Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Beginning....Day One.

Well, technically Day Two, I guess. I decided not to blog yesterday, my first official day in Saarbrueken, because I was a complete mess. I think it finally dawned on me, as I was sitting in my apartment (if you can call this an apartment...I think dorm room in Wallace--UI people you understand--may more accurately describe my present living situation) and I just broke down. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I was completely exhausted and just not able to function, and the other part of it was loneliness. It's very strange being in a country where you cannot communicate with other people, or if you do communicate, it's in very short, blunt words. Germans may know how to speak English, but by God you'd better not try to speak it around them. I think my German teacher lied when she said Germans get excited when they learn that you know how to speak English. I'm pretty sure I've gotten the death-glare from quite a few.

Plus, I want this to be a semi-objective blog of my year abroad, and I don't think yesterday I would have been objective. I think yesterday I would have probably re-packed my stuff and gotten on the next plane to Boise. The only thing stopping me was the fact that the thought of having to lug around that fucking suitcase and stupid travel backpack for another day made me decide that taking an Ambien and going to sleep was a better idea. Plus, I finally was connected to the Internet after not being able to talk to anyone, and I, of course, called my mother. And emailed Vickie. And chatted with Alison and Nicole and Lif. I think all I really needed was to talk to my friends. It made me feel far less lonely, even though I knew they were on the other side of the world. This morning I woke up (actually sleeping an entire night...sweet!) and I felt much better. I finally became an official registered student, ate real food (well a pretzel and a thing of yogurt with some fruit) and met up with Katrin, who took me to IKEA. There is nothing like speaking English and going to IKEA that really makes one appreciate life. And I think Katrin was excited, too, because she misses Boise. We all miss Boise. Boise, you don't suck as much as I thought (well, in Winter you suck).

I sort of kept a "journal" of my adventures for the past two weeks. Reading back over what I wrote I noticed that on the days when I didn't have a lot to do, I wrote long blogs. On the days when I met people and we went out and closed down entire towns (um, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, I'm talking to you...) I didn't write anything. But I will be posting those blogs soon. I'm waiting for all my pictures to upload because I want to include pictures. It's times like this I miss the big mofo of a Mac. This HP laptop is just not cutting it for me right now. 600 photos to upload? Right, this is only going to take 40 hours. F.

Tomorrow I take my "placement exam" where they test me and figure out which level of the German language course I should be in. I'd really like to save them the trouble (and me the effort of getting up to take this thing at 8:15 am) and just tell them to put me in the bottom level. German is one effing hard language, and I can't understand a freaking thing anyone says to me. Occasionally I'll catch words, and I'll get so excited that I completely miss the rest of what someone is saying to me. Nice. This right here *waves hands frantically* is awesome.

So anyway, without much further adieu, here is my list of things that are totally different in Germany.

1. Beer is cheaper than water in restaurants. On a related note, restaurants don't serve water with your meal. You have to pay for it. So it only makes sense to just drink a shit-load of beer since it's less expensive and tastes better. So of course, I was wasted for almost two weeks, which I do not recommend if you are an American girl traveling alone. Thank GOD I can hold my booze.

2. Everyone, and I mean everyone in Germany smokes. Everywhere. Christ, you can buy cigarettes at vending machines on the street.

3. So far my experience has been that everyone in Germany is either really, really nice or really, really rude. I haven't found anyone in between. Also, no one smiles at you. I smile a lot. I get looked at like I have some sort of mental disorder. Someone actually moved away from me on the sidewalk.

4. You can buy liederhosen and drindls in the department stores (and yes, I already bought mine for Oktoberfest).

5. The toilets look funny. That is all.

6. The cars are super, super small. Like doll-sized. And they all drive super fast.

7. Under no circumstances should one even consider j-walking. You will get yelled at by everyone within eyeline.

8. The commercials in Germany are either about sex or food. Sometimes both. I mean, there is a lot of sex. There is a mega-erotik discount store about a mile from my apartment. Now there are no windows, but there are giant posters of the products inside plastered on the wall outside. Yes, I walked by a dildo that looked to be about the size of my leg blown up in giant poster form.

9. I watched "The Closer" and "Law & Order: SVU" dubbed in German. It was horrible. Brenda is Brenda because she has that sexy southern accent! She does not sound like some big-breasted bier maid named Helga who wields around a cart of oxen.

10. Everything in Germany is bigger (with the exception of the cars and the strange showers). The food portions, the beers, the people, the mountains, the buildings, etc. It's like Texas, but without the cowboy hats or Bush.

So that is all for right now. Like I said, the blog with pictures of my adventures will be forthcoming. And boy-howdy did I have some adventures. But, should you get bored at work, there is an 8 hour time difference, so I will be able to chat!

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