I broke my streak and missed week eight. This is what happens when you have visitors and are busy on the weekends instead of lazing around the apartment. So, here are week eight and nine thoughts!
- Parking in Germany. It's bananas. Basically park wherever you want. Driving with Indy colleagues helped me realize that my driving has become somewhat Europeanized in the past three months. They were terrified! Also, I'm glad I have a rental and not my car. It makes driving a lot easier when you aren't financially bound by scrapes... On a side note, I'm not sure what the deal is but my lovely rental Volvo station wagon is basically a bird poo magnet. I will need to figure out how car washes work here... And one more driving-related thing: I got a speeding ticket! I haven't gotten a speeding ticket in over eleven years. Seriously, that is not an exaggeration. Since I've been here, I've gotten two parking tickets and one speeding (for going 100 in a 70 mph zone). The last time I got any type of vehicle related thing, I was 18! Eleven years ago! Germany, you've got me.
- Sometimes I feel like an untethered balloon. Where am I? What am I doing with my life? I am basically homeless. My cat and car are in Illinois, my things in a storage unit in Fishers, my job in Indianapolis, my person in Germany. I'm here for a full year and then what? It makes me feel inconsequential, like this year is just sand running through my fingers. Nothing feels real. Everything feels like a movie set. My company campus is too clean, to well managed to be real. Walking to shops and markets and restaurants from my apartment is something I've never been able to do and it makes me feel like I'm on FRIENDS.
- Democracy. Neither the United States or Germany is a true democracy. We don't outright vote for our candidates. Right now I'm politics-obsessed because of the batshit election we have going on in the states (and a lot of people here are too - I'm constantly getting asked WTF is going on with Trump - seriously, my German colleagues are concerned). But it's nice to understand what is going on with Germany. Germany currently has a German Chancellor and a President. When I asked a colleague why, his response was simple: Hitler. Actually, that's the response for a lot of similar questions. Why doesn't Germany take on a larger role in the EU? Hitler. Why doesn't Germany have a larger military? Hitler. At least the Germans learn from their mistakes.
- Open/Close. Germany, and it seems a good portion of Europe, has a totally different open/close paradigm than the States. It's difficult to know when is safe to go grocery shopping, retail shopping. Run errands and go to a restaurant. I'm almost three months in and I'm still figuring it out.