The new year is already one week old, but only now have I finally found the time to thoroughly review the past year. I have already done a small review in September, six months into the internship and after about half of us had already left Pune. I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, instead I found that looking back into the past year and at what worked and what didn’t is a much better way to figure out where you want to focus your energy in the next year.
Wow, so yesterday it’s been exactly one month since I left India. Sometimes it feels like ages ago, surreal and almost like a dream, and sometimes it feels like it’s only been yesterday, and I catch myself seeing news and events and restaurant recommendations from Pune thinking about going there as well, only to realize I’m several thousand kilometers away on a different continent.
Wow, again, I’ve been terribly undisciplined with updating this blog o.O Sorry! But once again, routine caught up with me and there was not much to write about. Since I’ll be going on another holiday with some friends from Germany this month though, I’m sure there’ll be at least one other blog post from me this month.
Today, it’s been exactly 201 days since I’ve stepped foot on Indian soil. Six and a half months have passed, Magarpatta City has become my home, colleagues have become friends, complete strangers have become Batch 18, and Batch 18 has become a second family. Only seven of originally twelve interns are left, the rest having left for Germany again. For the longest time, the 15th of August was supposed to be that dreaded day where more than half of us would leave again, but in the end, things came very differently. Only two of what was supposed to be seven left on that day, with two extending their stay for another three months and three leaving a few weeks earlier because of job offers from Germany. By now, a new batch of interns has arrived, taking over our positions as “The Interns™” at the Crest offices while we’ve become part of the regular day-to-day-work routine.
On the one hand, February seems so far back with all the things I’ve seen, done and experienced in the last few months. On the other, I can still remember how I arrived in Heidelberg late in the evening on February 18th, my bags packed for 9 months of India, dragging my bags up the stairs at Heidelberg station because the escalator was broken. And that was one very big staircase. I remember seeing my room at the Hip Hotel for the first time (Prague themed!), having drinks with the other “chosen ones” with whom I would spent the next 6 or 9 months, I remember watching movies and TV shows during the 8 hour flight (Nightcrawler and Pride, both movies I would recommend, and the first episodes of Penny Dreadful and True Detective, which I found rather ‘meh’). I remember arriving at Pune airport early in the morning, driving to our apartments, seeing my new home for the first time. Eating at some of our now favourite restaurants for the first time, seeing Laxmi, FC and MG Road for the first time, buying my first set of Bindis, my first Kurta. And in only 73 days from now, I will be taking that same way back, just the other way around. “Firsts” will be replaced with “lasts”, and then a new chapter will begin. What or where that will, I don’t know. All I do know is that no matter how much saying goodbye hurts, no matter how painful change can be, it’s all worth it in the end.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”— Albert Einstein
With the internship ending very soon and knowing that many of my fellow “Batchies” have found jobs in Germany, I have to ask myself what I want to do from November onward. The last 6 months have taught me so much about who I am, what I want to do, what I don’t want to do, what person I want to be, and what kind of person I don’t want to be. I’ve grown so much, and yet I still have a lot more growing to do. I have a better idea of what I want to do professionally now, but even more importantly, I now where I want to go personally. But to get there, I still have a very long way to go and I certainly won’t reach it by staying in the cosiness of my comfort zone. So while my Indian adventure may soon come to an end, the next adventure is hopefully right around the corner.
*what a pretentious title.
Hey Guys ♥
By now, I have finally arrived in Pune!
But first things first, before Batch 18 was ready to embark on our Indian adventure, we were invited to a two-day introduction seminar in Heidelberg, Germany. We arrived there on Wednesday, February 18, and stayed at the Hip Hotel, which is absolutely fabulous! Every room is themed after another city of the world, which made for some great dinner conversations! I was staying in room Prague, which was stunningly beautiful and exactly to my taste: A giant canopy bed, white “brick” walls, and an antique street lantern as the main light source of the room 🙂
After a few welcome drinks on Wednesday, Thursday was the first day of the seminar, followed by a lovely dinner at the Heidelberger Kulturbrauerei. Friday evening and all of Saturday were free, and we used the time to explore Heidelberg and enjoy the cold and the rain for one last time before our departure to more tropical climates 😉
Sunday was the big day. After one last breakfast with lots of Nutella and Croissants, we were picked up to go to the airport in Frankfurt/Main. The last few hours on German soil for the foreseeable future! The flight itself was rather uneventful, although I wished I could have slept a few hours more. Instead, I made extensive use of the in-flight entertainment program. I watched Nightcrawler (which was … good?), The first episode of Penny Dreadful (could be interesting), the start of True Detective (didn’t quite get into it), and the first half of Pride, which was wonderful, but unfortunately the flight was over too fast so I still have to finish it sometime 😉
And then, at ~ 4 am, we finally arrived at Pune International Airport! After spending quite some time with customs/health inspection/border control, we finally stepped outside into the Indian air in the early morning! The weather was absolutely wonderful, our pick-up was already there, and off we were to our flats!
After a tour of all the flats and some important information, I finally went to sleep at 7 am, only to get up about 4 hours later to unpack and get ready for our Welcome-Pizza-Party, but more about that and our first few days in Pune with the next post 😉
See you guys! ✿✿✿
Hey Guys ♥
By now you know how the application and selection process for the internship went, but the really stressful part was only just beginning. After the first few days of euphoria and disbelief and then euphoria again, it was time to settle matters in Germany and prepare everything for my departure to India. I got the call on December 1st, which meant there were only 2 ½ months left before my departure in February. If you’ve ever spent a considerable amount of time abroad, you know how many annoying things need to be taken care of. I’ll take another assessment center any day before going through that again 😀
The first things I did were quitting my current job, and then tell my landlord that I was already moving out again. Suddenly, I found myself on the other end of the apartment hunt, which was certainly a welcome change 😀 I actually had to take the ad offline after only 30 minutes because of the number of applicants. I quickly found someone who wanted to rent the apartment, and my landlord was generally okay with him as the new tenant, but was a bit worried about the fact that he was a professional musician and would practice inside the flat. Which is how I found myself in the middle of a privat concert played on a 300-year old baroque violin to see if the neighbors would mind. They didn’t, and that was one more obstacle out of the way.
Now it was time to get a passport (including a frantic, but ultimately successful search for my original birth certificate) and all the recommended vaccinations (including a frantic, but ultimately unsuccessful search for my vaccination card). By now, the assistants at my doctor’s office know me by name, which isn’t too surprising considering that I went there almost every day to get vaccinations during January! Tomorrow I’m finally getting my last rabies shot, and then I’m done 😀 Throughout the weeks following our acceptance for the internship program, we kept hearing back from Springer regularly, getting new information, tips, but also to-do lists with things we needed to prepare for our stay at Crest in Pune. After we received our official employment contract (aka proof that I was going to move to India), it was time to cancel my broadband and electricity contracts, which worked surprisingly well (and quick!).
And then the last big step: getting a Visa. Thankfully, Springer supplied us with an extensive folder of all the documents necessary for our application, plus a handy guide on how to fill out the online application form, which meant that the actual application wasn’t all that complicated (despite a few hiccups and uncertainties). They even reimbursed the fees for our Visa applications! On Friday morning, I went to Frankfurt to apply for the Visa in person, and after less than 45 minutes (including the time it took me to take a passport photo) I was already leaving again. Monday evening, I already received an email saying that I could pick my passport up again. At first I ignored this, thinking that it would be stupid to pick the passport up before the Visa was ready, meaning that I’d have to go there twice, but then I realized that it probably meant the Visa was ready too so I went there today. After waiting for another 15 minutes or so, I am now finally in possession of an Indian employment Visa 🙂
Now, you might have noticed that there are certain topics you’d expect in a post about going abroad that I didn’t touch upon, namely flights, accommodation, health insurance, … That’s simply because I did not have to prepare anything in that regard! Springer offers their interns what they call the “100% sorglos Paket” (“100% carefree package”), including free flights to and from Pune, shared apartments, and health insurance. They even went as far as sending us a list with books available at our apartments, prepared by the present interns in Pune, so that we wouldn’t have to carry heavy books with us that were already in our apartments. I guess when you work for a publishing company, a certain level of bookishness is to be expected 😀
And just like that, there was only one more thing left to do: saying goodbye to family and friends in Germany. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to say goodbye to everyone in person, but I was able to have one last dinner with my amazing (now ex-) colleagues and will spend the next ten days or so traveling through Germany (and to the UK!) to say goodbye to as many people as possible. That should get me prepared for the flight to Pune 😀
In two weeks, the preparation days will start, and I’ll probably update you then with a post on German-Indian communication, cultural differences and how to live and work as a German in India 🙂
See you then! ✿✿✿