A couple experiences over the past few days have reminded me that my transition here can’t be totally flawless – there will be bumps in the road.
On Wednesday evening, I took the bus that I thought would get me back to my dorm. The bus I would normally take stops running around eight p.m. – tremendously inconvenient. I thought a different bus then picked up that route, but I was wrong. I ended up riding the seven bus to the end of its route, which was extremely far from where I lived. I can’t say exactly how far, because I’m still not sure where I ended up and I have no intentions of ever returning. Complicating matters further was the fact that I rode the last seven bus of the night – meaning, it wasn’t like I could just ride it back to where I started.
I began to have panicked visions of being stranded in some dark, unknown and sparsely populated part of Marburg and I tried to explain my mistake to the bus driven in broken German. He took pity on me and drove me back down to a bus stop where I could catch another bus to the Hauptbahnhof – I knew I could make my way back from there. I thanked the bus driver profusely and he was extremely nice about it – “Kein Problem.” So, I survived that misadventure.
On Thursday, we all went to the bank to arrange for money to be transferred out of our German accounts to the university in order to pay a semester fee. However, since we had no money in our newly-created German bank accounts, we first needed to withdraw money from our main accounts to then deposit in the German account.
But I ran into problems – none of the ATMs at my bank would accept my debit cards from the states. I began to panic, suddenly wondering if I was without a source of money for the next five months. I went to a different bank and had similar problems, with the machines telling me they couldn’t process my cards. Then, one of my orientation leaders suggested I try a smaller amount – and success! I guess I had a maximum withdraw cap on my accounts that I didn’t know about, and the ATMs weren’t able to indicate as such – rather than telling me to withdraw less, they simply told me they couldn’t use my card. So, I think all is well on that front. But for a short while there I was extremely worried that I would be without a major lifeline for the duration of my stay over here.
In happier news, the more I see of Marburg, the more I love it. There’s just so much more here than I anticipated, and for such a small city, it offers everything that you could desire in a European city – beautiful architecture, centuries-old buildings, quaint shops and cafes, a variety of restaurants, tons of shopping options… the list goes on. Obviously it’s no Paris and doesn’t hold a candle to Berlin but… Marburg really is a lovely place to be, and I’m happy to make this my home base for the next several months.