I have always firmly believed in doing things just for the experience. Before I left for Germany, it was my goal to do as many things as I could that I have never done before. I mean, the big one, obviously, was moving to another country. Some days, it is small, like actually waking up when my alarm goes off and going to class (today, epic fail). Traveling alone for three weeks in a place where no one speaks my language (fluently, I guess, since the German education system actually requires their students to learn foreign languages...fancy that), check. A lot has happened over here in Deutschland that has made me grow as a person. Ha ha, that verb is so going to be euphemism later on.
This week has been pretty shitty. Actually, Monday was all right, which gave me hope for the rest of my week, but then I woke up on Tuesday--fucking Tuesday--to freezing cold temperatures and snow on the ground, and I just knew. It was so not going to be good. I had two tests on Tuesday, neither of which I was entirely prepared for, but I have always been quite good at winging things. Like I told my mom: when you set the bar low from the get-go, people do not expect too much from you. So when you exceed expectations with little to no effort, people think you are actually trying. I do not know whether or not my mother was proud of this little personality trait of mine or disappointed. Either way, it has severed me well in my education. I know my accounting professors would disagree, and sadly, accounting may be the one example where I actually just do suck at it. I cannot help it. I am a creative person. The world is a cruel, cruel place when it rewards the drones in jobs that suck your soul out, but leave you struggling to make ends meat when you have a creative bone. The world needs more creative people.
Okay, ADD, back on track. So I took these tests on Tuesday and it was, well, how do I put this: fucking scheiß horrible. My reading test was all right; I am sure I still did pitifully dreadful, though maybe I surprised myself. Who knows. My grammar test, however. You know those moments where something is so horrible that you do not know whether or not you should laugh or cry? Like you start out laughing, and then you laugh so hard that you cry, and then you are just blubbering like an idiot? I had that moment looking at this test. I had absolutely no idea. NO IDEA. The last time I felt that hallowing hole of despair in the pit of my stomach was my Accounting 306 final. When a teacher calls you into his office after a test and says you would be better off just dropping the class and trying again in the fall, you know you might have done poorly.
I did not even understand the entire back page, let alone have the ability to follow the directions. I think I filled some stuff in, some in German, some in English, there may have even been some Spanish in there, and turned my test in. As I was walking out the door, I said to Frau Grigorieva: "you know, I think under different circumstances, you and I would have been friends." She smiled at me and said "probably." To which I promptly retorted: "but now, hells no. I just do not think our relationship would work after this." And walked out of the classroom. I am nothing if not eloquent with words.
So after that: slight funk. Followed by a night of drunk cooking. Followed by more funk. And "Fried Green Tomatoes." Which just made me even more depressed. Nothing makes you question your life choices like being bitch-slapped by something that you just cannot seem to attain. For me: language acquisition. And that fucking game with numbers...Suduko? What the hell is that even called. Okay, not important.
Yesterday, I went to class, where I was in a foul mood, and was preparing to go home and wallow in my self-pity with a jar of peanut butter and large pizza, when Estelle texted me and asked me if I would be interested in going to the sauna. Well, quite frankly no, no I would not. I told her I was in a pissy mood and the last thing I needed to do was waltz around in front of people naked while sweating balls (I said all this in English, to which she responded I needed to say it in German because she was doing chat on her iPhone and did not have google translate. I told her I knew that, and I wrote in English when I didn't want her to know what I was typing. She called me a bitch). Anyway, she told me that I needed to get my ass over there now or she would, I believe the verb was "schlagen" me. Well, always the submissive, I packed my backpack full of "sauna" essentials and headed over (after having a drink). She promised that I would feel better after. I doubted this seriously.
Okay, lets talk about German saunas.
Keep in mind that I am an American, which makes me inherently somewhat of a prude, but also means I am used to saunas attached to locker rooms at Golds Gym, where you are actually required to be in some form of clothing. This particular sauna was not just a sauna, but a culmination of, like, seven different saunas, a pool, hot tub, meditation room, relaxation rooms, snack bar, beer bar, etc. Imagine if Wal-Mart was a sauna: your one-stop total relaxation experience. We paid to go in and went into the locker room which, by the way, was co-ed. Okay, shocker number one (ha ha, shocker). So I disrobed and promptly put on the robe that Estelle had brought for me. We went out into what I guess was the main area of this ginormous establishment and all I saw were penises. PENISES everywhere! Penises attached to fat men, skinny men, balding men, hairy men, young men, old men. You name it, there was a penis attached to it. I could not stop staring. I have never seen so many naked men in one place. Lets not even talk about the last time I actually saw a penis just hanging out; imagine seeing, like, 20 of them all in a row.
Now I guess I have just been lucky with the penises that I have seen, but I did not know they came in such varying sizes. If I were to create a scale upon which to base the sizes of the penises I saw, it would range from lemon (sick) to foot long hot dog (sick). And here is another little tid bit of information: apparently the majority of men in Europe ARE NOT circumcised. My level of allowable trauma in one day was far, far surpassed. Or so I thought. Until a guy walked by who was OBVIOUSLY really excited to be in the sauna. Seriously, buddy? So not okay.
Oh, and it was not just naked men, mind you. Though few and far between, there were naked women as well. Mostly old naked women, which depressed me ever so slightly. It is one thing to read about what time will inevitably do to your once (sort of) tight, wrinkle-free, skin cancer-free, young 20-something body. It is quite another to actually see what is going to happen. The day my tits sag lower than my chatch is the day I move up to the mountains and start raising goats before meeting my timely end. Or, hopefully by that point, cosmetic surgery will be such that they can transplant my brain into a newer, younger body.
When I finally got sort of used to all these scary naked German men walking around, and by used to, I mean that I was able to have a conversation with Estelle without gawking at a wagging pork sausage as it walked by, I began to really enjoy the sauna experience. At this particular sauna, they have a schedule of when you can go get tortured in an exceedingly hot room. After my first time in the room that, I am fairly certain, was upwards of 90 degrees CELCIUS, I realized why everyone was walking around naked. Imagine playing tennis against Lindsay Davenport in Tucson in July at noon. And then imagine, on top of that, that some dude who really enjoys torturing other people comes in and starts waving a hot towel at you, thus making it feel like you are getting hit in the face with, well, while we are on the topic of penises, Satan's fiery sword. That is what this room was like. I attempted to keep my towel on during this 15 minutes of hell (literally), but by the second go-round, I flung that bad boy off and just splayed out in all my glory. It was fantastic; I am pretty sure I sweated out a baby, and probably every last drop of alcohol I had consumed in the last four weeks.
So, to leave out all the other nitty, gritty details (oh, like naked pool swimming, going to another sauna that smelled like three-week old vag, having some guy hit on me in the sauna while I am sweating like a pig and naked, and while HE is sweating like a big-ass hairy pig and naked (p.s. buddy, even if I swung that way, not impressed)) I had a wonderful time at the sauna. So I guess Estelle was right; my shitty week got exponentially better after that (and I subsequently made a conscious decision to not go to class for the rest of the week). The sauna kind of reminds me of being high, though I think it is my brain screaming at me for trying to fry it in my skull. But I left really wanting a bacon cheeseburger.