A german getaway – mental health check

Germany was the first country I went too when I started traveling internationally. I flew to Frankfurt, Germany with my step mom and dad when I was 12-years-old (I think). Its always held a special place in my heart because I have so many great memories here. Wiesbaden is where we stayed and it is one of my favorite towns in all of Germany. In 2016 when I was able to spend an extended amount of time in Munich and traveling around from my study abroad trip it just solidified my love for Germany. Theres so much to offer and not every town looks the same so you can get something different everywhere you go.

As mentioned in the blog I posted before this one, my friends and I made some friends who were from Germany. We joked about flying to Germany or some of them just coming back to Milan instead of going back to Mainz at the end of our vacations. You know, the crazy stupid plans you do once you meet someone you liked. More so in the days following us leaving Naples because we all just wanted to hang out more. We almost crossed paths again in another stop on our adventure, Bari. But we left before their group got there. Bummer right? BUT kind of fate.

As mentioned also in the other blog post, I, Rebecca Joyce Ross.. age almost 25.. carry a stuffed Snoopy animal around. Get your laughs out now, I will openly take the judgment! Well, Snoopy got left in Bari at our AirBnb. I thought I had packed him in my duffle bag, but when I got to the train station to take the annual picture of me with Snoopy when we departed a place, I noticed he was gone.

I know it’s not the same, but I felt like a mom leaving her kid at the grocery store on accident and driving away…making it all the way home before they realized it. Okay, maybe not every mom..but Susan did this to me when I was like 10 in the Food Lion parking lot, so I wonder if this is how she felt.

Lucky for me, I knew a couple of groups of people going to Bari for a few days. I alerted them all of the mistake that I made, and asked for assistance in retrieving Snoopy to get him back to Milan. However, our new German friends, ended up somehow staying in the same AirBnb that we did and were able to get Snoopy back.

Any sane person would just have their belongings mailed to them. I mean putting a stuffed animal in a box and taking it to a post office is not that difficult. But I think y’all know by now that I am not one for the easy way out. I saw an opportunity to go to a place that I love, with new people, and do something crazy. Again. So after a little under a month of talking to one of the people I became friends with on that night in Napoli and the keeper of Snoopy, I packed a bag and flew to Germany for four-ish days.

I was worried as heck one about getting stuck in Germany because my resident permit did not get Issued until a couple days before I flew out, and I was also flying out of airports and on airline I had never flown before. But all that was at ease when I finally landed and saw my friend.

I flew into Frankfurt that I have been to many times, and took the train to Mainz where my friend was living. I will say that Mainz was very pretty and such a cute little town! I say this often when I fall in love with a place, but I would actually move to this part of Germany just because they are quaint towns and feel so homey. Mainz is more a student town because there are some universities in the area.

Anyways, we were only able to walk around the town for one day, because the weather was kind of poor. It is quick to get through and it was a Sunday so a lot was closed. We sat along the Rhine and drank a beer or two to enjoy the tranquility of the day. Very relaxing (aside from the bees that seemingly followed me everywhere) and just a calm trip.

Mainz also gets double points because I found a Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and apparently there was Subway. My mind was blown because I haven’t seen a Subway since I was on the US Army base here in Vicenza, Italy. However, we passed on the “basic” American food and went to get Kabab. I had never had one before, and it was probably the most intense and messy thing I have tried to eat before in my life.. while walking none-the-less.

Three nights came and went. Snoopy and I boarded our plane back to Milan. Which prompted a feeling I have been at before. I was on the phone with some friends talking about the state of mind I was in, my thought process, and how to handle certain situations. This spontaneous trip seemed to mimic one I took in April of last year when I secretly flew to Italy to visit a “friend” then too.

First off, I will state that I have learned to appreciate all my life choices, and things that I have done. I do not regret anything. Whether you see it in the moment or not, theres something to be learned or gained from every move you make through the day. It does not matter if you’re making a decision to do something that particular day, stay in Italy during a pandemic, or fly to other countries to see people, you can gain something from it.

However, I will admit that I have a bad habit of holding onto something and seemingly trying to find the bad in most every  situation. I always look for something to fail. I am always prepared for something to fail. When I flew to Italy, I came to see a boy who I kind of liked.. I got back, and was in a weird mood. Asking myself so what now? What do I do? Where does this relationship go? Did I make a mistake? But forgot to look at the positive of what the trip brought me, I was exposed to a new life, and new opportunities. I applied to graduate school and ultimately moved to Milan, Italy from it.

So leaving Mainz, I was in the same headspace. Although, this person I was with was just a friend, I still felt like I was looking for the failed relationship. I was searching for anything and everything to prove that this was a bad idea. I failed to stop and look that I just had the opportunity to get on a plane for 4 days to go to a new city. I did not remember at the time I was locked indoors for 85-ish days..not able to even walk around the city to get a change of scenery. That despite all I and the world went through (and is still going through) this year I can still experience some sort of normalcy. It got me thinking.

When did I become a negative person? When did I start looking for failure or things to break? I do not remember always having this mindset growing up. Im generally a positive person (or so I would like to think). People tell me all the time, but do they see how my mind is working? Can they see how hard I’m trying to stay positive so I do not look different, prompting them to start asking questions? How do I stop this?

So I did some research and soul searching. Over the last couple of weeks since returning from Mainz, I have had a hard time balancing my emotions, the way I was behaving, and my mind. So I turned my phone off for 24h and simply sat in silence. I let my body rest, and try to return to a normal. During this time though, I really realized I subconsciously live in a constant fight or flight state. While I radiate positivity, and have this bubbly personality that takes over most of the time, I overly prepare for the worst case scenario. Instead of trusting that things will be okay, because God has it under control and I shouldn’t worry.

I was able to pinpoint how I got here and reflecting over the last two years, I have a lot of great things happen to me followed by something life altering, or extremely bad. Like when I started my first full-time role as assistant store manager and then a month later being let go. Or moving to Italy for graduate school to be put on a full country lockdown trapping me here for 3 months alone. Turns out it is very common for adults to have a negative bias or outlook on life situations.

While it seems very bad, its sometimes good. It helps in some psychological, emotional, and social purposes. Because the human brain is organized to learn from experience. We have developed the capacity to pay attention to negative experiences in order to protect ourselves from harm. Me being only 25, though, I felt like it was too much negativity all at once or all the time.

Now taking this experience to try to start once a week turning my phone off for a least 12h – 24h to disconnect. Find my happy places again, let go of some stress and re-charge myself. If you know me, I am on my phone most hours of the day, which is terrible. I have also started to do more daily devotionals because everything is possible when you get back in touch with your Faith. Finally, I have started doing virtual therapy which helps a lot. Being able to talk to someone who is unbiased and can help you properly get through your emotions that you cannot explain. I think mental health is very important. I have never been the biggest advocate for it because I never saw myself in the spot too, but I think being open about your mental health and what you’re going through is good.

So I am thankful for this German getaway and to experience a new city. I am thankful for this German getaway to see that I needed to change a couple things in my life and work on some things I had been questioning but not fully committing too. Im also thankful that Snoopy was retrieved and has been retuned to Milan, haha.

I don’t really know how to end this post, because I feel like I touched on a lot.. so just keep good thoughts, positive vibes, and always check on your friends. Also don’t forget to register to vote!!!


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