I commuted on public transportation in the first couple of months. The nearest station was only a few minutes walks from my apartment. However, I lived in the east, while the office was north of the city, and no train connected east and north. So I took a train to the center and changed to another train. The whole journey took over one hour.
The adrenaline woke me up early enough for a while, and I’d arrive at the office before Mr. N. But as the sun was rising later and later in the morning and the temperature kept dropping, the adrenaline started to wear out.
One morning, I looked out the train window and saw the sun rising around eight o’clock. A troupe of high school students got on, and their chatter inundated me with foreignness. I was then suddenly struck with overwhelming emotions that I couldn’t identify at the time. I know now that they were the pressure at work, tension with Mr. N and my new colleagues, the landlady, the lockout incident, and aloneness in a country where I didn’t understand the language. I didn’t let myself face the emotions then, but I let myself feel a little gloomy until I got off the train because once I arrived at the office, I had to put on fighting armor.
The commute took a toll on me, so I asked Mr. N if I could lease a car like ex-pats are supposed to. He agreed, but I had to pay for the lease, unlike other ex-pats. This was not a light decision for me because driving a car was one of the fiercest devils I had to face.