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 Saarbr├╝cken. 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: SVU...in 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

Berlin...

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!