17 June 2012

One year Germany anniversary!

Hey all!

Exactly one year ago yesterday, I arrived in Germany, cracked out on excitement/lack of sleep and minus my suitcases because Scandinavian Air had left them in Denmark.  My former host parents picked me up from the airport for the start of a nine-month long au pair adventure, with the prospect of a university adventure just over the horizon.  And now here we are, one year later, happily embedded in the German higher-education system, reflecting on all the things I've learned in the last year.  It was a tumultuous year, to say the least--the highs were intoxicating, and the lows made me seriously consider seeking professional help.  So it's good to be on the other side.  And it's also good to make lists.

Therefore, I give you...

Tina's Official List of Things I've Learned in the Last Year

Things I've learned about Germany

1)  Germans are disproportionately terrified of mold.  And I don't mean like, serious mold in the walls, because that shit actually is horrible for you.  I mean retardedly stupid mold, in, for example, the bathroom.  You know, the one they sell cleaners for.

2)  Shoes are not required to attend class here.

3)  No one does bureaucracy and arbitrary fees like the Germans.  No one.  

4)  The German banking system is designed to make you feel like you're in that scene from Apocalypto--you know, the one where they're stretching out unwilling prisoners and cutting their hearts out as sacrifice.  But your money's safe, at least until until they stretch you down and cut you heart out.

5)  Nothing gets done unless you fight for it.  My theory is that Germans want to see you fight for your documents, else they assume they're not important enough to process.  It's like survive of the fittest, but way too enthusiastic, and applied to paper products.

6)  There is actually an official Institution for Standardization.  I can't decide whether this is hilarious or tragic.

7)  Ice cream that looks like spaghetti is AWESOME.

8)  If a dictator came to power in Germany, no one would notice or care--but only if the coup took place during the European Soccer Championship.

9)   Pencil cases never go out of style.

10)  Upon booking airline tickets, only in Germany will a call to the airline with the question, "Can I pay for my tickets in a few days?" result in an answer of, "Sure, not a problem."

Things I've learned about America

1)  Wow are we optimistic.  About everything!

2)  Our politics look like an absolute joke on the other side of the pond.  This is due to the fact that they are, actually, an absolute joke.  But in America, there's always that terrifying possibility they'll become reality.

3)  In comparison to Germany, we have a whole lot more freedom in our daily life.  Sometimes too much, but that's the way the cookie gets devoured.

4)  Everything, everything, EVERYTHING is cheaper in America.

5)  We may be racist bastards who allow the KKK to make a fuss about adopting a highway, but at least we openly acknowledge that race is a major topic--and we can discuss it.  Unlike in Germany, where, if you want to talk about race, you can only do it a) in an academic context, and b) in English.  Because that makes sense.

6)  We are far more informal with our professors.  And our professors also work more closely with us in...everything.  Thank goodness my advisor is Australian, I don't think I could get anything done if I was beating him back away with a broomstick.

7)  I've said it before, I've said it again--we may be total bitches when it comes to tuition fees, but at least students can get money.

8)  We have a lot more freedom of topic when it comes to writing papers.

9)  As students, we don't debate nearly as much as we probably should.

10)  There is absolutely noting positive about our health insurance system.  Zero redeeming factors.  Nil.

Things I've learned about myself

1)  I am incapable of hanging my coat up.

2)  Watching your beloved family pet get eaten by zombies and being drawn and quartered are probably the top two worst things that could ever happen to a person.  Picking lice out of your head is a close third, however.

3)  I'm approximately one horrible life event(read: another stint as an au pair) away from having serious, serious anxiety problems.

4)  I can't change for anybody.  I try, but somehow I always wind up making a Jesus joke.

5)  I will never, ever, ever be on time for social functions.

6)  I have brilliant friends.

7)  In some respects, I am so American, I blow my own mind.  Like how I can't look at naked people.

8)  I dress to what I think the weather should be, not what the weather actually is.

9)  Germany is not my end destination.  It's good for the next few years, but then I'll probably be moving on.

10)  I like myself.

Things I've learned about the world

1)  Some people just won't like you.  It doesn't matter how hard you try, what you do, what you don't do--all you really can do is accept it and move on.

2)  You can still make banana bread with tea sugar.

3)  What constitutes a lie varies greatly from culture to culture.

4)  Barring Portugal, no one likes Christiano Ronaldo.

5)  You can flush soluble food waste down the toilet.

6)  Scandinavia wins at everything, except for low low prices and sunshine.

7)  There are two types of crazy--the type that sells Bibles door to door, listens to Creed, and says the word "flock" too much, and the type that believes in Waldorf principles.

8)  Always have at least two whisks in your kitchen.

9)  Organic plastic bags will always start to decompose long before they're full.

10)  Letters from home are amazing, every single time.


Anonymous said...

False. I like cristiano ronaldo too.


Anonymous said...

The being late for social functions? That's a Portuguese trait.

bevchen said...

Spaghetti Eis truly is awesome!! <3

Mail from home is the best! Especially when you're not expecting it... and it contains chocolate and a Moomin teatowel (which is what was in the package I received from England yesterday).

Happy (belated) 1 year in Germany anniversary.

au pair said...

Happy Anniversary!

Haha! So true about the shoes! Loved reading your lists.