Sunday, April 19, 2015

Reflection 1: When you need something, ask for it.


Now it has come to a full month since I first landed in Germany. And of all the lessons I have learned during my stay, certain some are what I deem as most important for a fledgling embarking on a journey to live in a new country, particularly in Saarbrucken, Germany, anyways. And since I'm an inexperienced blogger I have decided that one topic at a time is already to long to write, so I will post this as a series of posts titled "Reflection #: [Title]" where # is the number of the post in the series and [Title] is simply the title of the post.

For example, today's topic is: "When you need something, ask for it.", so the post would read "Reflection 1: When you need something, ask for it."

A. When you need something, ask for it.

More often than not, you might be surprised at how easy it is to get what you want. All you need to do is ask, as it has happened to me in many occasions.

Today after watching the Coursera course: Learning how to learn, specifically about the benefits of exercises, an epiphany flashed through my mind. I took off my jeans and wore sport pants instead, grabbed my sneakers, drank plenty of water, took the keys and walked out the front door. Initially, I planned to jog along the Saar river but then I spotted a group or two of different ethnic people playing Basketball in a piazza just a few hundred meters from my student dormitory. I would like to ask if I can play with them. Questions and doubts started to popup in my mind like...'Would then let me play?' - 'I don't even speak German.' - 'OMG I'm the only Asian within the vicinity' - etc. etc., but I dismissed them all. I walked to them and asked "Kann Icsh spele....Kann Ich speile mit Euch?" And wala, they let me play. Then the universal language and rules of half-court basketball took over. Mission accomplished.

There was this time as well when I first arrived still searching for a place to stay. Of course I had booked a place at one of the student dormitories around the city. However due to the number of overwhelming new students each intake, it could take up to 6-10 months to be on the waiting list before you get an offer. My friend on the other hand did not run out of luck and got a placement even before we came here. In truth, I only had myself to blame since I did not apply for the accommodation as early as I could. The thing is, while I was searching for accommodations, mostly expensive private apartments, my friend had to go to this students dormitory office to sign some papers or something and I tagged along. And when I was there I said "Hello, I would like to know if you have a place for me to stay. Which queue am I on the waiting list?", then they asked for my identification such and such. And wala! After a few minutes they told me they had this room available for me. And a very good one too!

Point is, of course it was very much possible that the guys at the Basketball court would not let me play and that the administrators of the student dormitories would argue against my request, but I would never know until I asked. There are many similar situations, as I have said, but I think you get the point. It wasn't begging either, since I simply asked for their opinions on the matter. And if it's all right with them then that suits me fine.

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