vier Monate (four months)

Four months ago today, I boarded a plane in Miami to move to Germany.  One third of an entire year has passed.    It’s kind of mind boggling to me-  the time has passed very quickly.  I feel like I’ve been here no time at all.  And I simultaneously feel like I’ve been here for so much longer than four months.

Since I arrived, I have:

  • Survived my first three weeks in a hotel.
  • Found an apartment.
  • Learned to bank in Germany.
  • Successfully navigated German bureacracy with help from my colleague Michael – I have a residence permit, permission to work, and a German tax ID and social security number.
  • Equipped that apartment with furniture, mostly from Ikea, as well as an Internet connection.
  • Worked a lot.  I don’t really talk about work on this blog, but it’s there.  It’s what brought me to Germany in the first place.
  • Survived my first winter in Germany.  My first winter anywhere, really- I lived in Florida for my entire life before this, so snow and ice is very new to me.
  • Learned to grocery shop in a new country.
  • Learned a great many food words in German, become fairly adept at reading menus.
  • Tried an enormous amount of restaurants and bars in Regensburg. (Special thanks to Jenny for being my semi-constant mealtime companion.  She has really great taste in food.)
  • Become a regular at an Irish pub.  (I’ve always wanted to be a regular at a pub. Neat!)
  • Learned to navigate the alttstadt (old town) better than some folks who’ve been here for much longer.
  • Learned how to use the bus and train systems in Germany.  Acquired a Bahncard.
  • Travelled on my own to a concert in Kempten, near the Alps on the Austrian border.
  • Travelled to Munich to see an Orchestra perform the entire score to Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • Travelled two Nuremberg twice, once with a friend and once on my own. (The second trip to Nuremberg will be a coming-soon post.)
  • Met another American blogger who lives in Germany. (Hi, Heather!)
  • Met a lot of people from at least eight other countries besides Germany and the US.
  • Had a Russian girl named Elena drink me under the table.  (My Russian ancestry cries every time I can’t keep up.  Need more practice.)
  • Learned and embraced a lot of very German customs and behaviors.
  • Watched The Lion King and The Muppets in German.  Also, lots of Big Bang Theory, Futurama, Star Trek, Family Guy, Simpsons, and How I Met Your Mother in German.
  • Learned a lot of German- still not enough for a conversation, but that will come in time.
  • Tried very hard to never fit the “stupid American” stereotype.
  • Discovered the tasty, tasty addiction that is Butterbreze- buttered pretzels.

…and most importantly:

  • Met a lot of really great people, and even made some friends.

Things that are still very much on my to-do list:

  • By the time I’ve been here for one year, I want to have basic conversations in German.
  • I still need to file my German taxes from 2011. D’oh!
  • More blogging.  Always more blogging.
  • More travel. I still need to see Vienna, Salzburg, Budapest, Prague, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris, London, Cardiff, Barcelona, Berlin, Heidelberg, Zurich, and many other places that I can’t think of right now.
  • Less McDonald’s.  Having two McD’s within a short walk from here is somewhat lethal-  when you’re really hungry and/or tired, it’s too easy to slip in for a burger and fries.  It’s especially tempting after a night of drinking at the Murphy’s Law.
  • Acquire a traditional Bavarian outfit complete with lederhosen.  Maybe.

13 thoughts on “vier Monate (four months)

  1. Time changes everything. Only 3 years ago, I didn’t know what apache was.
    lol.

    “Had a Russian girl named Elena drink me under the table. (My Russian ancestry cries every time I can’t keep up. Need more practice.)”
    —The dirty mind of mine sniffed at this one. I don’t drink, so I have no idea what you mean by this. I’m assuming that this means that she got your really drunk?

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  2. Thanks for the shout out! And I’d say that’s a pretty productive four months…. well done!

    Looking forward to your Nuremberg post… I realized that I was a very uninformative tour guide, so sorry about that. I’ll work on that in the future. My German friend gave me a tour one day all auf Deutsch, and she sent it to me in a .doc, but I need to translate it before I can help anyone out. Project!

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    1. steven

      You were plenty informative! I learned a great deal more on this jaunt than I did on the last trip to Nuremberg. I have so much to talk about that I actually split Nuremberg into two separate posts.

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    1. By the way, I have a coupon available for Wirkes (www.trachtenshop.de). 10% off items not already on sale, or 5% off on-sale items at Wirkes shops in Regensburg (Gewerbepark and Hinter der Grieb / Untere Bachgasse).

      Let me know if you’re interested.

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  3. It strikes me as utterly bizarre that no locals here seem to know any street names or restaurant names, or can think in terms of cardinal directions.

    “I went to a great restaurant last night!”

    “What’s it called?”

    “I have no idea.”

    “OK, where is it?”

    “I think it was off of Arnulfsplatz, but I’m not positive.”

    I wonder how anyone finds their way home at night (especially after a few beers!), not knowing where they are or how they got there!

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    1. steven

      I tend to remember the names of the widest streets more than the others… I take a route a few times a week that I couldn’t explain without landmarks. “Take a right just before the Gloria, go left at the first Vincenzmurr.” That sort of thing.

      My sense of cardinal directions is utterly scrambled here. Back in Florida, I always could sort of tell when I was facing North or South, but here when I whip out a compass, I find that I an wrong more often than not.

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      1. Those kinds of landmark-based directions will work well with local, but — and this is what kills me — they don’t seem to realize that “right just before the Gloria” assumes you can read their minds (i.e., you know which from which direction they just arrived at Gloria on the map in their thoughts).

        Germans — with very few exceptions — seem bewildered by the question when I ask, for example, “the post office on Domplatz: is that north or south of the cathedral?”

        Their eyes sort of roll back into their heads. For some of them, they’ll draw a little map in the air in front of them, think about it for a few seconds, and then tell you it’s south of the cathedral. They think.

        You can skip all that though, if you couch the question properly: “if I’m coming from train station, headed toward the river, will I pass the post office or the cathedral first?”

        I wonder if there’s some kind of collective cultural-historical explanation for why people from the U.S. seem OK with cardinal directions, but Germans (or at least the locals here) do not. Perhaps it’s related to the fact that our neighborhoods, towns,, cities and states are so much younger — not laid out along prehistoric footpaths or Roman roads. Because “our” (i.e., U.S.) infrastructure often can be laid out in a grid, it often is laid out in a grid, which enables our common appreciation for navigating in terms of X- and Y-axes.

        German infrastructure doesn’t seem to support that. When you get on the highway, you are expected to know whether you want to move toward Nürnberg/Würzburg/Frankfurt or Straubing/Passau/Linz or München/Salzburg/Innsbruck or Weiden/Prague/Hof/Berlin. “Eastbound” and “Westbound” are not in use here, and I guess they’d be pretty meaningless anyways, since the highways all seem to be pretty diagonal.

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