28 March 2012

The way back

Well, I am officially back in Germany-land.  The way over was long, harrowing, and full of ridiculous stories, which I am numbering for reference:

1)  In Newark, the security guy turned out to be British, which just made the whole "Take off your shoes, make sure your laptop is in it's own bin, take off your jackets and scarves" announcement that much better.  He was yelling it at everyone, except when he turned to yell it at me, he saw that I was already totally prepared.  He closed his mouth, then said, "There are two kinds of people I like.  People who listen, and people who are professional travelers."  "Lucky for you, I am both those things," I said. He turned his attention to a giant woman, and said, "Ma'am, please take your coat off."  "My CLOTHES!?" she yelled, all indignant.  "No ma'am, your coat.  I don't want you to take off all your clothes.  Just your coat."  This is that wonderfully wry and sarcastic way requires a British accent and a ten hour shift in front of you to pull off.

2)  I was so exhausted by the time I got on the plane, I did exactly what I said I wouldn't, and fell asleep before we even took off.  This meant that when they woke me up for dinner, I couldn't fall back asleep afterwards.  Sigh.

3)  The plane was a half hour late taking off, which meant my layover was going to be pretty tight.  However, when the plane landed, they told me it was 7.30 AM, not 8.30 AM, which meant that I took my sweet sweet time walking from the plane to passport control, even stopping to change my clothes in the bathroom.  When I hit passport control, I asked the guy for the local time, just to make sure.  "It's 9AM!" he cheerfully told me.  I looked down at my boarding pass: boarding started at 8.55.  I flipped shit, because I still had to get through security, and I was absolutely positive there was no way I was making the flight.  I got stuck behind a group of Spanish guys going through security, who were all about pushing their bags as slowly as possible through the X-ray machine.  But thankfully my second flight was delayed as well.  And there were only like seven other people on it.

4)  When I arrived in Hannover, I was met by a baggage lady, who happily informed me that my one suitcase was still in Belgium.  I asked how it's possible to load one of my suitcases, but not the other.  She said she had no idea, but that I could probably expect my luggage tonight.  I suppose this is progress, last time I flew into Hannover, they left both bags in Copenhagen.

5)  On the train to Göttingen, I put on Sherlock, because Zack has got me watching it and it's awesome.  As interesting as the episode was, however, I felt my eyelids growing heavy, so I put Sherlock down and decided to sleep.  A little while later, I heard someone moving behind me, so I woke up and turned around to check on my suitcase.  And it was Sherlock sitting behind me, or at least, his German counterpart that looked eerily similar.  I wasn't sure if I was dreaming, hallucinating, or being accurate, so I started at him really awkwardly until I realized he was staring back.  So I pretended I was extremely interested in the seat behind him...and then promptly went back to sleep.

6)  Two minutes later, I heard someone talking to me, telling me to wake up because he didn't want me to miss my stop.  I opened my eyes, and sure enough, it was Sherlock, and he was awfully nice about how I swung from staring to sleeping like a baby on coke.  Not awkward at all.

7)  I took a taxi back to my apartment, let myself in, and then went to throw away some trash I had in my hand.  BOOM, the apartment door closed behind me.  German doors are not like American doors, which have a handy dandy door handle.  In Germany, your key is your door handle, and without a key, you are locked out.  Which I had somehow managed to accomplish less than thirty seconds after arriving, and my roommate wasn't coming back for five hours.  But at that point I was in such a state of exhaustion, I stared at the door blankly, and thought, "Man, when I recover my emotions, I'm going to be really, really upset with myself."

8)  I curled up on the stairs leading to my apartment and tried to sleep.  No luck.  The neighbors below us weren't home, so I went next door to ask if there was any number I could call for such a thing.  The guy said, "No," and hung up on me.  So I promptly turned tail and started walking back to the train station to go back to America.  I made it as far as my stairs when I realized that my money was locked in my apartment.  So scratch that plan.

9)  More or less defeated, exhausted, and hungry, I sat on my stoop.  Shortly thereafter, I was joined by an old gypsy guy who spoke not a word of German.  I asked him what time it was, then broke out the sign language, at which point he stared intently at the sun before holding up two fingers at me.

10)  I decided to go sit by the river.  Sitting turned into laying, and laying turned into my jacket balled up underneath my head, napping.  I woke up about two hours later, when the temperature had dropped enough that I was starting to shiver.  On my way back to my apartment, I got asked to go out on a group date by seven gypsy teenagers.

11)  I sat on my stoop some more watching the gypsies, who are actually pretty entertaining.  I watched two little girls push a shopping cart out their front door like it was a perfectly normal occurrence.  Then I walked into town and read Game of Thrones for a while.

12).  On the way back, I made friends with an old guy from Ghana who cursed German weather a lot, although granted, I probably would too if I were from a tropical climate.

13)  When my roommate arrived, I told her my sad story, and she said, "Did you forget that there's a hidden key up here in case we lock ourselves out?"  At that point, all I could do was laugh.  

And that is how I traded continents.  Tomorrow, off to buy food, lots of domestic things, and hopefully, a bike.


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