delivery job for about as long as I can remember.

Speaking of which, if all goes according to (haphazard) plan and I am allowed into Germany, my fate is still uncertain. I could quite frankly be sleeping on park benches very soon, and if I am lucky, getting meager under-the-table wages from some hostel or fruit-picking job.

But before any of that, however, I have got to make it through my guitar performance at the wedding I will be attending in two days. I have essentially—but not completely—learned a couple of songs for the event, and the happy couple-to-be will choose which one they like best. Hopefully, I will not ruin the reflective moment after the vows with a half-learned medley. 

I also know about 3 words of the language of the Balkan country I am moving to—none of which is appropriate for an audience with grandparents, children, or frankly outside of a bar. Informing my opinion of said country is the culmination of an hour or two skimming Lonely Planet, Wikipedia, and the CIA World Factbook websites.

Perhaps this lack of planning would be viewed as altogether blasé and irresponsible for a man of twenty-seven, and for others, it would be the assurance of "failing." Rightly so, for many folks: all of this would be the making of a failure—for them. Failure has never been nor will ever be an option for me—it motivates me to survive, succeed, and exceed. Granted, I have never moved somewhere new with so little preparation and pocket change, but being dangled so closely over the fires of homelessness, poverty, and isolation only motivates me more. I will be all right in the end; I know because I always have been.

The following blog entries will attest to this, and so much more, as I once again make my way into the unknown.

Travel: the art of downsizing.

(The previous entry was largely written on the plane before reaching the European continent. At time of publication: I was let into Germany without so much as a question—literally—and  apparently my guitar performance was not half bad as I was asked to play at another wedding in September.)

Enjoying a Bavarian summer day.

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