Twice a week, sometimes even three times, I get to meet my tandem partners. I started this new feature for me last year on summer, when I felt I needed to practice much more my basic german language skills to be more open and learn, along with experience, more of the people, lifestyle and culture of southwest Germany.
I subscribed to two websites where you can sign up creating a profile to find specifically tandem partners. I offered my native language in exchange of improving my german. It worked! After a week I had messages from locals asking to be my partners. I chose the ones they matched my requests and one year later, here I am writing about, not only my tandem partners, but friends. Because in the end, we have become friends. Since we talk about ourselves, our daily life, routines, origins and everything else that we think of, well… we develop a friendship that is based on communication and time investing. Also is interesting and has many advantages since that’s the way I really got to learn from german people, customs, way of thinking, way of seeing life, cultural differences, and so on.
We can start talking about what we did on weekends and end up discussing about politics or books we have read. Or we can just talk about trivial things and next time we touch more sensitive and deeper topics. In many cases is not only to take into practice a language you want to learn (as a hobby or for travelling) but also is because they need to practice that foreign language for exams at the university since it is a requirement for the career. Or in my case, a requirement to further study and work (and well, taking for granted that I live in a german speaking country). So it may happen that the person you have been talking to for 6 months, at the end of the test, moves out or simply moves on. But then becomes a tandem friend whom which you stay in touch via Email or video calls. But there is always time despite my jobs, my hobbies, my time, my couple’s time, my religious time… because in the end you need to make time to have some friends time!
After a while, you don’t talk about “superficial” stuff, you get to talk about intimate stuff, things you would tell to your friend, and well, is because that person, as said before, becomes your friend. I’m happy that I managed to survive so many changes. changes I wanted, changes I may have not asked for, but in the end were good changes that helped me develop even more skills during a time when I thought I was doing nothing and was wasting my time. I developed skills, talents, friends, qualities I didn’t think of having and managed to break barriers (like language which was the biggest for me but there were many others) where and how I never imagined I would have to.
I am fulfilled, content, happy and satisfied to what I have achieved so far. I know there is still much more to come, and I’m ready for it, great things are coming this way and also many many changes and challenges, but I feel ready. This is not a “self-motivational” post, or a “bragging” post, is just a post that shows I’m not the same person I was 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years ago. Everybody changes, at their own pace, in their own environment and their own way. What helped me to realise all I have done, achieved, made, and had is because I stopped comparing myself with others (better or worse). After reading, talking, over analysing things (wasn’t a one day thing) and wondering “in this mess, what is there for me?”, I got to the point where I changed the question to “in this situation, what is there for me to offer?” and that made the whole difference.