The backlash of the move caught up with me, and therefore my desire to venture outside of the apartment walls out of my comfort zone was non-existent. Ten days passed where the highlight was a visit to the grocery store to buy bread, or mostly having a short walk in the sunshine and fresh air exploring the neighbourhood and avoiding having to have any interaction with people.
Tuesday morning I woke up and decided I had to pluck up the courage and take the leap into the unknown world around me, as it would only get harder the longer I left it. Today would be the day. I would go and try a dance class at the gym. I quickly got ready before I had the chance to make any excuses to not go.
Hopefully the person at the local metro station would be more helpful than the guy at our last metro encounter …
Thankfully there was no problem and after communicating in English – joy! - I came away armed with my weekly travel pass, as well as an Opus card.
From the car window on our various trips back and forth to exciting places such as the supermarket, I had seen where the bus stop was, and a quick look on Google maps informed me which bus number to get. I let people get on before me, trying to slyly look at what they did with their Opus card. They appeared to just swipe it, so I did too…and it didn’t work. But luckily the bus driver was a friendly chap and spoke English J and explained I needed to hold it for a second or so. True to his word this seemed to work and the little light glowed green, allowing me to travel. One thing the buses don’t have here that they did in Munich is a map on the wall of the bus detailing the bus lines and stops, as well as an automatic screen telling you the current stop name as well as the next few stops. I had foolishly sat behind the driver, and therefore could not see out of the front windscreen to observe when my bus stop was coming up. Luckily for me, there were quite a few other people getting off at this stop, enabling me to have a peer through the windows and check out the street name to ascertain this was indeed the one I wanted before I committed myself to departing the bus.
I had looked at the timetable and seen a dance class on mid-morning which seemed like a good place to start. After over-allowing time to get there, I arrived half an hour early, so got changed as slowly as I possibly could, fiddling with every buckle and shoe lace, folding my clothes neatly before lacing them in my gym bag, going to the toilet, messing with my hair. Despite all the stalling techniques I could think off I was still changed and ready with 20 minutes to go. I went and sat outside the room and watched the calss beforehand, and then remembered my water bottle was still in my bag (yey for forgetfulness!) so walked slowly back to the changing room and got it. Checking my phone, despite knowing no-one would have texted or called as no-one knew the number. Still 10 minutes… I went and sat on the bench again and watched people walk past, calling out and saying a friendly hello to each other. It is times like these that I hate – when you know no-one at all, not even a familiar face to smile at or smile at you. You are conscious that you must stand out like a sore thumb, positive that you have a big sign saying ‘I am new, look at my awkwardness’ flashing above your head.
The class finished and it was time for dance. One thing with a dance class is that you can’t kill time by setting up your weights or mat, so I just stood there like a lemon, people chatting around me in English and French, until the class finally got started and I could lose myself in the music, and trying not to fall over my feet. 80 minutes later and I arrive safely home, with sore muscles and feeling tired, but very pleased with myself. The hardest part – that initial step – is over.