Monday, September 24, 2007

The first days of the new life

The first days in Germany have been, as it was probably to be expected, a mix of contrasting feelings. The first 24 hours were marked by its loneliness. With Susanne in Berlin, I went along with house cores most of Friday and Saturday, reading and discovering new ways to keep in touch with my country, finding out that I can check the news online, even if with a 6 hours delay, several other TV programmes (not that I really will have the time to) and, most importantly, the football games.

For Saturday evening I had sent out a call for a early meeting of the programme's participants. 4 eventually showed up, which at the moment I considered a great failure, before getting to know that the class would had been of a mere 15, rather than the 25 anticipated. Anyway, besides Anna, who I had already met during the summer, I was glad to make the acquaintance of Fanny, a hyperactive french girl, Ruth, an ever laughing German, and Nidhi, the youngest and possibly most lost of the group, coming from India. It turned out to be a pleasant evening spent in chatting. exchanging background information and wondering about the future classes.

The morning after, not having anything better to do, we met again (on the left, Ruth and Nidhi), missing Anna, with a half idea of reaching Rudesheim, but eventually changing our mind at the every last moment and jumping on a train to Worms.

I must say, I had great expectations about this city, background of some of the most important facts as the Concordat and the Diet.

Unfortunately, Worms was severely hit during WWII, even if to a lesser extent than Manz, and the reconstruction was even more modern than in other places I've seen, leaving a town with a few interesting building in a mostly modern pattern.

Some things were, however, noteworthy. The Cathedral, for instance, is a wonderful example of German romance architecture and holds the sarcophagi of several German emperors of the high middle age.

The Nibelungen Museum, per se little more than a well done and fun audiovisual escapade in the world of German mythology, is placed inside a remaining segment of the old city walls.

Also, the immense tower guarding the entrance of the city was a sight to be seen.

On Tuesday, thanks to the immense kindness of Ruth, who set next to us all through the process, the three non German of us got officially registered in Mainz, and therefore I'm, temporarily, a citizen here. Go figure.

Finally, on Wednesday it was the first day at university, for the induction. There, we were welcomed, in order, by the Programme supervisor for Germany, by the Fachhochschule's Dean, by an envoy of the London South Bank University who turned out to be the same old English gentleman who had interviewed me a few months ago, by the programme manager and my the English teacher (yes, we will get academic English lessons, focused on the writing of academic papers, on top of everything else). There we were also given the guides for the various units (and damn if it looks like a hugely load of work to do in a mere 12 weeks of classes plus a couple of pre-exam preparation).

In the afternoon, we amused the population of Mainz by taking a university scheduled ride all around the city on this yellow "train" designed to give an overview of the most salient aspects of the city and eventually proceeded to the nearest bar, again trying to get a sense of the group and an idea of each other.

The group, as I said, is small, counting at that time 13 elements, raising to 14 today with the late arrival of another student from India, and as heterogeneous as it can be: age goes from 20 to 32 (the latter being your truly), background goes from law to informatics passing through economics and media production, national background covering three continents (7 from Germany, 2 from France and India, 1 each from Italy, Russia, Peru), while gender wise is more or less balanced, 8 girls to 6 boys.

As a skin-feeling, they all look as pretty interesting, smart boys and girls, with some being more shy and reserved than others, but all in all I had a positive vibe, so to say. To my surprise, of the 7 non German, 4 already speak German, which might cause a bit of a friction, but I will also take German classes so I hope to be bale to close the gap.

Thursday was the moment of administrative paper in order to be enrolled officially at the university (and, in the afternoon, of AS Roma's game against Dinamo Kiev which I happily watched online), while Friday morning was the big day of the survival week-end, when, at 8 am, we left Mainz to reach this youth hostel in the hills near Dahn, to indulge in a day of team-building activities managed by professionals, including climbing down a 50 meters cliff, and an evening of barbecue and... free alcohol. At midnight, the time when even the most hardcore partygoers broke down and went to bed, the first hint of a group could had been seen where only singles stood in the morning. Pretty disconcerting for someone used to Italian University, was the Head of the Programme, and professor of International Management, who at some point first sort of played the DJ and then came down with a guitar and proceeded to sing with us.

Saturday, a pretty exhausted group returned to Mainz and dissolved, each heading to his chores, with a vague idea of regrouping in the evening, when ultimately only Fanny and myself met and were later joined by Caroline and Joachim, both German, and a friend of the latter. Those three, at midnight, headed to disco while the Latin ones decided to call it a night.

Sunday was spent home, watching Rome's game against Juventus and relaxing, preparing for the first official day of classes, the morning after.

In the meanwhile, I managed to establish contact with my family over Skype and, in pure Italian tradition, they didn't wait even a week before sending me a relief package... only, my father had the brilliant idea of sending it a Susanne's name and so it is currently sitting in a DHL station and runs the risk of being sent back, much to my frustration....


J said...

haven't heard from you since this post.

were there any "second" or "third" days of new life you wanted to share so we know you're alive? ;)

Trx said...

Your readers are missing you...

Anonymous said...

never read you blog before.are you italian?what are you doing there?work?erasmus?


Guido Costantini said...

Italiano, ed ero qui per il primo semestre di un master in International Business, adesso per scrivere la tesi fino a gennaio.. e magari forse per restare, se trovassi un lavoro, chissà...

E pianifico di ricominciare a scrivere su questo blog a breve. ma già da un po', in realtà.