So frustrating! I had a whole draft of this saved last night and it got lost somewhere. Squarespace does this occasionally (twice that I can think of, in addition to this instance, in the six months I've had this blog). Not cool Squarespace!
Anyway, apologizes on the delay of this post. Between Paris and catching up on the O.J. show, I got distracted. But here it is!
We're a third of the way through my time here in Germany. Which is bananas! I have not done as much travel as I thought I would, but it's going to get busy. I have big trips planned for May (NYC, home, Indy), June (Spain), September (UK), and October (Italy). We're getting there!
- Spacial awareness. So, I thought this was just a city thing (in the suburbs space is not an issue) but my Boston friend currently staying here assures me it's a regional thing. But the spacial awareness is driving me nuts. Just now, I was in the hallway, about to enter a big common space. The guy in front of me stops in front of the door and digs around in his pocket until I bump in with 'Entschuldigung.' Dude, step off to the side to find your phone/keys/ID. Today two people managed to take up a hallway that was wide enough for at least half a dozen. There are example of it everywhere - the sidewalks, the grocery store, the bank. Maybe I'm just more self-aware due to introversion, which I like to blame for everything, but dude. Please get out of my way.
- That being said, Germans have got the Americans beat when it comes to banks. First, there's the bank transfer. It's basically Paypal, but from bank to bank instead of through a third party. So far, I've used it to pay parking tickets and also for that wine and canvas I did a few weeks ago. The terminals are also heavy duty - using ATMs, I can do everything from deposit cash into an account, get a full account statement, complete a bank transfer, and, of course, get a withdrawal. All without having to interact with another person! This is especially useful because the banks have really weird hours and getting online access to your bank account is a pain in the ass. I basically gave up and am just using these terminals for my German bank.
- I'll do a full post later about my time in Paris (when I get around to it, bad blogger) but I just wanted to do a quick comparison of Paris and Germany (my region anyway - I live in Baden-Wuerttemberg). First, the jaywalking. Jaywalking is a big no no here in Germany. Just now, I went on a run and three of us stood at a totally deserted intersection, just waiting for the light to turn. I wasn't going to be the first one to jaywalk! It was very much the opposite in Paris. Also, back home, I have a Prius and I really like the car. For some reason, they are nowhere to be found in Germany (or at least my neck of the woods). Again, the opposite was true in Paris. They were everywhere! It was a nice bit of home to see my familiar car on every street.
Also, three weeks until my trip to the States! A few days in NYC, a few days at home, and then a few days back in Indiana for work. I'm excited for lots of reasons (Hamilton! Family! Friends! My old hairdresser for a haircut!) but also the following:
- Language. It honestly did not bother me last year, I think because during the week I really didn't interact with anyone outside of work and during the weekend I was running around touristy spots where English was more expected. But this time, it's really frustrating. I'm four months in and, around my industrial, not-used-to-tourists German city, I either stick to places that are used to English businessmen (and/or me) and therefore don't mind the switch to English or avoid speaking at all during the transaction. I'm sure there will be other languages around me in NYC, especially since I'm mainly doing the touristy stuff, but at least the default (and the signs) will be mine.
- My phone. Really, the break from the smart phone is probably for the best. My Verizon Samsung Galaxy is really just a mini tablet while I'm here in Germany - only good over WiFi. Verizon's international data plan is not good for long periods of time. Instead, I got a cheap international phone that can really only be used for texting and phone calls. Even then, because of cost, only in emergencies. To sum up - there's no data. Which again, is probably for the best. I think it's why I've gotten more reading done the past few months - instead of screwing around on Twitter when I have a spare moment, I'm on the Kindle app. But it does suck when I'm travelling to have to find WiFi somewhere if I want to look up a restaurant or directions. Or to rely, horror of horrors, on a physical map. Being a tourist in NYC is going to be so odd because I'm not used to being one with a GPS and Google Maps readily available.
- Food. I honestly don't mind German food. But there's only so much schnitzel and kroquettes a person can take. Today at lunch, I just kept thinking: just a few more weeks to Panera, just a few more weeks to Noodles and Company, just a few more weeks to Cheesecake Factory. And Mexican! Well, American Mexican, really. At this point I would take Taco Bell. I'm so excited to visit NYC and I know I should take advantage of its food options but there is a very real chance I just eat at Chipotle every night. Well, Chipotle isn't the best example right now...