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After six months, my daily interactions in Germany have become easier. I finally figured out the public transit ticket system, I can order food and shop easily. I can even carry on simple conversations about the weather with my neighbors. However, I still have the sense that I am a stranger to everyone around me. Everything that made me unique in my homeland makes me a stranger here.

I know I am not alone in this feeling. Travelers are forever strangers, even if they return to their homelands. We are isolated by the bits of our travels we attach to ourselves. We are conspicuous against the uniform backgrounds of stationary nations.

But still, friendships blossom like crocuses, small and oddly bright against a stoic backdrop. I learn that there is community and laughter everywhere. I may never fit into the complex German puzzle but I fit snugly under the patchwork travelers’ quilt that strains its stitches to warm all of us rootless wanderers against the insistent chill of isolation.

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