Standing alone in the cold, waiting to go through the lonely, self-conscious procedures of the Ausländerbehörde, you realise that living alone even only for a short period of three weeks has made you discover a steely independence about yourself. You feel it in the moments you celebrate that the loo roll packaging has a cut-out handle so you can walk home with your grocery load; on unexpectedly pleasant solitary mornings when you hear nothing but birds, the whirring of the refrigerator and inner quiet; when you take the less familiar public transport route because after getting lost a few times and still muddling through, what’s the worst that could happen? Sometimes it morphs into rebellion; late at night, as you research how to set up a DHL Packet station, you find yourself mumbling to yourself, practising in German – “I am new here, I’m looking for a language school and German is not easy!” – so you have a response the next time a judgmental Foreigner’s Office lady showers you with contempt. Even now, standing in this surprisingly tolerable 40-minute queue – it’s not that bad.

You can read. You have a book in your bag, articles in your inbox.

And you can write.

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