October 4, 2010

Money Is the True “Sturm und Drang” of This Experience

Due to all of the financial drama that I’ve been dealing with lately, I’ve officially made the decision to return to California next summer. There had been lofty talk of me staying here in Munich and living a fancy European life but I have so many financial obligations back in the States that I have no choice but to return and sort them out. I have credit cards, one that I pay and one that mom pays, which totals to about $7,000 and a dental bill that is somewhere around $1,200. When I first arrived to Germany, I was paying them off with my graduation money (bummer!) but since that’s run out, I tried to resort to my au pair money but that fell through due to outrageous bank transfer fees. So now I’m begging both of my parents to help me out until I can figure out how to do it on my own from all the way over here. It makes me feel really irresponsible and stupid for not having a definite plan but I’m really grateful for their help, wherever and whenever they can give it. Right now, I’m dealing with monthly payments of about $180 and come November, my student loan payments ($41,000 total!) will start up. So I need to call them and put them in forbearance. Not that I have any idea how to do that…

So, in total, at (almost) 24 years old I am nearly $50,000 in debt. Damn. Being a grown up is hard to get used to. I guess I won’t officially be a grown up until I’m done with my European vacation from reality. That’s what next summer will be then… a fast track back to reality and a crap load of catching up. Fortunately, I have my mama and a home to go back to that is virtually rent free (give or take some compromising) so that I can rebuild my credit score, get a job, and work my way back to independence.

The hardest part about planning to go back home right now is figuring out when to return and buying the plane ticket. Because I only bought a one way ticket to begin with, I now have to buy a return ticket and I’ve been having trouble finding anything under $900. Fortunately, Air Berlin has gone online with their cheap ticket prices and I’ve been able to find Thursday departures for $660. Which is pretty good considering. Unfortunately, I can only leave on a Thursday. There are Monday flights for $700 as well but we’ll see if prices go down over the next few months. (And where is the money for this plane ticket going to come from? I have no idea. Hopefully the Frau, if I’m lucky.) My contract with the family is over on June 15th and my au pair visa expires on June 23rd so I figure I can return home just before July and celebrate the 4th with my friends and family. It’d be nice to travel and see other parts of Europe (hopefully I’ll do that before summer comes around) but I don’t know how much money I’ll have or what my situation will be. It’s smartest for me to just buy my plane ticket now and work my life around my departure. Anyway, I plan to do a two week Eurotrip in the spring, so hopefully I’ll have had my fill of traveling. By then, I think I’ll be ready to go home come the end of June.

So, to all my friends and family members back in California… I’ll see you in 8 months! And to everyone who resides here in Germany or England or wherever… I have the rest of my life to come back and I promise you that I will! If I’ve done it once, I have no reason not to do it again. Don’t worry. My life has only just begun.


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