Sunday, November 27, 2011

sitting in the library...

I have been sitting here at the BSU library for the better part of two hours, trying to string together a series of German words into grammatically correct German sentences, and I fear what is developing is a pathetic attempt by a non-native speaker to look semi-competent in a language that she is not at all competent in.

What the hell has happened?!

Things I used to not have problems with: conjunctions, verb conjugations, the Verben mit Präpositional-Ergänzung (which I spent a good three weeks studying) are causing me a great deal of stress. I sit and contemplate for at least ten minutes the proper way to construct a sentence, only to get frustrated, type something that I know is incorrect down, and promptly lament my frustrations on various online outlets (the latest being, obviously, this blog).

I swear to God my German has progressed much like people progress in body pump class at Gold's Gym (now Axiom, I guess). You work super hard for an allotted period of time before you plateau and have two choices: you can continue in the body pump class, never getting stronger because the class is no longer what you need, or you can move up and get a personal trainer and have him kick your ass into shape.

Shitty analogy, I know. But it's all I can come up with right now.

I feel like that is what has happened to my German. I spent a year learning German, doing nothing BUT German, and I come back here and have two hours of German twice a week, on top of the dumb accounting classes, and work. The first six months of my German acquisition were rough--like Sisyphus pushing that rock up the hill. Then, at some point, things started to click, and my ability to fluently write German (and to some extent read) became progressively easier. Then I came back here. And things plateaued. Not only did they plateau, but I fear they are starting to tumble downhill (like Sisyphus' rock). I don't want to go back to where I was those first six months because fuck-it-all, I am not Sisyphus and I don't have to push that fucking rock up a hill. I will quit.

Maybe it is the weather or my overall defeated attitude right now, but I'm thinking I might need to take a semester off. $1500 is a lot to spend on tuition for two German classes, and I'm worried that my motivation to stick with German if I am not going to be living in Germany and can get a job that won't require me to know it will fall out about mid-way through March. Can someone sponsor me so I can just move back there and do the whole immersion thing again??

And now, back to this horrible essay...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Here comes Fall...

October. By far my favorite month. The weather starts to change, the leaves turn an amazing array of colors, not to mention Halloween. So many things to look forward to in the next 31 days. But after that? November, probably my LEAST favorite month, because it signals the transition from decent weather to full-on winter, and if there is one thing I like only in small doses, it is winter.

I can already tell my body is preparing for what is to come. I spent pretty much the entire weekend trying to get caught up on "Grey's Anatomy." I cannot even remember the last time I watched this show, but thanks to Netflix including it on their instant queue, I was able to watch somewhere around 20 episodes in a 72-hour time frame. That is just not right. But this is what happens. I slowly start to lose the desire to go out and interact with the world, and instead I spend my time holed up in my living room, buried under a fleece blanket in sweatpants and a wife beater, eating soy burgers and drinking cup after cup of tea while watching some television show that will slowly cause me to lose my grip on reality. It is quite unfortunate.

I do not know if this weather change is also causing my already dwindling motivation to drop dramatically, but I want to be finished with school. Now. I am graduating in December, and had pretty much decided that I would re-enroll in the spring to finish my German degree, since I am only five classes away. But I feel burned out. I have been in college now for almost 10 years. 10 years of my life spent doing homework, studying for tests, going to class and quite frankly, I am tired of it. I want to come home from work in the evening and not have to worry about finishing accounting problems or writing essays in German or doing stupid, stupid blackboard posts. I just want to be finished.

I think part of this is also stemming from the fact that I have been working for three years for my accounting degree, and I have absolutely no desire to be an accountant. I would quit now if it weren't for the fact that I am taking my last class. But it all seems so pointless now. Just what exactly am I supposed to do with my life? So fantastic, I have these degrees, one which I really, really enjoyed getting (English) but that will make me absolutely no money, and another than sucks the very life out of me (Accounting) but will guarantee me a steady job.

And then there is the whole German thing. What would be the point of getting a German degree, other than the fact that it is another diploma I can put on my wall? I think what I liked so much about learning German in Germany was that it did not feel like work. It didn't feel like such a hassle to do these assignments and go to class, because the entire thing was an immersion, a different way of learning. I just cannot get on board learning German here. I love German, and I want to be in Germany to learn it. Not enrolled at Boise State. I know I bitched non-stop about the fact that I was forced to speak German while living in Saarbrücken but truth be told, I like it far more than being forced to speak in class here, giving presentations on things that I really do not care about. I have a hard enough time with history in English...learning German history in German (and we are talking EARLY German history) just is not something that interests me.

I am interested to see how all of this unfolds. Right now there are several variables that are unaccounted for that will influence my decisions one way or another. I can only hope that this is all unfolding the way it is supposed to, and if I decide that this is it, that I am finished with college after this, that it is the right decision.

In the meantime, I am going to carve some pumpkins, eat an insane amount of candy corn, and probably throw a party where we bob for apples in vodka. Because every once in a while, it is important to step back from all the bullshit that weighs us down as adults, put on a pair of sweatpants, mix a cocktail and watch a bazillion hours of television.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Jet Lag one month later?

It can't be. It just can't. I mean, jet lag does not normally last for a month, yeah? But here I am, at 2:00 a.m. Friday morning, awake again. I do not think I have slept a full night since I got back here. What is that? Oh, I will tell you: super, super annoying.

I think this weird, fucked up sleep cycle is starting to mess with me, physically, emotionally, psychologically....? I saw an episode of "Law and Order: SVU" where this little girl pumped herself full of what I imagine was legalized kid speed (i.e. Riddlin or Adderol or something along those lines) and was awake for something like five days straight. She went insane and beat her friend to death with a pipe because her friend got better grades or was prettier or gave better head or something along those lines. I fear that I am teetering on the brink of that sort of sleep-deprived psychosis. Someone is going gently brush past me in a hurry somewhere, and I am going to unleash a fury like one of those overweight women on the Maury show who has discovered her boyfriend is sleeping with her 14-year-old daughter. Half my day I spend trying to stay awake, and the other half is spent wandering around in a complete haze. I walked yesterday from the sixth floor of our office to the eighth, sat down at my desk, and two minutes later had no recollection of how I got to my desk. I could not remember if I had walked up the stairs or taken the elevator. This can't be good...

Is this blog even making any sense? I cannot focus at all right now. I am very, very thirsty, but I think if I drink water, I am going to have to pee at 4 a.m.

I wonder if it is because, subconsciously my mind knows that at 2 in the morning here, it is 10 in Germany and people are actually awake. If that is the case, my mind needs to get back on American time, stat. My body certainly knows it is back in America. Ask my muffin top.

So yeah, sorry Vickie but there will be no run this morning. Just like there was no run yesterday morning. I might have to go see my doctor about getting some Lunesta or something to regulate my sleep cycle. This has gone on long enough. All I know is that I am not traveling internationally until this thing is fixed. I might do irreversible damage and turn into one of those people. I mean, hell, I already have the cats. The only thing I need is my hair in curlers, a bathrobe and a small child for me to scream at whilst chasing it down the street with a broom or baseball bat.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Just a little Hiatus

I have found that it is quite difficult for me to actually find things to write about in this blog, now that I have delved face-first into boring adulthood again. Coming back from what I consider to be a year-long vacation has both its ups and downs: on the plus side, I am once again a contributing member of society, earning my keep, paying my bills and not leeching off the support of the government, my University or my parents. On the negative side I have become, well, boring. Maybe not boring...domestic. Again. It is amazing how easy it was just to slide right back into the old routine: work, school, run, eat, sleep, repeat. Every day. It might almost be depressing if it weren't the thing that makes me most comfortable. Whereas my life in Germany was full of a lot of unexpected surprises, some good, some bad, I have regulated my life here in Boise to the point where there really aren't any surprises. It is just my life.

The longing to be back in Germany has subsided slightly, though I still have moments throughout the day where I will see something or hear something that reminds me of Germany, and I get that horrible pull in my stomach to be back. Last night I watched a newer movie with Liam Neeson in it (don't ask me what it was called because I cannot remember...perhaps "Unknown"? That sounds right) and it was filmed almost entirely in Berlin. While watching it, I kept yelling out, "oh, there is the Brandenburger Tor, oh, there is the Reichstag" (thank God I was watching this movie alone, or I probably would have started to annoy whoever was with me). And I wanted to be back. I wanted to be back so much.

What is very strange to me is that the longer I am away from Germany, the more I miss people in ways I did not think I would miss them. Or I miss people for reasons that I did not expect. Whenever I get ready to go out someplace, I still have a habit of texting Carrie and Silke and Juli to invite them out, only to have that "oh fuck, they don't live here" moment right before I hit send. But I realized I really miss talking to my friends in Germany. I think it is because they know a different version of my life. Whereas most of my friends here in Boise have the advantage of knowing me for at least five years (some, like Alison, since I was seven), my friends in Germany had no preconceived notions about me. I feel like when I talk to Carrie or Silke about what is going on over here, they interpret it a lot differently than my friends here. I guess it is my pitiful attempt to combine my two worlds, though the more time that passes, the larger that 6,000 mile gap feels.

And it is amazing how much more difficult it is for me to learn German now that I am not completely surrounded by it. I do not have German television to watch anymore, no more German radio, no more "fuck, fuck, fuck, I have to talk to people in German" when I go out. Without that kind of added pressure, my motivational level has taken a head-first dive into la-la land. It really is amazing how much I absorbed into my little alcohol-riddled brain whilst living abroad. I guess this means I am going to have to double the 20% effort I put forth while actually living in Germany. Christ, I might actually have to *gulp* try...

On that note, if any of my German friends want to help me work on my German speaking via Skype, I cannot guarantee that I will last longer than five minutes, but I figure any amount of practice I can get in at this point can only help me, yeah? Right now the extent of my vocabulary includes various uses of the word "scheisse" and "Zauberpferd" which I do not even think is a real word, but who doesn't want to talk about magic horses?? Magical horses with blue hair.

On a completely unrelated note, I now firmly believe, after being home for a month, that there is some sort of conspiracy with our government and food manufacturers to make us all fat. I am not sure how it is at all possible that I only gained right around 6 pounds while I was in Germany (and that is for the entire year) and yet, coming back home, where I am actually running more than I was the past few months, I have put on almost 12 pounds. I will tell you why: it is because we seem to be totally fine with pumping our food full of high fructose corn syrup and sugar and preservatives and other things that will ultimately lead to me losing the battle with my muffin top. I have given up even trying to eat bread over here. I cannot pronounce half of the ingredients in packaged bread. GROSS.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

some serious weirdness...

Today I have officially been home a week. And A LOT has happened in that week. I have met up with friends, gone running three times (thank you Vickie), celebrated Tour de Fat, started school and, oh yeah, got a job. Today was my second day and I can already tell this job is going to be killer, in a good way, I think. I am just working as a runner, but the firm I am working for is huge, and there are constantly errands to be run. The good news is, it makes the day go by very, very quickly. I am just glad at this point to have a job. I was very concerned about my prospects, but as always, things have a way of falling into place as they should. And though it is going to be stressful for a little while, I think in the end it will all work out. As Vickie's husband said: you are the only person I know who can be gone for an entire year, come back, immediately have an interview and then get offered a job two days upon your return. I like to thank fate (and my insanely charming personality and dashing good looks).

School is also going marvelously, though I can tell my Accounting 302 class (Survey of Federal Income Taxation) is going to suck the very soul out of me. What was I thinking two years ago when I thought an ACCOUNTING degree was a good idea for me?? See, I have this thing called a "personality," and my personality is not conducive to that of an accountant. So I will finish this class and get my degree in December. And be done with it. But I do think I am going to continue with my German degree. I mean, it makes sense at this point. I really like my German class I have this semester. The teacher is fantastic (she sounds super American, too, which gives me hope for my future as a German speaker) and the class seems like it is going to be pretty fun. We will see. I have already spoken more German here at home than I did in Germany (okay, that is a gross overestimation, but you get the drift). I think my whole block came off when I got back here and enrolled in classes with other German speakers who were just as bad as me. It makes me feel less self-conscious.

I have, though, been pretty homesick for Germany lately, but that is to be expected. I actually found myself in Winco the other day judging the insane number of fat people pushing their carts full of processed, packaged cakes and liters of soda pop. I know they have always been there, but I guess I am just now noticing them. Maybe I am looking for things to complain about because I would like to be back in Germany. Who knows. I am trying not to be too cynical. Finding things to complain about is exponentially more difficult when you are crazy busy, so at this point, I am trying to occupy my time with as much as possible. School and work will keep me pretty busy, but pala is starting soon, and I signed up for a ceramics class at Fort Boise. And I think Erin and I are going to take kayaking lessons. This is how I cope with things, though. If I overload myself, I am too stressed to lament on what is really bothering me. It is a pretty stupid coping mechanism, but it works for me. When I have idle time, like now, I start to think on all the friends I left in Germany, and it makes me incredibly sad. I wish there was a way I could meld my two worlds together. *sigh*

But do not get me wrong: I am glad to be back. I missed my friends here terribly, I missed summer in Boise when it is so hot you walk outside and immediately start sweating from places you did not know could sweat. My hair is finally back to normal, my skin has stopped freaking out. Party season is just around the corner! And I am very excited to see my friend Katie and her band in September: Sick of Sarah. I know it is going to take time, but at some point, this horrible, gnawing feeling of loss in my stomach will subside. And I hope sooner rather than later.

But it has to be said: if the old adage is true, "distance makes the heart grow fonder" my friends in Germany had better watch out, because the next time I see them, it could be an all out maul fest!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Readjustment Process

I have now officially been home for two days, and to be honest, Germany feels like a distant memory. I often have moments, where I am sitting in my living room or unpacking or running errands all over town, that I forget that I ever even was in Germany. It seems like it was such a long time ago, a different life, I guess. I came back home picked up my life right where I left off, meeting up with friends, watching Netflix movies with Tessa in my living room, driving to Costco to pick up a 5 lb bulk container of strawberries. Did it all really happen?

Right now, at 4 o'clock in the morning, I know it happened, mainly because the side effects of jet lag are still plaguing me. I do not think I have slept longer than 4 hours in one night. I keep waking up right around 3 thinking I have slept at least 8 hours, only to realize that the rest of Idaho is still asleep (or out partying), and it is in fact German time that I am on. I am really hoping this wears off soon, because I just feel so exhausted during the day. I apparently fell asleep for the entirety of "Dinner with Schmucks" last night. I do not think I have ever slept through an entire Steve Carrel movie.

While I was in Germany, my parents completely re-did my house: reupholstered furniture, new carpet, new hardwood flooring, different color schemes in my rooms. It was like I had come home to a completely new house, and I really liked it. It was almost like a fresh start. I think a lot of what I was both dreading and excited about was the fact that I was just going to come back here and pick my life up again, the good and the bad, the mundane and the exciting. This new house, this new perspective has made me realize that this really is a chance to start everything over here. Yes, I do expect that people will want me to act the same way (or not--I guess I was sort of a bitch before I left) but I really see this as an opportunity to sort of re-invent the wheel. I just spent a year living in Europe, for crying out loud! That has got to change something, yeah?

I was very concerned about how I was going to adjust coming back here, but I think everything is going to be fine. I miss my friends in Germany terribly, but I know that we will keep in touch. I have already skyped with Carrie and facebook chatted with a few others, and despite the fact that there is 6000 miles between all of us, I do not think any of these friendships will be hindered by this. I rest safe in this fact because, coming back here, my friends and I were able to pick back up right where we left off. It really does not feel like I was gone at all. I went to lunch with Vickie, Tessa and Melanie yesterday, and upon watching Vickie and I together, Melanie commented that it was amazing how easy it was for the two of us to interact with each other after such a long time apart. But it feels that way with everyone that I have seen so far. Distance does not necessarily have to be a bad thing; in fact, I think the saying goes: distance makes the heart grow fonder.

Not only that, I have my wonderful kitty back, who is sitting here on the couch next to me watching me type this blog. I was concerned because when we got back here, he hid under the bed for most of the day, but I think he remembers his home, and is relishing in the solitude of being the only cat in the house. Though he is going a little stir-crazy to get outside. I fear that the toys Jan sent with me from Germany will only capture his attention for so long before he turns his aggressive tendencies on my new furniture.

So now that I am no longer "an American living in Deutschland," I am not sure what the overarching theme of this blog will be. Probably just my random exploits, which are usually just as exciting. So I hope you all continue to read, because I will continue to post.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I am so finished flying internationally...

All right, I am not sure how much sense this blog is going to make because I am fairly certain at this point I have been awake for over 36 hours, with a brief 4 hour nap at an airport hotel in Frankfurt. I have been so close to both crying uncontrollably and bursting into fits of laughter that I am beginning to question my own sanity. Let's recap:

First, Monday, the 15th, I had an incredibly tearful good-bye with Carrie, Jan and Saarbrücken. Already emotionally exhausted, I had to maneuver my way around the Frankfurt Airport (and anyone that has flown in or out of Frankfurt knows that is the opposite of a good time) with everything I owned in Germany somehow stuffed into two bags weighing under 20 kilos each. (Case in point, one of my suitcases was actually 23 kilos, but most people do not like dealing with people who are crying, so the nice check-in guy did not charge me. This is where my positive experience with American Airlines begins and ends).

I cried as I got onto the plane, looked at the window and bid Deutschland farewell. And then continued to sit on the runway. For about 30 minutes. Okay...the Captain then gets on the announcer-thingy and informs us that there is a problem with the fuel pipe, and maintenance needs to come take a look at it. Great. So I stare at Germany some more from the window, getting more and more depressed about leaving, and more and more depressed at the prospect of never making it back to America. 5 HOURS LATER, after sitting on that fucking plane that did not move, sometimes with no air conditioning, no entertainment, and several small children, they inform us that they must cancel the flight and pick it up again tomorrow.

You have got to be kidding me. Normally a pretty calm and collected person when it comes to inconveniences like this, I just about lose my shit. I was so emotionally and physically exhausted that it was all I could do not to burst into tears. Not only that, I had no working phone, and thus no way of contacting anyone in the states to inform them of this stupid delay. I found a very nice woman who let me use her phone, and could not get anyone's phone number to go through, except for Silke, who had her phone turned off. I left her what I can only imagine was an incredibly panicked, incomprehensible message before waiting in line with customer service to see what my options were.

Since I could not call anyone from my phone, but could still receive calls, I prayed that someone would call me, and thank GOD Silke did, and after I filled her in on why I hated traveling and life at that exact moment, she emailed my mother to let her know that her favorite daughter would not be arriving when expected. And Carrie called me a few times during the night to make sure I had not gone on a shooting-spree in the Sheraton. :)

The shitty thing, well, one of the more shitty things about this entire situation, was that I was not flying to Boise, but instead flying to Portland, and had another flight with Southwest airlines the next morning, which I had to rebook for the next day ($80 fee, mind you, which cost more than the original one-way ticket) and had to book a hotel here in Portland for the night I was not planning on staying here. Not only that, American Airlines refused to help me out with any of these issues because, as they put it, it was now Southwest's problem. Um, no. No, jackasses, this is your problem. It is YOUR fault that I had to say good-bye to Germany twice, get stuck at two different airport hotels, WITH NO ALCOHOL, miss my other flights and not make it back to Boise today. I am supposed to be sitting in my living room right now with my cat and Tessa, eating Guidos and drinking New Age. DAMN YOU!

Anyway, flash-forward to this morning, which I just realized was actually 24 hours ago (I hate time changes) I show up at the airport at 6 a.m. to check-in for our rescheduled flight, wait in line for over 2 hours, and then wait another 4 hours for our flight, which is delayed...again. I barely make it to Dallas to catch my connection to Portland and I have to be honest, I am still having a hard time believing that I am finally in the amazing Northwest, a mere 5.5 hours from Boise.

And on that note, here are just some random things I feel necessary to bring up in this blog before I go to bed:

1. I have already had my fountain Mug Root Beer. And I may have cried a little.

2. Big cars, I have missed you!

3. Fat Americans, I have not missed you.

4. After riding on 3 separate flights, all of which had small children screaming at the top of their lungs, any desire I had to ever have children and then travel with them has flown right out the window. I think my ovaries actually shriveled up and died.

5. I am watching Law & Order: ENGLISH! On USA! I am so excited.

6. I sort of miss Germany. :(

That is all for now. I hope to blog a bit more next week in Boise, though school starts on the 22nd, so not sure how much time I am going to have. I do have my "Things I will miss in Germany" blog that I need to finish. :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

3 days.

Wow. I never thought this time would actually come--my last weekend in Germany. I think I have been mentally prepping for this for a long, long time, but it still seems like it is a dream. I cannot believe on Monday I will be getting on a plane and flying back to America. Where everything is in English, the weather is not bipolar, and I can drive miles without seeing a town.

I have been quite sad about this move, but also very excited. I have never felt so mixed about anything in my life. I remember thinking before I left Boise "if I like Germany, I am going to stay over there." It is amazing how things are easier said than done, however. Packing up and moving an ENTIRE life is much different than packing up and moving for one year. And while I would love to stay, I think the best move for me right now is to go home, get my life sorted out and then go from there. As many people have told me, Germany is not going anywhere. If I really feel a strong pull to come back here in a year, two years, 10 years, whatever, this place will always be here (pending any alien invasions or nuclear wars, I suppose).

Even though I keep telling myself this, though, I cannot help but feel I am making a huge mistake leaving right now. I think what has made me love Germany so much is this moment: the people I have met, the places I have been, the life I have over here right now. Coming back would not be the same. I know this. Going back to Moscow is not the same as it was when I was there; going back to Arcata is certainly not the same. And I fear that leaving and coming back later will just mean I have to start all over again. And I do not know if I want to do that. I wish I could just freeze time right now, go back home, get things together and pick back up where I left off.

But I guess that is the great thing about friendships: true friendships are the ones where you can just pick up where you left off. And I know that the friends that I have made here in Germany I will be in touch with, probably for the rest of my life. And that is a wonderful feeling. I never thought, in such a short period of time, I would meet some of my best friends, people who I trust with my entire heart and absolutely love. It could be the greatest feeling in the world having met so many amazing people. But I also know that this is the sort of relationship I have with my friends in Boise, and I have no doubt that as soon as I get home, it will be just like old times. Life is definitely funny that way.

But for now, until Sunday, when I will write my final blog from Deutschland!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Tonight...what a whirl-wind night. So yes, I am a titch bit inebriated. What do you expect when you get a couple of youngins in a group combined with one sorority sister (holla K-Woody!) We went out and represented Idaho well.

Berlin...what to say about Berlin...this could be one of the greatest cities I have ever visited. I have been searching for signs left and right that this is where I am supposed to be. Not even that Germany is where I am supposed to be, but more a sign pointing me in the right direction in my clusterfuck of a life. And it finally happened. A chance meeting with a man named Preston proved to be the most enlightening experience of my time in Germany. He basically guided me on the path to becoming a German citizen, or at least to finding a job in Germany and living here on a semi-permanent basis.

I do not know what happened or when it happened, but I do not want to leave Germany. The thought literally scares me. I feel like I am finally in a place where I belong. Despite the language barrier, despite the cultural differences, I love Germany. I love this place, I love the asshole way people get by, I just love it. And I do not want to leave. I cannot imagine my life back in Boise. It seems like so long ago I just packed up and moved someplace where no one knew me, no one expected me to be someone I was not. And it was so...liberating. It was such an experience. I am sort of dreading going back to Boise and falling into the same monotonous routine I had. Where people who have known me my entire life are expecting me to be the same person, to act the same way. I do not know if I can do it.

I am so torn right now. I really wish I had come to Germany earlier in my life. I think, had I done this in my early 20s, I would have stayed here. There is no doubt in my mind. But if I go home, if I fall back into the routine that is so easy and so familiar to me, will I be able to just come back here in a year? Or will I have to start this whole transition process over again? Should I even be leaving here in 6 days?? What the fuck am I doing???

Okay, this is a lot for me to process right now. I feel like I cannot evaluate this predicament in my current state of mind. But I need to know what to do. Someone...PLEASE TELL ME!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Greetings from Amsterdam!

This is going to be a short blog as we are headed out in five minutes to go do more touristy things in the city--and believe it or not, by touristy things I am not referring to what you would normally think in Amsterdam, wink wink--but I believe we are going to a gin museum, the Van Gough museum, the Anne Frank house and potentially the Heineken museum. The city itself is absolutely beautiful, though life moves a little too fast for me here. There are so many people, SO MANY BIKERS, so many tourists. I like the big city, but I only like it for a short period of time. I could never live someplace like this--I think someplace like Boise or Saarbruecken is the perfect size, but it is fun to visit.

The past few days have been sort of a blur having people from Idaho here in Germany. It is very strange--I feel like my two worlds are colliding. I guess I am glad this is happening now to sort of ease me back into the transition of leaving this life behind and starting up my former back in Boise. The more I think about it, though, the more I feel like I should not be leaving Germany. I feel like this is where I should be and this is where I need to stay. I am not sure what is holding me back, but I hope I can get things figured out soon.

Monday, August 1, 2011

It finally happened...

I woke up this morning, face-down in a puddle of my own drool, rolled over, contemplated getting up to close the window because it was so cold in here and suddenly realized...

I had my first dream entirely in German.

And I understood it.

Subconscious: you rule!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Reflections (Part II)

I was recently reading back through some of my old blogs, namely the few that I wrote right before I left for Germany, and I am amazed at how much has changed since those entries. There was one blog in particular that I wrote, and I am having trouble remembering the person that actually typed those words. Despite everything that has happened over here, the good, the bad, the happy memories and the memories I would rather forget, reading that blog made me realize that this experience was so completely necessary for me. You can read that blog entry here: Reflecting

I think we all sometimes get stuck in a repetitive rut, where we look around and think "this is what my life has come to...a series of endless tasks that seem to repeat every day, every week, every month, every year." This happened to me. Being someone who is not particularly fond of change, it is surprising to me that I get so restless so easily. Maybe, even though I loved where I worked, it was because I was stuck in a very monotonous job. Maybe it was because I was (and still am...?) getting my degree in a subject that I find completely boring and so not fitting for my personality. Who knows. I do know, though, that had I not changed something a year ago, I might have gone off the deep end. I was most certainly teetering toward that; moving to Germany was definitely the right choice at that particular junction of my life. I still have my feelings of self-doubt, but I think everyone does; however, if I am able to survive a year living abroad, experiencing new things, meeting new people, living in a different culture and I did NOT lose my shit, then I can do whatever I set my mind to (I just need to figure out what the hell I should be doing...I need direction!!!)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dragging my Feet

Today is my last day in my dorm room. Despite the fact that my lease actually officially ends on Sunday, the Hausmeister has to come "inspect" my room to make sure I have not stolen anything or damaged anything, and he was very adamant about doing this on Friday and not giving me the weekend to get my things sorted out. Even though I am fairly certain he did not do this with my room BEFORE I moved in. Oh well.

For whatever reason, though, I am just so not motivated to pack my things. I think because packing my things signals that the end really is near. I have sort of been able to delude myself into thinking that I still have more time. But having to move out of the place I have lived for the past year is pretty much a clear indication that this experience is almost over.

I am very excited, though, to be able to spend my last couple of weeks with Carrie and Jan. If they are able to handle me living with them for that period of time, I will be convinced that we are all soul mates and they need to move to Idaho with me asap. I mean, Jan did offer some rather radical surgical operations to gain my affection...

Yesterday I also had coffee with Frau Schmitt who, it must be said, is undoubtedly one of the sweetest people I have met over here. I am so glad she was one of my teachers for an entire year, because I really did learn a lot from her. It made me incredibly sad, though, because I am pretty sure that was the last time I will see her. I held myself together fairly well, but of course, started crying as soon as I got home. And Denise is leaving on Friday as well, and I cried again last night. This whole "good-bye" thing is more exhausting than running half-marathons! I need to get a grip on my emotions.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am also so physically exhausted. I have not been able to sleep very well the past few nights, because I am one of those oh-so-fortunate people whose brain goes into overdrive mode when I am faced with impending separation or stress, and I continually wake up in the night panicking. I guess my body's way of dealing with stress is to deprive me of sleep until I go completely insane and lose my entire grip on reality. Makes sense. Thanks, body.

But the good news is, Kristin and my sister will be here in less than a week. I hope that traveling around for a bit will take my mind off things, because right now, the thought of no more movie nights with junk food, no more films in German, no more dinner-drink adventures with ACT friends is making me teary-eyed again. Oh, fuck, where the fuck are my fucking tissues??

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This weather can SUCK IT!

July 26th--I am not sure the last time I saw the sun for longer than an hour, but I am guessing, judging by the size of my muffin top, it has been a considerable amount of time. I am fairly certain for the past two weeks it has done nothing but rain in this country. Wait, I take that back. Yesterday, there was sun. And I went on my first run in almost two weeks. I jumped back on the bandwagon, and then got knocked off again today by the weather gods. My body thinks that it is November, and has started packing on weight for the coming winter cold. Problem being, it is not November. I should be in a bikini. I doubt I could pull that off right now.

Note to anyone thinking about visiting Germany (sorry Morgan and Kristin): do not come during the "summer." You see, summer apparently does not exist in Germany. Summer is like a Portland spring. The weather may creep towards the 70s, but it never really gets there. Not to mention the hot water in my room went out, and I had to race over to Carrie's to use their shower, because it was too damn cold for me to even consider showering in the blisteringly cold waters.

I could not figure out why I had become such an emo asshole lately, and now I realize it: it is SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder). See, I am from Boise, aka the high desert. We have four distinct seasons: winters are real winters, summers are real, honest-to-God summers. I keep reading people's status updates on facebook about how miserable the heat is at home. People who keep bitching: I would gladly trade places with you right now. I want my 100+ degree weather! I want dryness! I want that feeling you get when you have been walking outside for 10 minutes, sweating out every last bit of liquid in your body, and then you walk into a store and the wind is knocked out of you because the AC is cranked to arctic temperatures. I WANT THAT NOW! This is my first summer, since I was 7, that I have not been in Boise. I did not realize how much I loved it until I did not have it.

I am beginning to think this is divine intervention: I do not want to leave Germany, I am dreading the thought of leaving all my friends and the wreck I will inevitably be, but truth be told, this weather is seriously making me reconsider my pull to live here. I am not cut out for this. I do not like mold growing on everything. I do not like habitual rain, nasty slugs that I keep stepping on, my clothes never being dry, wearing a fucking hooded sweatshirt in July. As soon as I get home, I am hiking up to the cross at 5 in the evening: the hottest part of the day, without sunscreen (maybe a hat) and laying out on top of a rock, overlooking the dry, hot desert that is Boise.

Despite how much I may dislike certain things about Idaho, there really is no other place like it. I have lived all over, but always seem to get sucked back to the Gem State. And I am pretty sure I want to stay there, at least until I get that itch to leave again. But I am fairly certain the U.S. is the place for me (maybe Canada, but Canada is practically the U.S., it just has legalized gay marriage and weed...wait, why am I not living in Canada??)

But I have to remember to keep an open mind. While it is a good idea to hold fast to your convictions, I think it is also important to be open to whatever life may throw at you. So Boise, you are mine, unless another amazing opportunity presents itself (another year-long Urlaub in Deutschland...maybe. No, I am going to say nine months so I am home in time for a real summer).

Friday, July 22, 2011

life in a nutshell

Yesterday I got back from the Basque Country (in northern Spain, in case your geography is a bit rusty) smelling of ocean (and unwashed hair) and it has to be said, I had an amazing time. I got a lovely "German" tan, saw old friends, ate great food, and drank fantastic drinks. It was a much needed break after my whirlwind of an emotional week--finishing the play, finishing school, passing my test (HELLS YES) and packing up all my stuff. I am STILL having trouble processing the fact that I will be home in 24 days.

One of the things I have to do when I get home is find a job. I have been looking for basically anything at this point that is part-time, does not require a lot of thought process and gives me a decent paycheck. Of course, I have been looking at law firms for odd jobs they may have, but also with accounting firms, coffee shops, etc.

Last night, something very strange happened. I found a law firm hiring a runner (which is the best job ever, simply because you are not trapped at a desk all day), and even though the pay is not fantastic, it is a job. I realized, though, that this law firm employs one of my former high school a lawyer. And I was suddenly met with this overwhelming feeling of underachievement. Here I was, applying for a job as a runner, and this girl had already graduated law school and was gainfully employed. We both graduated with roughly the same grades, same extracurriculars, went to similarly stacked colleges, and yet somewhere along the line, she went to law school and I did not. I started to panic thinking about how perhaps I have been wasting my time and not buckling down and becoming an adult. What the hell am I doing with my life??

Luckily, freaked out Sarah was replaced by "put things in perspective" Sarah. And I realized that yeah, okay, she may be a lawyer and have a job and all of that, but life is more than just a job. Why are we all so defined by what we do for a living? Or defined by what we have not accomplished? Like not being married or not having kids or a career. Why does any of that matter? Life is made up of experiences! I have lived, dammit! So I started making a list of 15 things in my life that I have done that are unique experiences for me, which define me and make me the person I am. Things I have accomplished. And I encourage everyone to do the same. Whenever you start feeling like your accomplishments are not enough, start making a list of things you HAVE done. I can guarantee it is a lot longer than the list of things you haven't. So here I go:

1. I graduated college (twice in December).
2. I lived in another country for a year.
3. I have run 8 half marathons in 4 different countries.
4. I sunburned my boobies on a nude beach in Spain.
5. I have gone snorkeling in the Caribbean.
6. I have gone horseback riding through the rain forest in Panama.
7. I celebrated Canada Day with Canadians in Canada.
8. I got drunk at Octoberfest.
9. I have ordered a beer in 10 different countries.
10. I acted in a play.
11. I have been sea kayaking in Malibu.
12. I worked at the Magic Kingdom in Florida.
13. I have done questionable things in Humboldt County.
14. I drank an Irish man under the table. An Australian later drank me under the table.
15. I have the most amazing friends in the world.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

es ist fast vorbei...

Today I have my final test in Studienkolleg--it is the same test I took when I first got to Germany, the same test I took in February which placed me into a super high level of German (which I am still not convinced I belonged in) and it is the same test that is probably going to cause me to have a nervous breakdown in the next five hours. The only way I could be MORE excited to take this test is if it included a free cavity search by Glenn Beck.

The funny thing is, as I was studying last night, I finally had an "OMG, THAT is how that works" moment with regards to something that has been plaguing me with German grammar. The complexity of German grammar, I have to say, is very similar to how I would imagine constructing a car would be. There are all these tiny parts that, alone, make no sense, but put together, produce one sweet-ass ride. I have been completely lost this entire semester, trying to figure out why we turn verbs into nouns and nouns into verbs, which verbs take the Akkustiv, Dativ, Genativ, etc., Relative Clauses, Participle construction, Konjunktions, all that fun stuff. It made no sense. But, whilst staring down my sample E-test, it finally all clicked. I mean, I GET it now. At least I hope I do. I guess the test will be the deciding factor in all that.

Today also marks the day where I launch into official crazy, get ready to go home mode. It starts out a small snowball, but that sucker is getting pushed down the hill, and I fear that the next five weeks are going to go by so quickly, I am not going to be able to process everything. Today is the test, followed by tech rehearsal, followed by two dress rehearsals this weekend, followed by three performances of our play. After that, Spain for a week. Then I come home, have one week to move out of my apartment, send stuff home, sell stuff I cannot take with me, etc., Then Kristin comes, then my sister comes, we go to Amsterdam, we go to Berlin, I come home and have two days before I fly back to America.

Where the HELL did time go?? Can it really be true that my time here is almost over? That I have only five weeks left in Deutschland? It somehow just does not feel...right. I remember before I left, we had a meeting at Boise State with the international office people, and they explained that, moving back home after six months or a year abroad, we would experience "reverse culture-shock." For the first seven months I was here, I could not imagine this--I loved everything America and disliked almost everything German. And then somewhere, everything changed, and I began to really embrace the Germans. And now I fear that this reverse culture-shock is exactly what I am going to experience when I get back to Idaho. I mean, shit, I caught myself at dinner the other night eating with my arms on the table! Knife in one hand, fork in the other! Which is what used to annoy me so much about the way Germans ate. 20 years of etiquette training out the window in one year. My mom is going to lose her shit when I come home for family dinner.

This entire experience has been surreal. Sometimes I think that it is not happening, that I am still at home, especially when I have to do mundane things like go grocery shopping. But then someone speaks German, and I look around and realize I am 6000 miles from home, and that all this really did happen, all this IS happening. I think back to my 18-year-old self frequently, and how, 9 years ago, graduating high school, I would never have seen myself living in Germany. Or trying to learn German. Or even back in school getting another degree. None of it. It is amazing how life can change in an instant.

But, as I have said before, everything in life happens for a reason. We all have a destination before us, and though we reach the end that we are supposed to, we have the option of taking as many different paths as necessary to get there. And that is where the unpredictability and excitement in life lies. I do not know what comes after this whole experience, but whatever it is, THIS experience will shape it in profound ways. I know it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Today's Failure in Essen Abenteuer is Brought to You by...

Sarah's inability to read German; or, more aptly put, Sarah's inability to read German like a GERMAN, and not like an American.

Every Monday after rehearsal, I like to go to Ilsetopf, a very lovely little restaurant on the corner of Ilseplatz, which also has a splendid Bier Garten, and has proved to be one of my favorite spots when the weather is nice (and it has been consistently nice on Mondays for a few weeks now). Other members of ACT join me as well, and this has turned into a regular little spot for me. I love when people working at places that you frequent often both a) know your name and b) know what you drink. Like I have said before, it is the small things in life that really make me just gush with happiness.

I am usually fairly predictable with the food that I order (Flammkuchen (Ph? Keine Ahnung--I have probably just spelled wrong, but neither here nor there--but the Flammkuchen with garlic sausage and peppers). It is so good. Today, though, I decided to be healthy and order a "Salat." Now, see, I figure that anything that falls under the heading "Salat" presumably has some form of lettuce in it, perhaps a few vegetables here and there. I mean, "Salat" elicits visions of healthiness, yeah? So I order the "Duett," which I assumed would be salad with meat on it (I recognized the word "Fleisch"). This is what came out:

This, my friends, is most definitely NOT the salad I was expecting. THIS is simply a meat salad with fried potatoes on it. See, I think like an American: I see salad and think SALAD. Germans think salad, and it could mean lettuce, or it could mean this: a deep-fried fatty goodness.

Well, I ate most of it anyway, with the promise that tomorrow I would do an hour and a half of hill running. Which means I am going to have to get up early because it is supposed to be hot tomorrow. UGH.

Not only that, I proceeded to choke on my Dunkel Weißen (like out-the-nose, doubled over, unable to breathe choking), and Simone informed me that I had "caused her German heart to cry" because I wasted valuable beer. Germans have priorities, and is not my health... All-in-all, tonight's eating adventure was a huge failure, though we live and learn, right?

And by the way, Happy Birthday, America! We celebrated last night here in Deutschland in your honor, and honey, we would have made you proud!

Friday, July 1, 2011


I can't really describe the feeling of listening to an old album that has been collecting dust (metaphorically, since all of my cds are on my computer). It is like rekindling an old friendship--the friend never left you, you knew that they were always there to support you, but because of time or change or what-have-you, you lost touch. Coming back together is a flood of emotions and feelings that you had forgotten about. Sometimes this reunion is bittersweet, conjuring up memories from the past that you had wished to forget, while other times it just brings the simplest smile to your face.

I also love that, no matter how much time has passed, you still know all the lyrics to all the songs on said album. And each song holds special meaning. It is the small things in life that truly remind me of how wonderful life is. And how life without music or art or more aptly put, beauty, however you define that, is simply not worth tolerating.

Anyway, today, while perusing through my iPod looking for a suitable cd to listen to while I read my book, I came across Natalie Merchant's "Tigerlily."

I have not listened to this album in its entirety, I am guessing, since I was in junior high going through that whole Lilith Fair phase. (Who am I kidding, I am still IN the Lilith Fair stage, though I believe everyone else refers to this as "lesbian rock" and the artists have changed over time, but whatever). Thinking that this overcast day was the perfect opportunity to reunite with Ms. Merchant, I have now listened to the cd well over three times. And I remember every single word to every single song. And it brought back such a flood of sentimental memories, I had to go for a walk to sort of rehash through some things.

This cd reminds me of the Idaho mountains in winter. Not just the mountains themselves, but the smell, the feel, the taste, everything. And this is one of the things I miss most about Idaho when I am away for a long time. It is just a feeling. I think anywhere you grow up and have distinct memories of will elicit this sort of gut-wrenching yearning to be back in that place. Walking through the trees and knee-deep snow in the dead of winter, smelling fires burning, people making hot chocolate, the sound of the wind in the bare trees. The nights when the snow just falls perfectly under lights and there are no cars on the road. Everything seems so peaceful and so right (right up until you have to wake up the next morning and drive to work in "winter conditions," at which point my happy, little meditation state is replaced by me screaming at 2C drivers on the connector).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

TheraFlu Philosophy....

Confined to my room due to illness (you remember that scene from "The Matrix" where Agent Smith just pummels the shit out of Neo in that subway tunnel toward the end of the movie? That is how my chest feels right now) and completely doped up on TheraFlu, I have just read the entirety of "My Sister's Keeper," by Jodi Picoult which, has to be said, is a FANTASTIC book. I could not put it down. I guess if I am going to be trapped in a small room for hours on end with nothing to entertain me but a pile of movies I have seen 100 times and stack of random books, I could not have asked for a better novel.

Anyway, I came across this great passage from the book that I thought I would share.

"Life sometimes gets so bogged down in the details, you forget you are living it. There is always another appointment to be met, another bill to pay, another symptom presenting, another uneventful day to be notched onto the wood wall. We have synchronized our watches, studied our calendars, existed in minutes, and completely forgotten to step back and see what we've accomplished" (341).

Funny, as I was walking home last night, up Nauwieserstraße, there was such an overwhelming scent emanating from the trees that lined the street. Because it was around midnight, there were not too many cars driving on the road, and I had to stop and just take in that powerfully aromatic smell; oddly enough, it reminded me of home--not a physical place, but that metaphysical place that resides in all of us, that sometimes gets lost along the way.

I stood on the sidewalk for five minutes, eyes closed (probably not the smartest thing in Saarbrücken late at night, but oh well) and just appreciated the moment I was in. I cannot remember the last time a smell caused me to stop and just breathe, to take in the air and the light, to experience life at that exact moment. Granted, I think my little stop last night in the rain caused my slight cold to explode into what it is now, I remembered what it was to truly appreciate these tiny instances that are connected, to everyone and everything, and that these instances only seem random until they are woven into the larger canvas that is our existence, our lives.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Momentous Day...

I did homework tonight. For, like, an hour and a half. I figured that was blog-worthy.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Luxembourg Half Marathon

I thought I should write this blog now before my love of running slowly dissipates and this becomes a blog of me bitching about how much pain I am in, losing toenails, having offensive body odor, etc.

This past weekend, I ran my eighth half marathon (I had to go back through and do a little headcount) in Luxembourg. Why Luxembourg? Well, why not? It was close, the course was supposed to be lovely, and I need an excuse to run. When I do not have races to complete, my desire to run is matched only by my desire to have teeth extracted. Having a race means I have to train, or I pay the price during 13.1 miles of pure and horrific agony.

I was *sort of* prepared for this race. I had been doing about an hour of hill running 3 times a week, but had not actually run a long run since Prague. The problem with long runs is that I have to wake up early and go running along the river, and while this is okay once in a while, I hate waking up early and I hate running when there are tons of people out exercising with me. Mainly because the Germans stare. They stare so much. I get all paranoid that my butt is sweating or my love handles are peaking out from above my spandex shorts--with maddening thoughts like this, it is hard to concentrate on running. All I can think about is the Pillsbury doughboy.

So needless to say, I was a tad bit nervous to run. I knew I would be good for an hour, but much beyond that, I believed that divine intervention would be the only way I would make it to the end of this race. This was also the first race I would be running alone, and I wondered how I would fare (fair?) as a solo distance runner. It was either going to be epically awesome or epically tragic.

THANK GOD it was epically awesome. STUPENDOUSLY awesome. This being my eighth half marathon, it should be said that I have never run a half marathon in under 2:20. The best time I have had was running in Salt Lake last year, at 2:21. And I was pretty stoked about that time. And I ran Prague in 2:26, which is not horrible, but it definitely was not my best showing.

Luxembourg: 2:07. 2:07!!! I could not believe it. I remember coming around the corner and seeing the 18km sign and looking down at my watch stunned. There was NO WAY the time on my watch was correct. With just 3 kms left, I was at 1:50. Holy shit balls! The excitement of realizing that I totally had just kicked that half marathon in the ass propelled me to sprint the last 3 kms. Runners high? HA! It was like I had taken a fistful of Ecstasy and chased it with Absinthe! Of course, this high feeling was squashed when I crossed the finish line, only to be bottlenecked into a tight corridor with 200 other runners who had just finished, of varying degrees of smelliness, with my legs about to give out under me and no room to move. I managed to maneuver my way through the crowd before I had a complete meltdown and beat the hell out of someone with a safety pin.

Two days later, I am still feeling pretty good about this. My goal is to run the Portland Marathon in October in 4:20 (haha) and I now think this may be an attainable goal. Who knows...I could even run it faster! And apparently, if I run the Redwood half (a week later) in under 1:50, I automatically qualify for the New York City half, which I want to run in March over my birthday.

I feel like I might be becoming a real, honest-to-God runner...and this feeling freaking rules! I remember being younger and getting pissy when I had to run longer than 2 miles. I never, NEVER in my life thought I would be running marathons, half or otherwise. But now that I have started, I am kind of addicted. I know this is something that is going to at least keep me semi in shape for the rest of my life, which is good, given my tendency to shove all the food and beer I can find into my mouth.

And I want to share this feeling of awesomeness I have. I love getting new friends involved in running halves with me. So if anyone is interested, please get in touch with me. Friends in Boise, friends in Germany: it is a great opportunity to get in shape and feel a sense of accomplishment. Hells yes.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Flying High...on...Life?

Last night, at the ripe old age of 27, I made my theatrical debut, if you will, and managed to both not suck and not throw up on myself or my fellow actors on stage. Given the fact that I love attention and constantly have to be the center of it, it is surprising to me that it took me this long to discover theater--where everyone MUST be focused on me. I mean, they PAY to be focused on me. What a nice little ego trip! All that aside, though, I think I have never done theater simply because I could not eat, I could not sleep and I kept having nightmares where I could only remember my lines in German, which is completely improbable because I do not speak German, but the fear was there, nonetheless. I am not cut out for that kind of pressure!

The strange thing is (well, is it really that strange?) given all the pressure and nerves and the quick weight-loss scheme, last night was one of the best nights I have had in so long. One of the best nights that I can remember. And it was not just actually being in the play, but belonging to something so awesome as ACT (the English-speaking theater group on campus). As we all huddled around the stage before the show getting our lovely pep-talk (which consisted of more than "you had better not fuck up, ha!") I looked around and realized this was one of the first times in my life where I was surrounded by a group of people...and I liked every, single one of them! More than that, I respected every single one of them, and felt so honored to be let in this tight little circle (most of the people involved in ACT have been involved for several years). I felt like possibly, the little evil gremlin that resides inside me was shut up long enough for me to enjoy myself and the company of truly wonderful people. Dare I say, I even got emotional and may have teared up a little bit. I fucking hate having ovaries.

Well fuck this. Now I am super pissed. Go figure, I have two months left in Germany, and I finally, FINALLY start to really enjoy it here. I have been so excited to go home, and now, I really do not want to leave. I am not ready to leave behind the friends I have here (though friends, if you ever want to visit Idaho, you always have a place to stay! Seriously! Just give me a weeks notice). Why in the hell could I have not felt this way six months ago?? I think this is always the case--it takes so long to really warm up to a place and feel comfortable with your surroundings and with different people, and when you finally do, you have to leave. I guess the one positive thing is that I am going to leave Saarbrücken on a high note, and I could not ask for anything more. It really is crazy all the dramatic ups and downs living abroad has thrust upon me, but it has made me grow as a person, and I am excited (and scared shitless) to see how the changed me will influence my friends and family at home. Hopefully they have not all grown accustomed to grumpy mcgrumpants.

Oh, and if you are interested in coming to see our show (and if you are in Saarbrücken, you had better be!) we have performances again on campus July 11, 12, and 13th. I will be littering facebook with advertisements very soon.

In the meantime, photos!

"Enigma Variations"

After-show party!

Thanks, Achim, for the amazing group shot!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Late Night Thoughts

Unable to sleep, I find myself in front of the computer in my hostel in Garmisch contemplating many things. I realized, looking back on several blogs, that my overall impression of life in Germany has not been entirely positive. There are so many things from home that I miss more than I can possibly describe. The sense of familiarity, the overwhelming feeling of belonging someplace (which I have not found living in Saarbrücken)...a life that I had become comfortable living in Boise. Being so excited to go home, back to what I am so used to, I know there are so many things I am missing living in Germany. It is easy to tell myself that going home will fix this sense of loss in my heart, but truth be told, I think I am just making excuses for myself.

I sometimes forget, living in a place like Saarbrücken, which has never really felt like home to me, that Germany is an amazing place. Now do not get me wrong--I love Saarbrücken. I love living someplace different--experiencing a life that I would have otherwise not been able to experience had I stayed in Boise. Living abroad is something I recommend to everyone. My entire perspective on life has been altered. I am so appreciative of the person I have become living abroad for a year--I feel so much more rounded, so much more...cultured? Is that the right word? I am not sure. I know, despite all the absolutely crazy ups and downs, that I am a different person, a different person for the better. Which is exactly what I wanted to take away from this entire experience.

When our train first arrived into Garmisch, I felt this overwhelming sense of happiness. I cannot readily explain it, but it is the same feeling I experienced while living in Boise--when you know that you are in the right place at the right time. That all things in life are falling into place. As I have said before, I firmly believe that everything in life happens for a reason--that you meet people in your life for a end up where you are supposed to be. I do not attribute this to any sort of religious figure, per se, but fate has a way of intervening, and you have to be at least semi-aware of what is going on around you to see that things are supposed to fall into place.

Being in Germany, more specifically, being in Bavaria, gives me such an overwhelming sense of belonging, I cannot help but think that this place is where I am meant to be. The last time I was in Garmisch, back in August, I had one of the best times of my life. Not knowing anyone, traveling alone, unable to speak ANY German, I felt more at home here than I did in Boise. It was a feeling I lost trying to manaeuver my way around Saarbrücken. Coming back here, though, almost 10 months later, I have such a strong pull to be here, to stay here, and I really cannot ignore all the signs telling me that this is where I belong.

What if my life is not what I am making it to be? I mean, can anyone see me really living the life of a CPA, slaving away in an office for the rest of my life, doing taxes, balancing income statements and cash flow statements--only seeing daylight when the chaotic mess that is tax season ends? I have never seen myself as an accountant. I have never seen myself doing anything that does not make me happy. And while living in Boise would be easy for me, and would be happy for me, is it truly what I want? Am I so excited to go home because I miss the comforts of everything that I have become used to that I am ignoring all the signs that point to me staying in Germany, at least for a little while, and making the most of this amazing experience that I have been offered?

I am at a complete crossroad right now. I know that I am at least going to come back to Boise and graduate in Decemeber, but after that, I feel like I am up in the air as to where my path will lead. I love Germany so much--particularly this area that I am in. Being able to get by with a language barrier and a cultural barrier, and still being able to come out on top and feel somewhat positive about things--I cannot ignore this. It is such a difficult thing--do I give up everything I have back in Idaho: a house, a (potential) job, my ability to easily communicate, amazing friends, etc., and just pack up and move here? I feel like, right now, should the opportunity present itself, I would move here in a heartbeat. I would give up everything for the chance to start over here. And it scares me. I am so, so scared at that prospect, but if it is what feels right, can it be wrong? Can I ignore this doubt and just leap?

I hope so.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Crazy People

For reasons I cannot readily explain, I like to do things that I know for a fact to be terrible for me. It is amazing to me that I have managed to function as a somewhat competent adult until now, but I really do worry about what the future may hold for me. I think, due to my unwavering dedication to anything and anyone that I feel truly passionate about, the fact that every once in a while I indulge in these little experiences of self-deprecating madness, I may be okay. But not before these experiences take a toll on me, physically and mentally.

To clear the air right now, I am not talking about my love of partying. Granted, this in and of itself is not good for me, I have slowed down quite a bit in my old age. You reach a point, somewhere in your mid-20s, where you realize that engaging in such reckless and irresponsible behavior just isn't fun anymore. Not to mention that I am beginning to greatly dislike losing control to the point where I cannot remember things. But it is an experience, yeah?

By engaging in things that are bad for me, I am referring to my unavoidable obsession with becoming unhealthily attached to people who I know are not good for me. And not good for me may be a bit harsh. It is not really that these people are not good for me, but due to the physical, mental, or psychological unavailability of said person, I find myself giving a lot more to these relationships than they deserve, and this has left me a bit of a wreck. It is both exhausting and disheartening to invest in these relationships, but I cannot stop. What is it with me and latching onto people who are, for whatever shortcoming of their own (or is it my own shortcoming?), unable to return a friendship or relationship with the same level of commitment I do? And why the hell can I not dump these people? It is not like I am hard-pressed for friends. I have never regarded myself as someone who is desperate for human interaction, but it is these stupid relationships that leave me questioning the state of the world and humanity as we know it.

Now this is not to say that everyone I meet falls into this category. In fact, far from it. I have some of the best friends anyone could ask for. I have met some of the best people you could ever hope to meet. It is these little hiccups along the road, however, that remind me why it is so hard to make new friends. People are insane. Everyone. Me more so than others, I will be honest. But I need to set a limit on just HOW MUCH insanity I can deal with. And why cant people display their true colors early on in a relationship? Why do they have to wait, four, five, six months to unleash their craziness on me? I am on to you, crazy people!

This blog was not sparked by any particular person or any recent event. It is something that has been building in me for a while, and since people are bored on a Friday at work, I figured why not share it. I think this is something everyone goes through at some point: you find a person that you give so much of yourself to and it just is not reciprocated. At what point do you just cut your loses and run?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

aaaaaand we are back!

Well, folks. It is official: in exactly 90 days I will leave the Vaterland and head back to my cozy little bubble of awesomeness that is the United States! I am starting to freak out a little, because I know the inevitable question on everyone's mind back in Idaho is "so, Sarah...are you fluent in German now"? The good thing is, given the lack of German speakers in Idaho, I can lie and say yes and spout a bunch of random words in German (coupled with my super sexy American accent...eye roll here) and no one will be any the wiser. Well, except for my German professors next semester, who will start babbling to me auf Deutsch and expect me to understand. I have a feeling they are going to get the same blank stare I give to everyone here. And then they will wonder just how big of an idiot I actually am.

But here is the question: can anyone just attain complete proficiency in another language in just a year? I mean, okay, I am sure there are people, but normal people? People like me, who may be a little past their prime? I wonder how things would have been different if I had gone to say, Spain. I think having a little bit of background to a language when you are younger is exponentially helpful. Jumping into a language like German...super smart, Sarah. Especially given the prevalence of Deutsch in the states. But I refuse to give up. I may not be fluent by the time I get back...hell, I might not even be able to understand people, but I am not giving up on German. And dammit all, if I have children, fuck a nice Hispanic nanny. Oh no. I am finding Helga von Teufel to whip those little bastards into shape. They will speak German. Maybe Chinese. Oh yes, future kids. Get your shit ready.

I have managed to plan the rest of my European adventures and I gotta say, there are some fun times in my future. München, Garmisch, Köln, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, San Sebastian. I am going to become a well-rounded, traveled Republican. And it will be glorious. And I am very excited about my sister and my friends coming to visit. It is nice to have something to look forward to every month; I think it will make the remainder of my time here go by a lot faster.

Oh, and tomorrow I am (hopefully) FINALLY going to get my hair cut. It has been 5 months, and anyone with fine, thinning hair knows that going 5 months without a haircut is pretty much on par with never eating vegetables. I look something scary right side is way shorter than the other, and my layers are so not working. This should be a fun adventure! Holla!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Yes, I am still alive!

I wish I could lie and say that I just have not had time for blogging, but alas, I cannot seem to muster up the strength to deceive myself like that. Truth be told, I have been busy, though I still manage to find time to stare blankly off into space for several hours contemplating the state of the world and my role in it. With the assistance of some wine.

I am officially in full swing here, as classes at the actual University have started, along with my German language courses. I had to take some courses in English because I am on German overload. Which is funny, because I just had a two week break from the actual German courses. I think learning German with complete immersion in the schools is much like drinking. You can take a two week break, but if, at the end of that two week break, you think you can do a minute long keg stand without some sort of repercussion, you are sorely mistaken. Going from just casual conversational German with my friends to wa-bam Deutsch grammar made my head want to implode on itself.

In other fun and exciting news, I am making my theatrical debut here in Deutschland as part of ACT: the English-speaking theatre group on campus. I am going to pretend like I am actually a good actor and that is why my auditions went so well, but I cant help but think it also has something to do with the fact that, oh, I don't know, I am a native English speaker. I am going to continue to live in my little bubble of awesomeness, though, so whatever. I really hope I do not forget my lines. I keep having these anxiety-ridden nightmares where I get up on stage and can only think of my lines in German, which is entirely implausible because, well, fuck, I do not speak German. Stranger things have happened, though.

As my time here in Germany winds down, I am filled with such a clusterfuck of mixed emotions. I cannot even begin to describe how unbelievably excited I am to go home. Fuck, I am even excited about taking accounting courses in the Fall--how sick is that?? I have started a list of things that I am going to do when I get home, and it is a good thing I have a week before classes start because I am going to need all that free time to get my Boise on. But alas, there is a part of me that is really starting to grow attached to Germany. Dare I say that if my circumstances were different (for example: if I were not living in Saarbrücken, or if I was not in student housing and had such basic necessities as a washer, stove, kitchen, washing machine, etc.) I might be tempted to stay here. There is a lot about Germany I like, and a lot about Germany that I do not like, but I think that holds true with a lot of places. I know I am going to be so glad to be away from some of these super rude Germans. If one more guy pushes me out of the way to get on the bus before me, I am going to kick him in the testicles. Maybe then knee him in the nose. I cannot believe how something as simple and timeless as male chivalry has seemed to escape the Germans. Yeah, yeah, yeah, so I am a feminist and all that bullshit, but this is something so incredibly simple--dare I even say, innate decency. I really hope I do not move back to Boise and ram the back of someones car for cutting me off in traffic. I think that is a very German response to such things.

But the weather here has been absolutely beautiful--mid to high 70s--perfect sundress weather, or drinking weather, or my new favorite activity in Germany--schwenker! I will give Saarland that--schwenker is like a gift from God. Coupled with good friends, good drinks and some other fun and exciting additions, I feel like my days could not get any better, stretched out in Jens backyard reveling in the awesomeness that is voluntary unemployment.

I will say that today was a little bitchy, as I finally mustered up the motivation to go on my run around 5 (oh yeah, I signed up for the Portland marathon in October--someone get me some drugs, fast!) and half-way through, a Humboldt-style rain left me looking and smelling like a wet dog. This is why running is evil.

I think that is all for now. I am going to pour myself a beer (mixed with banana juice which, by the way, is freaking AMAZING! Thank you, Germany, for introducing me to new and exciting ways to enjoy my alcohol!) and watch the latest episode of The Colbert Report.

Friday, April 8, 2011

grocery shopping woes

I have been getting ready to go to the grocery store now for the better part of two hours. You may be thinking "why are you getting all dressed up and taking so much time simply to go to the grocery store"? Truth be told, I am not getting dressed up. I do not even have make-up on. I have been sitting in my underwear, flipping through my ipod, blasting at unreasonably high volumes such classic favorites as Tears for Fears and Tiffany while mustering up the mental will-how to get my ass to the Rewe. Grocery shopping just isn't fun anymore.

Some people view grocery shopping as a horrible, horrible chore that must be completed; I mean, we all need food, yeah? And those crazy feminists are probably thinking the grocery store is just an extension of the domestic sphere: a tool of a dominant patriarchal ideology constructed to keep women in their place. Maybe they are right. I mean, when was the last time you saw a commercial with a dude super excited about going to buy broccoli and cous cous at Albertsons?

I digress. Feminist or no, I love going grocery shopping. I love walking into Winco or Costco or Trader Joes or what have you and just smelling the awesomeness that is an organized, adventure-filled food warehouse. And I like the consistency. No matter what Winco you happen to waltz into, you can count on the fact that everything has some semblance of organization. If the toilet paper and paper plates are near the ice cream and frozen yogurt in one Winco, chances are good that going to a different Winco will produce the same result. I like that. It is knowing that something will never change that gives me peace of mind in this otherwise chaotic and clusterfuck existence that I call life.

Grocery shopping in Germany, however, is not as fun. My heart does not swell with the thought of purchasing my weeks meals, a mid-morning snack, late night munchies. No, my heart sinks to my butt when I think about having to make the trek to the Rewe or the Netto or, God forbid I muster up the courage to go to Globus, simply to purchase my groceries. I now view grocery shopping as a necessary evil--if I do not go shopping, I am forced to order food in, and while this is okay once in a while, I am pretty sure my muffin-top would like a break.

I cannot figure out what it is about German grocery stores that makes me want to swing my cart around violently and run over hoards of people. Oh wait, that is assuming I can even get a cart. I have decided that the pressure of having to "rent" a cart is more than I can handle, and have committed to only getting the amount of groceries that will fit into the red basket (and for you Europeans, I am not talking about that fucking red basket that has wheels that you can drag behind you. You look like a tool with those things, and it is equally aggravating when it runs into me. I want to kick your sausage and sauerkraut right out of it). I think I am so apprehensive towards German grocery stores simply because they are GERMAN grocery stores. It is not a Winco, it is not a Costco; I am constantly searching for things, for brand names that are somewhat familiar, only to be met by their evil German counterpart (i.e. Mr. Clean is in fact Meister Proper. Shit like that just does not have the same ring).

And I miss Costco. Oh how I miss Costco. Excessive or no, I like being able to purchase my 60" flat-screen television, 300 rolls of toilet paper, a cat bed and a rotisserie chicken all in one location. I went to Costco over Christmas break and wanted to get down on the floor and kiss it. It is the little things.

Anyway, random blog, I know, but I had this conversation with another friend of mine from America, and her sentiments are the same. I am thinking when I get back to Boise, I am going to have a party at Winco on Myrtle. Please RSVP if you can come.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Journal Entry

I do not know what has been going on lately, but I keep having blah days. I wake up in the morning and usually think everything is going to be fine, but by about mid-day, I lose all motivation to do anything productive, and then get mad at myself later for being so lazy. I cannot quite remember when this shift in my personality occurred; I used to be so put together, so organized, so...motivated. And somewhere along the line, I just stopped caring. Can you just lose your will to do anything? I sometimes wonder if this is depression, though I am not usually sad. Isnt that one of the symptoms? Arent you usually sad? I guess I am not sad, per se, but I just want to be left alone most of the time.

I thought I could move away from my problems. The small ones that were starting to build living in Boise. I thought going to a different place would change everything. Some things have changed, but not the things I wanted. I guess the old adage is true: you cannot run away from your problems. But realizing you cannot run away from your problems is a little disheartening. At what point do I stop blaming my circumstances and my surroundings and other people for my problems and when do I take responsibility?

Realizing today that this is my fault, that I have created this hole I now exist in sucks. I have the same problems I had in Boise, which is a clear indication that the issue exists not in where I am or who I know, but within myself. I have somehow convinced myself that I cannot amount to much of anything, and it is this sort of self-defeating bullshit that is going to slowly eat away at me if I do not change something. This is, of course, easier said than done. How do you change something that has become so fundamentally a part of you: being able to blame others for my shortcomings is much easier than having to deal with the painful reality of my self-made misery.

Maybe this is like a 12-step process. Maybe the first step is recognizing that I have a problem and admitting it. Because once it is out in the open, you cannot run away from it.

And I think right now, I am at a crossroads in my life. I had a feeling something major was going to happen this year. I could not put my finger on what it was, but I think this may be it. This is where I take the step in either direction: one way leading down the path I was originally intended for--the path where I quit making excuses for myself and buck up and start acting like a goddamned adult. Or I go down the other road, where I just accept my plot in life and be miserable. I know I alone have the power to change my life. It is a powerful, powerful feeling knowing that if you are not happy with something, you can change it. You have to change it. Why go through life thinking that what you have, however miserable it makes you, is all you are worth? I am going to say right here that I know I am worth more than I have slowly become. And I only hope that I can remember this when things get difficult or when I just want to give up and blame it on someone else.

I think this is something everyone goes through, especially when life does not turn out the way you had planned. Failure is a difficult pill to swallow, but I need to learn that all the mistakes in my life are there for a reason, if not to teach me to quit being such a fucking idiot sometimes. It reminds me of this quote I once heard: "we all start each day and promise ourselves that we are going to be better. The problem is in the execution." I need to quit saying I am going to do something and just fucking do it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wir sind Helden rocked my socks right off!

The thing about New Years Resolutions is that, come about February, the enthusiasm and determination you once had to better yourself through hallow goals begins to dwindle, and by March, you are left thinking "eh? New Years Resolutions? I had those?" Case in point: Sarah's New Years Resolution to blog more. Well, fuck. I had that going for a good two months. But I just noticed that my last blog was back at the beginning of February. Hmph. At least I kept my resolution to do veganism during the week...wait...shit...

Anyway, it is not like there was a whole lot of blog-worthy things going on. I did go to Italy to visit Ms. Beth, which was freaking awesome, despite the fact that I got horrendously ill the second day and spent the better part of the week in bed, unable to make sudden movements without my head pounding and my sinuses imploding on themselves. At some point, I will blog about that, with photos! Other than that, my days have consisted of some running, some Vodka, some fußball, ein bisschen Deutsch lernen and a great deal of sleeping. Class started again today, and by some divine intervention, I ended up in a fairly high level of Studienkolleg, despite my inability to speak German with any sort of coherency (or even more importantly, or sadly, my inability to fucking understand Germans...two weeks in Italy and I was better able to understand Italian than German. Effing sweet). But neither here nor there....

Lets talk about tonight's amazing concert!

When I decided to learn German a year-and-a-half ago, I googled German bands in hopes of finding one that wasn't Rammstein. Unfortunately, Americans know two types of German music: the stuff that is played in Bayern and Rammstein, neither of which I was particularly interested in purchasing to expand my knowledge of German. One of the first bands that came up (other than Rammstein) was Wir sind Helden. I downloaded one of their cds and to my great surprise, despite the fact that I had no idea what the lyrics were even about, I absolutely loved them. I think the best adjective to describe them would be fun. Loads of fun.

When I found out they were going to be touring in Germany while I was here, I promised myself that I would go to the closest concert because, honestly, how many chances would I get to see Wir sind Helden live? HOO-FUCKING-RAH they were going to be playing in Saarbrücken! Beside myself with excitement, I have been waiting months for tonight. And it was SO WORTH IT.

I made John and Brice come with me early because I wanted to be in the front and I wanted to buy a t-shirt (and one for my sister for her a side-note, my sister is one of the most difficult people to shop for. She is like my dad. I asked her what she wanted and she told me "a shirt from Germany." Awesome, Morgan. So I told her I would get her a Wir sind Helden concert shirt because no one in L.A. would have one). We ended up in the front, mere feet away from the stage. The only person I have ever been closer to was probably Liz Phair, and I seriously doubt I am going to find another performer who will give the audience a chatch shot while she is playing the piano. You really cannot get much closer than that.

Anyway, the concert itself was fantastic! I am beginning to notice a big difference between German bands live and American performers...there seems to be a lot more energy over here in Germany. I have several theories as to why this is, but it is very refreshing for me. I absolutely fell in love tonight. If you like Wir sind Helden, you must see them live. It could honestly be the highlight of my year abroad. There was so much energy and so much enthusiasm--you could tell that the band really enjoyed what they were doing, and this definitely translated through their music. I particularly enjoyed the way they incorporated various songs in English into their own songs: The Fifth Dimensions "Aquarius," Alphaville "Forever Young," and a Deutsch-version of Talking Heads "Once in a Lifetime"--my favorite!

Here are some photos from my crappy little blackberry:

After the concert, we decided to wait a little while by the tour buses to see if we could get an autograph (I did, after all, score a set-list...which I asked for in almost perfect Denglish, since I have no idea what the word for set-list is in German). The thing is, as I told Brice, we would probably never see this band live again, unless they decided to tour in the U.S., and by U.S. I mean somewhere near Idaho. Right... So we might as well be creepy American stalkers and wait. Low-and-behold, Judith did pop out, and we did get autographs (hoorah, I have a birthday gift) and a photo.

Now, a while back, I may have gotten a wee-bit inebriated and posted a comment on Wir sind Heldens facebook wall about how freaking excited I was about the concert, and Judith actually responded. And don't you know, she totally remembered me tonight from my facebook comment (I cannot imagine there are too many dumb ass Americans who do not speak German who get all excited and drunk and spam their favorite bands facebook wall, however. I could be wrong...). See, mom! And you thought my alcoholism was a bad thing! But Judith said that it speaks volumes about the music when people who cannot understand the lyrics still enjoy the songs (case in point, I actually understand the majority of the songs...danke google translate!) But I could not agree more. Understanding the lyrics does help (I mean, after all, you do not want to be singing along to lyrics about devil worshiping or sacrificial slaughterings), but when music can be enjoyed by people from a different culture who speak a different language, you must be doing something right as a performer!

All-in-all, I could not have asked for a better night. I feel like now, should I get deported prematurely from Germany before my year abroad is complete, I can say I have done everything that I wanted to do. Viele danke, Wir sind Helden!!!