Thursday, August 29, 2013

The big move

Ok, so this post is about what's on my mind these last couple of weeks.
Maybe someone would be interested in the point of view and differences to the US.

We're thinking about moving back to Germany.
We both realized the US and its ways and views don't make us happy, so instead of fighting through, we decided to go back to where we were happy.

When I get to Germany, I'll have to deal with going to city hall and tell them that I'll be back living in the city.
In Germany you can't just move wherever you want and no one's the wiser. You have to get the address on your ID changed in the first couple of weeks after the move otherwise you have to pay mean fees. Sounds weird to Americans, but on the other hand we don't have 'warrant strike teams' showing up in the middle of the night because they're looking for someone who didn't pay their child support who might live somewhere in the vicinity and take them to the police station in cuffs. The police, courts etc already know where you live, so they can send you a letter instead.

So it's a bit of a catch22, you have to go to city hall and get your ID changed with a new address etc, but you can't do that unless you already have a rent contract for an apartment (as proof that you're really living in that city).
Without a German address on your ID you won't be able to create a German bank account or e.g. apply for unemployment (as that's city and not state business). Without the German bank account you can't pay your rent or get a 'pay cheque' as in Germany the money gets paid via money transfer and not via paper 'checque' that you have to put into your account. And you wont get paid cash either unless it's under the table.

So a lot of things to take care of plus i'm still trying to get my drivers license here before moving (it depends on the US state what happens when you want to exchange the license for a German one, some don't get accepted at all, others are OK if you take your written test again in Germany to verify, others just take it as is and give you a German one without a problem. Thank goodness PA is one of those!)
Getting a drivers license in Germany is a lot harder and costs alot more money, as in aprox. 2000$ give or take.
You have to take theory classes as Germany has a lot less signs on the roads and more laws and restriction etc that you'll have to keep in mind for driving( no 'attention, there's a stop sign coming soon'-signs or 'this curve should be driven no faster than 15mph'-signs or speed limit signs everywhere, it depends on the kind of roads and where they are -close to schools or suburban neighbourhoods etc, and your theory classes should have taught you how fast you're allowed to drive).
You pay for those classes and are not allowed to do road classes until you sat through a certain amount of theory hours.
Then you'll start driving lessons with an instructor, you're not allowed to drive alone or even with a person 21 or older etc, you're only allowed to drive in your lessons until you pass your road test.
There's a certain number of highway lessons, night lessons etc you have to have and succeed in until your instructor tells you you're ready for your tests.
And then again, you'll have to pay for your written test and for your road test and if you fail, you'll have to pay that amount again (and it's not just 35$ like here, as far as i know e.g. your road test may cost up to 500€ a pop, your written test 200 or 300€ a pop).
So I took my written test a couple of weeks ago here in Philly, it took me about 5min and I passed and got my permit which allows me to practice driving on the road with a family member or friend who teaches me.
When I feel secure enough, i'll take my road test, and i'm done.
The Germans will groan now as their written test takes at least an hour and the questions are a lot more specific and some even mathematical (if you go 50mph how much room do you need between yourself and the car in front of you to not ram it in case it does a full stop? how much do you need if the street is wet? -and they want EXACT answers, no 'about 4-5seconds' or 'maybe 3 car lengths').

So keep your fingers crossed for me!
And If anyone is interested, I'll write some more about differences in moving abroad and in the states and what you have to keep in mind.
-ever had to think about buying light fixtures or a kitchen when you moved?
Well Germans do it all the time...more at a later time ;)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Frozen in place

Have posts planned but can't seem to put them into writing at the moment.i just freeze.
It seems atm people are dying left and right from me.
My niece's friend in a tragic accident, friends of friends, family of friends...and that's something i can least deal with.
I just don't know what to say or do when other people are in pain like this.
If friends are depressed or angry or...i can relate,i can talk logically trying to find a solution with them.
But death is something you can't talk yourself out of and the ones being left are in a pain you can't heal or make disappear.
I'm helpless and my mind is trying not to look at it, but it's busy with it anyway.
That doesn't seem fair to people i should help or comfort, so I'm in a twist and feel bad about it.
You can cry and talk to me about it, I'll listen but there's nothing i know how to do or say.
So whenever i try to do something else and keep my mind occupied,i stress myself out and freeze.

So I'm sorry that i don't finish my posts atm.
They'll come soon,i hope.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dating issues

These last couple of weeks I began to sum up a lot of basic cultural differences
between the US and Germany in my mind (most of the time even all of Europe, because with all my European friends I never noticed differences in the these topics as much as with the Americans -might be that I just never lived in their countries for a long period of time, but even visiting or just talking to people should show this).
And even thought about what would happen if an American would go to a German therapist.
Unless you have serious problems -bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, victim of a crime or traumatic events etc, there are many people seeing a therapist for stress related issues, simple family issues, love issues etc

Today I want to concentrate on 'love issues' (Americans seem to love the word 'issues', instead of saying "man, i fucked up, I'm sorry" they probably say "dude, i got issues" which sort of feels like 'it's-not-my-fault-because-I've-got-issues-and-got-no-money-for-therapy-so-you-have-to-feel-sorry-for-me-and-can-the-anger').

In Germany you don't really have 'dates'.
Date as in all official and serious - boy gets dressed up and meets the parents and takes the girl to a restaurant etc.
There's also no 'dating around'.
You're either a couple or you are not. Yes or No.
If you have a date with that girl, you no way in hell date another at the same time unless you are a 'player' asshole and usually get kicked to the curb the minute the girl finds out.

If you're a teenager you hang out with friends, meet their friends, meet new people at birthday parties or public parties (yes, there are parties for teenagers as well, just as there are parties for grown-ups, the only difference is the alcohol contend -and don't forget in Germany you're allowed to drink beer when you're 16+).
Maybe you exchange phone numbers and start texting, maybe you just meet up with a bunch of people in the city, hang in parks...and baaam! you have a boy/girlfriend.

It kinda works the same for grown-ups unless you do the weird online-dating thing, then of course you have a 'date'/'appointment' to meet the person for the first time etc.

And most of those online dates or other more random 'dates' you have in a coffee shop.
Even if you have 5 coffee dates it doesn't mean that the other person only 'wants to be friends', it just means it's convenient, casual and you can actually talk about things and be relaxed and leave whenever you want.
I think I had about 8 'coffee dates' with one of my first boyfriends and we were a couple for 18months afterwards.
Another boyfriend I met when I just broke it off with another and he walked me home just because he was nice and wanted to be sure I was safe.
It took about 5 more 'accidental meet ups and hangouts' until we though it would be cool to be a couple and actually kissed.

The seriousness of a 'date' is not measured in what it costs.
-In many situations you even split the bill and no German girl expects the guy to pay for everything.
Of course it's nice if you get free drinks or the guy you're going with pays for club admission etc, but every girl has money on her and expects to pay for herself, 'free' is just a nice addition/gift.
There's a cheapo Rock bar in the area and they offer 1€ shots for happy hour?
There's a street festival with yummy food and live music?
Hell yeah, let's go. Awesome date.
You want to go to the movie theater and watch the new Marvel movie?
Great, let's meet in front of the theater. -You already bought the tickets? I'll get the popcorn.
Dates are not supposed to feel like employment interviews for the job as each other's partner.
There's no check list you have to pass. Hey, I want to get pregnant in the next 6months, do you like babies? Really???

I looked through thousands of 'tips to make the first date a success' online, from Mens Health (4pm deadline?) over AskMen (check the meaning behind flowers before you buy her bouquet, women know this -meaning...flower...what?! The last guy who brought me flowers to a date was almost 20years my senior and flowers seem just as old-fashioned, unless you're looking for a Stepford wife, but you should recognize her by her apron and your slippers in her hand) to Cosmopolitan (now that's the most stupid...fzg#! -what his beverage says about his dating MO ? What his texts really mean ?)
There are some weird 'dating rules' here that I've never heard of outside a RomCom -and expected them to be as fake as the movie itself for comedic reference.

  • Wait three days until you call/Don't be the first to make contact after the date ? By that time a German girl already decided you're an asshole and don't call because she didn't have sex with you right away
  • Wait with sex until the 3rd date? If you want to have sex, have sex, if you want to wait until you feel you can trust the other person, do that. My first boyfriends had to wait a couple of months(!) until I was ready and they were OK to wait. My husband was supposed to be a One-Night-Stand -couldn't get rid of him :P
  • Accept no last minute invitations because it looks desperate? Desperate on him for thinking of you or desperate on you for seizing the occasion because you're interested and it shows?
  • Analyze the crap out of everything he said or did ? -and do it with your girlfriends? Sometimes a hammer is just a hammer and if you're not sure -how about asking him? Plus no matter how well your or his English/German is, sometimes you mean different things in using the same phrase, words etc, there can already be total misunderstandings between Aussies and Americans. So instead of fuelling your paranoia in any way, just open your mouth!
  • Only date 'your type' ? And you probably found your type via survey on Are there really women only dating brown haired guys/this height/briefs over boxer shorts? And you're in no way prejudiced and always open-minded as you always say? But if he chose OldNavy over Lacoste shirts it must mean that he's poor instead of realising it's the same quality, so why pay a fortune for the name? And complaining about guys only dating blonds/girls with big boobs/in high heels...all good guys are taken? How about dating outside your type?
  • Keep your dates short to make him want more? The guy probably thinks you're too busy or not interested if you cut it off after an hour. I would.
  • "Ain't Nothin' Open After Midnight 'Cept Legs" In Europe clubs stay open til early morning, you're basically a kid or a loser if you show up before midnight. And what are 24h diners for?
  • Going back to her place for coffee means sex    Or just that, an invitation for coffee and talking some more
  • Eating an extremely healthy meal while out on a date shows your guy you take care of yourself    Or he thinks 'not another anorexic, boring nitpicker'
  • Arrive late    Your parents never taught you the basics -take a shower, brush your teeth, never break promises and be on time? How rude...
  • Update your knowledge of current politics/music/news for the date  If you're just not interested in that kind of stuff, it seems pretty unfair to 'play the part' for your date and then later on disappoint the guy cause he thought you were someone you are not. Be yourself. Just don't burp, fart and spray your food over the table or get wasted, there's not only dates who don't like that. But that counts as common sense anywhere but the US it seems because it has to be mentioned in every 'dating tips for men' I found.
  • No Saturday night date cause it looks like you had nothing to do   So if you're so busy, are you sure you even have time for a boyfriend? If you want to meet some friends already, why not offer to take him with you? If it was me, I'd rather blow you off on a night I decided to stay in by myself than on a night I already wanted to go out. And Friday, Saturday...if I want to meet you, I meet you, and Saturday is one of the only nights almost everyone is able to go out besides people with alternate shifts
  • If he brings his ex up too early it means he's not over her   And if you spent the last years (or even lived with) with a boyfriend and you broke up, man, you have so much to talk about daily life and vacations and stuff without that person you broke up with...silent date, I guess, or talk about your favourite TV shows. 
  • You are a hussy for kissing the guy on first date/if you go out to an elaborate date with dinner etc and he pays, it's 'nice' to kiss as a thankyou   1. You can't have both 2. Personally I don't sell myself in any way, if I kiss you, I kiss you because I want to and not as a payback for anything -and expecting that is disgusting and I don't want to see you again anyway
  • After a year of dating you can expect a marriage proposal  My sister and brother-in-law were together for 10 years and had two kids until they thought, "OK, taxes, retirement and shit, let's get married real quick" . I don't know a single couple outside their 60s who weren't at least 2-10y together until they got married or even just moved in together. Many people don't get married at all.
(,,,, ...)

Now for the therapy session.
You come in crying you'll never find a good guy. 

- No guy to pass your checklist? I'd think that over again.
- They didn't call you after 3 days? Maybe they thought you weren't interested.
- But he did/didn't do this, said that, was sooo mean to you? Communication goes   two ways.
-You played games (wear this, say only that, no this on that # date, carefully selected txt msgs, wait xyz until zyx) and he played back?
 ->Boohoo, here's a tissue, now get out.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Social Disorder i guess you call it

I have a real problem with social situations.
I get panicky, sometimes I hyperventilate. What to wear to be just right. what people are going to be there -how do I have to be? Do I have to watch my language? Do I have to be serious? Do I have to 'sell' myself because I need those people to like me? What role do I have to play?
I actually have categories!

Imitation is everything.
Facial expressions. Tone. Standard terms. Everything.
It feels like every time there are new people and/or new situations I get thrown into an unknown land or culture.
If i don't know what to do, how to react i just don't.
I stop. I feel most comfortable when watching in these situations. For me it's almost like bird watching.
What do they talk about, how do they talk, how do they act, are they the touchy sort, is everything strict, how do they eat, do they laugh out loud...
Yes, all that plays in my head and gets sorted and analysed.
I feel like Data trying to be more human, because if I'm just me I don't think people would like me.
After a while of knowing people I slowly slip more and more of myself into the act, but if I get hurt I shut down again or am angry -'how dare they trick me while I'm trying so hard?'
I calm down some when I start to get used to the people and get to know them.

I was the kid in class that stayed seated while everyone was running around. I picked games in kindergarten that didn't necessarily need other players just in case no one joined me. Which happened a lot.
I was weird from the beginning.
I swallowed books.I drew strange pictures with unicorns running away from evil monsters while everyone was drawing princesses.
I watched horror movies with my uncle in the middle of the night in my grandma's house (i was very little) and had the nightmares later at home with my family to deal with -every other kid would simply stop watching. I couldn't wait for my uncle to come home from the coal mine when i was there for the weekend.
With my cousin i almost blew up the house when we wanted to play 'plumbers' and tried to take the heating apart.
My grandpa gave me some wood and a knife when i was seven or eight, so i could make myself a sword and be She-ra or Red Sonja or the female Beast Master. We went to the mine waste and took apart rocks to find fossils or crystals so I could play witch and the crystals's make me strong.

Whenever something was 'forbidden' by grownups i wanted to find out why -how do you find out? You do it.but you have to be tricky to not get caught.

I wrote books I never showed to anyone, created new worlds with mutations and alien creatures and night hags and half-breeds(complete templates with race devotions and drawings and character sheets).

I only really played with other kids when we reenacted cartoons we liked because then I could imitate my favorite characters. I was Fireball, Michelangelo, Cheetara or Thirty-Thirty,
I still had no idea how to act around people if it was just me.
The more people the more shy I got.

That never changed.

I'm really bad with emotional stuff. What do you do, when people cry or are sad or just tell you something sad?
I can say 'ooooh, that's sad.' (genius, isn't it?)
or try to clumsily hug the person and wait for rejection although I'm usually the hugger (seems easier than the whole do-i-shake-their-hand-or-wave-goodbye-or-nod-or-what, a hug says I like you and am happy to be here or sad I have to go).
Then I try to fix the actualities.
Someone hurt you?-I can tell him he's an asshole, I can tell you why he's an asshole.
You have psychological problems, are a cutter, bulimic, an addict
-I can tell you that you need help and I can help you find help or drag you to a place if that's what you need (or if you are so far gone already, did that a couple of times).
But if someone's just sad? I could say 'don't be sad, let's eat ice-cream. do you want a puppy?'

I'm simply incapable of handling these things.I feel awkward, uncomfortable, hope that someone else is there who is able to do a better job. I'm a bad friend in this case. What is the right reaction here? Y results from X,  but if C interferes and is not part of the function, do you still do Y or have to find more variables?

The other way around is just as bad. I swallow my feelings. Sometimes I feel weird and it takes a couple of days for me to finally realise what wants to resurface and what that feeling actually is.
I don't know how to handle it.
Other people would simply reach out to a friend -I don't do that, what if no one comes? What if they see it as weak? I can't be weak.
What if I just need a hug and they think it's weird, reject me, make fun of me, think I take a pass or I make them uncomfortable? I wouldn't be able to look that person in the eyes anymore and hide from them and after a while try to pretend that nothing ever happened. Or make fun of the situation and myself before they do.
I'm rough, nothing can touch me. I'm grrrr.
I don't cry in front of people, I don't show fear, I rarely show love.

There are two people in the world I feel kinda OK to cry in front of, my sister and my husband because they both know I'm fucked up (you can't hide everything forever if someone knows you well or you live with them), but then I'd never tell them the whole truth about why I cried.
I always keep pieces hidden away. Sometimes it takes me weeks of pondering to find out myself why I did what I did.

So I'm usually passive, I react. If I act I wait for the world to crash down on me.

Lots of this has to do with my parents (careful, the home therapist comes out!).
I got love and attention from my mother if I deserved it.
Being grounded meant I had to stay in my room and no one was allowed to talk to me, not even my father, i had the plague for that time and if it was time for dinner a broom knocked on the ceiling (my room was in the attic), no words. Ever.
For my mother I didn't exist if I did something wrong. No talking it out.
If she hit me or screamed at me, it was to humiliate, usually in front of someone else. So I begged and I hated it.

My parents never had any real friends, so I was never shown how to be friends or get friends. There were my fathers coworkers and their wives and my mother picked one for a while until it got uncomfortable for her and she chose the next one. Maybe years later she got back to the first one. But it was always the others fault, never hers. She could never do wrong (*snort*).

If they fought it was WW3 and you better hid or you'd get hit by friendly fire (which wasn't so friendly after all). If you took sides you got punished later on:
How could you say something mean about Daddy when he's all good now? Evil brat! Now you're the enemy.

When my sister moved out because she had a falling out, her name didn't exist anymore. She got passed by in the city as if my mother didn't know her.
It took me a while to put my foot down and be allowed to visit her in her apartment over some weekends.

I loved my grandma, but for my mother she was the enemy.
Even now that I don't have contact to my parents anymore and am all grown up, my father is not allowed to see his own mother or has to lie to sneak into the funeral(!) of his own uncle.

But on the outside everything had to be perfect. I even had to comb the fringes on our rugs on my hands and knees when we got visitors. The new car had to be just right even if we didn't have enough money to buy it. The garden had to be perfect, so that the neighbours would be envious when we had our little BBQs.
Although my hair looked like a mixture of a Butch and a Pixie and everyone called me 'son' i had to wear a pink frilly dress on Sundays if we went out.
Everything for the neighbours. Pretence is everything.
Meanwhile plaster fell off the walls whenever they fought -and we lived in an apartment (the house held 4 condos), so everyone heard everything and to this day makes fun of my pretentious parents.

I hated the begging for love, I hated the pretend, I hated the fighting, i hated that I still loved them no matter what...but i didn't know what else was there.
In that way I'm jealous of my sister (she's 9years older) because she lived with my grandparents (mom's parents) for a while growing up and had a normal environment to learn the social stuff which I never had.

So I was scared of marriage (which just meant you wanted to kill each other on a regular basis but were stuck with that person), scared of love, scared of friends, jealous of others having friends, disgusted by pretence and never being able to be yourself...

There is so much more I could say, but I'll stop here. I already feel bad enough as is.
Let's say after I broke contact some years ago I slowly started to get better, but not as much as I'd hoped. Maybe I need a brainwash.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Self-reflection and introspection -why i'm angry

Sorry, this won't be as funny as I usually am in my cynism, but I don't make you read.

At the moment I feel like a puppy begging for attention, it's disgusting.

'Hey, look at me! I'm right here! I'm good, I promise. Pet me, hug me, love me, be my friend!- Can I be your friend?I like you!'
I bet I'm even panting.

There are things I swore I'd never do again or let happen again in my life
and now I can't look at myself.

I have a problem with setting boundaries, even in school I was almost bipolar in my reactions:
a) you hurt me and I pretend nothing happens/you're not there/you didn't just say that while you keep going with more insults or ignorance and a 'friendly' smile on your face and I swallow my anger, my pain just to breakdown at home,
b) you hurt me and I jump in your face and try to break your nose and after a few seconds I push you away and walk away because I just scared myself.

When it would have been better to just give an  'until here and no further.' or simply ask 'what is wrong with you/or me/or the world that you are this way?' and get an honest answer.

I can't hit the line right. Or is it a whole grey area? For everyone else it seems such a big space full of possibilities, for me it's insult or get insulted or just shut the fuck up, get away and don't say anything to anyone or you'll explode into the first face that comes into view, whether friend or foe.

I just need a real hug and someone who cares for no other reason than they want to because I'm me.
Not an act.
No expectation that I can't reach or don't know how.
Just me.
And I give back, too! The minute I realise someone can 'see' me and it's OK with them I'm the lion on your team, am there whenever and however you need me, fight your fights with you.
I got hurt too many times to enjoy trickery now and expect it behind every corner until I feel safe enough to relax.

Since my first step on American soil my subconscious was on high alert, agitated, scared of getting lost and hoping for any new helping hand.
Hopes up, hopes crushed, hopes up, hopes crushed.
Burn your hand twice and you'll need gloves.

So I have my mask on.
'Hey, I'm so cool, I can make jokes out of my past hardships and no matter what you do or say to me (or not say), you can't hurt me, I'm awesome'
-meanwhile my self-image crumbles and I sit in a big puddle of mud and can't get out.
-But as long as no one can see it, it's alright, isn't it?

Isn't it.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Guys and girls rant

Hey, America, why is it so hard to find guy friends here? I mean real male people that drink vodka, like and make crude jokes, enjoy great music&bang their heads (I mean, really? you guys are at a concert and stand there like idiots and clap at the end of a song like the japanese do?man, you must be frustrating for the bands cause in Europe the fun starts with a mosh pit somewhere on front, with bumping your neighbour while dancing and grr or laugh because you enjoy the fucking show! And believe it or not, you can dance next to a girl even if you don't want to take her home, the clubs would be empty if it wasn't so) , watch horror movies and laugh about them or laugh at you when you jump at every bump, that don't do the whole I'm-so-sensitive-and-pc-I-get-offended-by-the-blunt-truth-and-meaningless-jokes-bullshit just because you're a girl.

There's always the sex question, and maybe I think you're hot or you think I'm hot or both (or neither, but that's not the point here), but that doesn't mean you have to play the psycho game or just stay away as far as possible as if I had the plague, grow up for Gods' sake, say what you mean and get over it!
And trust me, I can control myself even if you think you're God's gift to women. You won't get ravished if you don't want to *wink*
(See what I did here? Omg, i made a joke! you probably wouldn't have noticed if I didn't put the *wink* at the end -and yes, this is sarcasm.)

Is it really either "I'm nice because I want to bang the chick" or "Not interested, so she doesn't deserve an iota of friendliness or attention cause I don't make a profit" and you probably think you do the other party a favor. -No, it's just your base and gutless way out.
Is it all black or white sociopathic consideration?
Do you think it's ok to ignore people standing next to you so they'll take 'the hint'
instead of just saying 'look, i don't have time right now, maybe later.'
See, it works without promises or insults or making the girl feel like you think of her as a piece of shit. Now that hint is understood and it's ok -as long as you don't have a mental patient in front of you.

In Europe I'm friends with guys I had sex with in the past, guys I could never have sex with and guys I'd bang and none of that matters in the way of friendship, of hanging out in clubs or at home, of -ooooh- touching or talking in public.

I've got too much estrogen around me wherever I go here -I'm not the person who can dabble in giving each other senseless compliments about skirts or the colors of each others eyes and shit and giggle to pass the time or talk about having kids and engagement rings (eeeeek! Maybe I'm the only girl who doesn't give a shit about diamonds and talking for hours about drooly toddlers and giving birth -soooo not happening. And no, I'm not, because the true girl-friends I have don't do it either, we moved out of Stepford before it got weird).
 If I like something on you, male or female, I can say 'dude, your piercings are sick', 'damn, chickie, you have a nice ass' etc and mean it -or don't say it at all.
-If you get insulted by a compliment you have a problem. If you have a problem with hearing me say something about somebody else ('that girl has huge boobs','that guy is really hot'), you should discuss it with your teenage ego instead of being offended ( do people here get offended as a hobby? they get offended by TV, by each others clothes, behavior that wasn't even directed at them; they try to tell people they should be offended by something they aren't offended by -we had that topic already).

-Why do I have to stand in the girls' corner and the guys can have the fun and banter? (I love partying in strip clubs with guys, drinking, dancing and rating the girls, but everyone seems so squeamish here, it's so hard to get a crew together *hint*)
I already break out in cold sweat before the party even started!
Do I have to play the part and watch myself and question every reaction and every word that comes out of my mouth?
It's really hard to find girls here who can stand up for themselves, can take blunt-no-girly-girl-kissy-face-talk and are nice.
Just because the high school cheerleaders were mean perfidious bitches doesn't mean you have to copy them when you're grown-up enough to drink.

So usually I think guys are easier to deal with because there's no drama, maybe I was wrong and it's just another kind of psychological warfare.

There are also these weird unofficial dating rules I heard about, you can find them on dating websites, in magazines and in girl and boy cliques -but that's for another time :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why I didn't keep up this blog as planned -Part 1

There are many reasons this didn't work as well as i'd hoped.
I hate whining on a blog that's not supposed to be your personal diary.
Bitching about certain things and ideas is OK,  i mean, that's what comedians make their money with, but personal complaints and self-pity for everyone to see -not my thing, i don't want your pity, i hate feeling weak and i hate admitting any kind of defeat. -so if i don't have anything else to say/write about, i just shut up and wait for better times. And so I waited. And waited...

When I came to the states I was scared shitless from the beginning.
I thought it was a bad idea for me from the start, but I believed in my husband and I believed in his friends to help me adjust and there were so many positive stories about life and work here and my qualifications and that people wanted us to be here and help us and wanted to show me things...I wanted to believe.

That's when the first problems started. Now keep in mind this is my personal story:
My health basically sucks. I have more chronic illnesses than I'd wish upon anyone.
But that's alright because we have good health insurance here, right? Right...
We paid more for medication and copay etc than I'd ever imagined.
In Germany you have to have health insurance just to live in the country.
Everyone is insured, everyone is taken care of, no matter if you're unemployed,  disabled, have a mental problem or cancer. If you don't have the money for insurance, the state takes care of it. You. Are. Insured.

You never have to worry about health problems that turn into a financial crisis.
If you have a car accident, you're taken care of -no fights with the other persons insurance  no fight with your own insurance. Everything healthwise is taken care of and you won't have to fear for losing your home, having no money to buy food or losing your damn job because you're sick (no matter how long it takes).
You don't have to go to work with a broken collar bone because you'd lose your job otherwise.
They want you to be healthy and productive and you can't be productive if you're in constant pain or having problems later on because you didn't let your break/flu/injury heal properly.

You have the best doctors in the world here in the states -if you have the money to pay for them.
In Germany that's not an issue. Basic health insurance is for everyone.-and our basic contains more than US basic!
You don't have to tangle with your provider for every freaking thing you need done. We don't have nurses in a doctor's office that only do paperwork and fight with insurance companies. We don't need labs that take your blood with tests that cost a fortune because of 'legal problems' (or better say: without being scared of being sued to oblivion and ridiculous insurances that cost them a fortune because of said fear).
a blood test i got done in Germany every 3-6 months (because i'm diabetic and i have crohn's) that cost me nothing there and even if i had to pay for it, it wouldn't be more than 200-300€, costs 1600$ here for Christ's sake!
If you need a cat scan or a colonoscopy in the states your doctor has to fight your case with the insurance company and then THEY tell you when and where to go IF you're allowed to have one! And you have to figure out how to pay your copay.
In Germany doctor's don't order a big procedure just because they feel like it, they order it because it's NEEDED and the insurance has to cover it, end of story.
And if you don't like your doc, choose another one(and that counts for primary physicians as well as obgyns and other specialists, you choose, your insurance doesn't choose for you).

In Germany you have 5-10€ copay to your medication, tops. They even stopped doc visit co pays altogether in 2013, but before that it was 10€ to your primary and if you didn't have a referral it was 10€ to your specialist -per term,as in every 3months, NOT per visit!
-If your yearly copay is over 2% of your income, you can even get a free pass.
You get yellow slips from your doctor that exempt you from work if you're too sick or too contagious to work and by law you have to stay home, no employer can make you go to work if they got a yellow slip from you -and they can't fire you either (and they get reimbursed for paying your wage in that time, so there's no loss).
Here you have to take vacation days if you get a procedure done or you have to go back to work although you just got needles stuck into your eyes!
And every time you see a doc, it's 20,30,40,50$ a pop( depending on your health insurance.

And still there are people who begrudge a general health insurance in the states?
People suffer, good law abiding working people have to borrow money from their friends and families for crucial medication and have to do crowdfunding to get enough money for vital treatments,
and still people think there's nothing wrong here?

How many people with mental health problems end up on the streets because they couldn't afford therapy?

So  I met all my new doctors($), got blood tests done($$), had a colonoscopy($$$), got the crohn's disease angle checked and confirmed($$), finally got a prescription for it($$$ jupp, that much),
found out after months of suffering through 'mosquito attacks'in the summer that I was just allergic to the medication($$), got new stuff($$), outlasted the itch and rash and pingpong-reaction with other illness etc($$ and miserable-ness), hoped for the best, a biopsy on the rash they insisted on to make sure it's a rash($$),  had the flu from hell two times ($ as the meds lower my immune system), got scared into a CAT scan by my primary because i had insomnia for a while now and lost most of my sense of taste over the summer -but in the end just asked my GI for another change of medication and 5 days later i had my taste back($$), so cancelled the scan (so I didn't have to $$$ for something I didn't need), got told by the OB/gyn of my primary's choice when i arrived there for my appointment that they're not covered by my insurance and the first visit alone would be 175$(screw that).
The hubby got his annual checkup($$), then got Lyme disease from a tick bite (and worked through all the pain and sweats and antibiotics for a month $$), had the flu($), got tonsilitis($$), he gets needles stuck in his eyes every 6 weeks($$)...and those are just the basics of the last months beside all our regular $$ for diabetes related medication for both of us, thyroid pills and other fun stuff.
Think I now have some experience with the health system here? damn straight.
I'm broke with coverage and I don't even want to think about being without it.

For Part 2 I have to collect myself, so it might take a while again, bare with me.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

How to be German in 25 easy steps -Part 3

So today we come to the last part of


Come on, to be fair you have to admit that your bread sucks.
I'm not one of these tree hugging organic people, but what Americans call bread is an insult. 
It's some kind of manipulated white tasteless flour stripped of all its nutrients, most of the time the second ingredient listed is high fructose corn syrup, rye bread doesn't taste of rye but of a ton of caraway -which is supposed to be a SPICE that lifts the bread taste not the other way around and -everything has the consistency of  stodgy pappy toast. No, worse than toast. you can compress a whole bread with your hands without much force to 1/4-1/3 of its original size.
-That's still not bothering you?
And no one feels bad about sending their young kids to school or kindergarden with double piece of junk with jelly and peanut butter in between -wait, carbs on top of carbs on top of carbs with no vitamins, minerals or anything that's worth eating as a full meal? Oh, yeah, that makes so much sense!
In Germany you get lots of bread options -toast, baguette, rough farmer's bread, hoagie bread, with seeds, without seeds, whole wheat, rye, mixed, white breads, pita bread...there's one thing they have in common: yeast/barm, no damn baking powdered mess. Be it sourdough, quick rise or whatever.
I was so disgusted by the American bread options -and trust me, I  tried them all for months and months (and putting salami or Leberwurst - no, you don't slice Leberwurst like salami, you take it our of the casing and spread it on your bread- on that sweet stuff was so hard, I started eating it with jam or Nutella only) I finally caved in and started baking my own bread.
So there, a German bread obsessed.


I don't know what the fuss is about. I never got an English US email or letter without the standardized 'best regards', 'regards', 'sincerely' or 'yours faithfully', in German it's just 'MfG' or 'VG' or something like that.

-and don't tell me anything about being 'offending'!
It seems like in the US everybody has the hobby of telling other people what should or shouldn't offend them.
-blackface is a total no-no, but it's OK to paint yourself 'red' for the Mummers Parade to look like an American Indian?
-there was a complete tirade when the pixiwoo sisters (from UK) did a make-up review and used the term 'black skin' and even had to apologize for it. 
Amazingly, no people of 'dark' skin felt offended (I mean, when you're in Europe dark skinned people come from everywhere -Ghana, Namibia  South Africa, Holland, the US...there's no generalized term possible like 'African American' -and seriously, if I was from Nigeria and someone called me African American, then I'd be really offended!).
-even subcultural acts want to tell females to be offended by other bands' 'racist or misogynistic' cover and video art while the females would happily throw themselves unto the stage to perform with the band.
-Americans are offended by things that were said or things someone didn't say,  with every joke they ask a hundred questions just to make sure nothing was meant to offend them, the tone of your voice, your matter what, they'll probably find something, so don't even try but take everything with a pinch of salt, please?
After I put my foot in my mouth a couple of times, I'd rather not say anything at all.


It makes me feel so homesick, I just want to hear someone 'tschüss' again while I leave a store...


For me, BBQ was never about the meat, it's about condiments and salads.
Potato salad is a standard (although it depends on the area you come from what you put in your salad-my grandma always puts a diced apple in hers <3 and="and" i="i" it="it" like="like" most="most" nbsp="nbsp" not="not" people="people" s="s">that
 much work to put it together and bring to a party.

I have always been a pasta salad kind of girl - Nudelsalat is the best, I could make a huuuuuuge bowl and it'll be gone the next day, I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and if it sat in fridge for a night it tastes even better than fresh.
If anyone is interested, I could post my recipe here.
I made it for a party in the states and it was gone so fast!

25. PROST!! 

Well, how do I explain this...
In medieval times everyone used to prost and clink their cups together as a sign of trust, so the drinks would mix a little as the liquid slops over and everyone was sure they weren't poisoned by anyone in the group.

Looking someone in the eyes while prosting was part of etiquette once, but not anymore.

Now we only do it in a group of friends at the pub or at a party as a joke:
'The one who doesn't look people in the eyes while prosting will have 7 years of bad sex'.

Another stupid drinking joke is:
whenever someone in your group burps, you have to raise your hand to your forehead with pinkie and thumb extended like this and yell 'Schulz!' -the last one to do this will get smacked on the forehead.

And that's the end of our list.

Friday, January 18, 2013

how to be german in 25 easy steps -Part 2

So this is part 2 of a German explains and wonders about
how to be german in 20 easy steps part 2

Enjoy -and if you have any questions, feel free to ask ;)


Sour and salty is to us like sweet and sour for Chinese.
It tastes good. Just like Americans like their sweet potatoes with *shudder* marshmallows on top (really???).
But that doesn't mean -as I already said in the last post- not all Germans eat sauerkraut and sauerkraut and coarse bratwurst or sauerkraut and kassler are their own meals and I never knew anyone who just ate sauerkraut by itself without potatoes or potato-mash.


As I already said in #7

"In Germany everything works with college qualifications or apprenticeships (which usually take 3 years work and vocational school, you have to take a test at the end to prove you're fit to do the job you apprenticed for).

If you get a job without that, you only get minimum wage (waiter, call center, bar maid, cleaning crew...) or you're a student with a side job. Your boss won't pay for part of your health insurance either and you won't get paid vacation time."

A real job in Germany counts as a full-time job, something with health benefits, enough money to pay your rent, living costs etc and no job, that just gets paid by the hour and you need 3 of those to survive and you're not f'%&$ed when you get sick for longer periods of time because you get paid anyway.


As a teenager, that's basically the first thing you learn to do -open your beer with a lighter or on a sharp edge no matter whether a window sill, a knife, a spoon or whatever.

One of my friends could open his beer with a folded piece of paper.

-What would your parents say if they see a bottle opener on your key-chain or you took the family opener out on the street with you?


Everyone here in the US says "Hi, how are you?" no matter where you go, the doctor's office, the store, the pub...

Now how many of those people actually mean it and want to know about how you feel or how your day went?

The nurse in the doctor's office should realize that the question answered itself 

because you have an appointment or came in there unannounced, so you feel sick, right?

And the person at the checkout recites the sentence cause it's in the book/rules.

So why do you all do and say your weird little small talks and make people think you 'care' until you come to the point and they realize you did all this because you want something from them?
Your boss doesn't need to be 'nice' to you an

d pretend that you're oh-so-good-friends and you're no 5 year old who needs to hear good things before the critique starts. Grow up.

Americans talk around the point a lot and for foreigners who aren't used to your culture, your language and your way to treat things have a big problem seeing through all these diversions and take it as pure fakeness when they get it.

Same with talking with a higher octave to appear friendly -that's a thing you do with toddlers because they're not developed enough yet and it seems ridiculous when people hear your normal voice after a while.

You don't need to butter up, it just makes you seem more slippery.


I don't know about other people and there are probably a lot who love Berlin and many move or try to move there, but for me it's just a tourist stronghold (like bavaria for that matter) and full of hipsters.

There are quirky and artsy people everywhere, you don't need Berlin for that.

On top of that, I'm a child of the Ruhr Area, a big blob in the middle of a lot of nothing like Berlin just isn't for me.


Exactly as the text says.

Everyone's German prejudice comes from Bavaria and most of the time, we, the 'other' Germans 1. don't understand what they say either 2. think they all seem like parts of sentimental films with regional background from the 50s/60s (but not our part of 'native') -in German it's called 'Heimatfilm' and 3. call it shady/murky/dusky Germany 'Dunkeldeutschland'


Maybe now I'm totally prejudiced, but skinny dipping is an English term, so you must do it, too, right?

And not talking openly (even at school etc) about sex is what makes teens use snickers wrappers instead of condoms, wives unhappy with their husbands and women feel like freaks when they find something 'unusual'(whatever that means to you).

But I'm from the land where actors can keep their ass cracks in movies and TV series(they just won't show them at noon but when little kids are supposed to be in bed and that's not only because of sex scenes but because of violence and language as well) and no one watching TV gets a heart attack because Angelina Jolie has nipples when she has sex with Ethan Hawke in Taking lives .
Get over it.


I don't even have a driver's license, but I see the guys lingering at the self-car-wash at the weekends cleaning their Mercedes and Volkswagen and Toyotas and being proud of them. Just like many do in the states.
There are car clubs in the US, there are car clubs in Germany.

Cars, even German cars, cost A LOT more in Germany than in the states.

If you can afford one, treat it right, make it look nice, so you'll be able to sell it later when you want/need another one.

Dads ask about the car their daughter's boyfriend drives? -Means what can he afford, is it only fit for scraps (I wouldn't let my kid into one of those, who knows if the guy can drive or if the car falls apart on the way to the club?), can he take care of himself and her?

Someone I know had to spend about 6000€ on their American car just to get it to German safety standards. Just think about that.


Sunday is the day everyone has off. No stores are open, you can't go shopping unless you do it at the flea markets or in a gas station shop, the whole family has off, 

so they enjoy it together.

If you're in your twenties you probably just came home from the clubs (in Germany i haven't found a single club that closes before 4-5am or even later) and you need the Sunday to get over your hangover, relax before you go back to work on Monday, get some energy for the next stressful week.
You can go see a movie, go to an amusement park, meet friends for brunch, do some sports or enjoy a lazy day.
No, mostly you won't get surgery done at the weekend unless it's an emergency.


I never got the whole Tatort thing, because there are so many better German crime shows, but it cracks me up to see my home city on TV, my home accent and slang or parts of Germany I have been to in a movie series where they say this is the mansion of so-and-so and you know it's the museum in Essen or this is the police department and for real it's the waterworks.
-Just the way New Yorkers are about CSI:NY or Princetonians about House MD.

Can't wait for part 3? Just have patience.