My life will forever be chaos, but it is beautiful chaos, so I will never complain!
Two weeks after I finished my 70 day, 4,260 miles (~6,800km) bike ride across America, I decided to take on the next biggest challenge of my life. I packed all of my belongings, sharpened my skates, bought some maple syrup and Kraft Dinner, and hopped on a plane to Ingolstadt, Germany to continue my ice hockey dreams! I couldn’t imagine giving up ice hockey, and my life long dream has always been to travel the world. Fortunately, the ERC Ingolstadt Panthers gave me the opportunity of a lifetime, and I had the opportunity to combine both my passion for travel and hockey!
Moving to a different country isn’t easy. There are a lot of things that you will not be aware of, and a lot of things will not be the same as home. I tried my best to do as much research as I could in order to prepare myself in the best way possible. I found most of my help from blog entries, and these included blogs from former/current athletes overseas, as well as military wives! A lot of people forget that moving overseas is quite common, and there are always people who can help you with their stories!
One of my main concerns was not being able to buy items that I can normally buy in North America. Examples of Some things that I brought were:
– protein powder
– peanut butter (can be hard to find, or is more expensive)!
– solid deodorant sticks (they have roll on and spray here)
– taco seasoning
– pancake mix and maple syrup
– coffee crisp and aero chocolate bars
– Kraft dinner
– microwave popcorn (still not sure if I can find this here)
– ice packs (they do not make ice normally like we do in North America)
– cliff bars (more expensive here)
– ibuprofen/Advil, Cold FX, and Tylenol cold+Flu (I don’t want to be deciphering medicine labels in German… I wanted to be safe and bring my own medicine!)
A lot of these things I could probably live without, but they will be nice to have when I am feeling homesick!
Another huge part of moving to a different country is the language barrier. When I first arrived in Germany, I felt like I was in the real life version of the Sims computer game! I’ve been here a week, and I still do not understand, but I am starting to recognize words. It can be very intimidating when you cannot understand what is going on around you. My first trip to the grocery store I will always remember. My coach, Christian, came with me to make sure I would be okay. He helped me find everything I need, and would speak German for me when I needed to ask the workers for something. He would also be talking to the cashier when I had to check out. However, right when we were next in line, he realized he forgot to get something from the store and ran back to get it. At that exact moment, the cashier began to speak to me and I had a minor panic attack because I didn’t know what to do! I just stood there starring at her until my coach came back. It was so scary! Now when I look back, I laugh at myself because it was just a learning experience. I’m sure I will have many more of those moments. However, most people I have met so far can speak English, and are more than happy to help when you are polite. They are even more helpful when you ATTEMPT to speak German. A small "bitte" (please) or "danke" (thank you) are all you need!
Overall, my first week here has been amazing. I played in my first game, I’ve had plenty of practices, and I’m proudly rockin’ my new Ingolstadt gear. My coach and team have been so welcoming and helpful with everything, as well. I am so blessed and lucky to have such amazing support here in Ingolstadt, and I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to be around. I’m so excited for this season and my new adventure!
Now the only thing missing is my roommate, so I’m sending all my love to Tracy, so she can hurry up and get here!
Have a good one!
PS. Also, I made an agreement with my team that I had to learn 5 new words every day. Here are a few things I’ve learned, so you can speak German too:
Ich kann kein Deutsch sprechen
"I can’t speak German" (my favourite line!)
Schiben – hockey puck
Schnella – fast
Guten Morgen – good morning
Das stimmt – that’s right!
Hühnchen – chicken