Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dead Man Walking

My mom came to Germany bearing gifts.

Some books—autobiographies, actually—from people who survived fascism during World War 2.

Amazing books. Both of them.

I have so many feelings while I read these. The first feeling is: how could people do this to other people??

Really, I read about these accounts of torture and unsurmountable odds these people faced and I have no doubt that they have been changed for life during these times, but I think that I may have contemplated death over trying to live knowing that every day is a fight to survive.

The other feeling is that I would have been one of the dead ones.

Dead as a doorknob.

I'd have been one of those extras in movies that gets killed right away. No starring role. No heroic comeback.

I am about to finish reading "The Long Walk" about a group of men who hiked from Siberia to India. Through the Siberian winter and the desert and death and no food and no water.

I'd have been the first dead guy. I am simply not built for that kind of suffering.

When they go 13 days with no water.


When they hike across the desert with no food and water.


It makes me think that my life is pretty damn good when my biggest problems are the silly ones: what to wear, what (of the many possibilities) to drink...

I am more grateful, now, that I have a good life. And we should all feel this way. Should we?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Another One Just for the Hell of it!

It's me again.

2 posts in one day.

Well, I had to: tomorrow is Thanksgiving and although you can take a person out of America, you can't take the America out of a person! I have to do a little Thanksgiving something or another...

So without further delay, here is my thank you's for this year!

  • The Dresden Foreign Office for giving me a 3 year residence permit
  • Mom and Dad for coming to visit
  • My shoulder for finally healing
  • Ivana (no explination necessary)
  • My family
  • My friends
  • Music
  • My camera for not breaking yet
  • Old friends coming back into my life

I am sure there is more, but for the moment that is all I can think of.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

A Useless Holiday

Today in Germany is a funny little holiday called Buß and Bettag. Basically, it's a day of repentance for all the religious people in Germany. Well, Saxony actually. The rest of Germany voted it out of the paid day off plan. Saxony decided to keep it for the church goers.

Too bad most—about 90%—are atheist.

So we have this paid day off in the middle of the week and it's ok. I can fix some photos, sleep in and just be a couch potato. I like it. Plus, I get paid for it!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

3 More Years

I just wanted to say that I got my residence permit extended.

For 3 more years.

Woo hoo.

I have no idea why they gave me 3 years and not the usual 1, but I am not going to complain. I am happy they trust me enough to let me stay here longer.

Either that, or they are sick of me reapplying.

Either way, I'm here.

Monday, November 12, 2007


This could be a reason why all German students hate small talk:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lufthansa. No Vaseline.

I don't care what Germany does to spite itself.

I still like living here. And I am determined to like it.

No matter what illogical bullshit they swallow as "normal".

No matter how complacent they are as a people.

I went online to check my flight status for my flight home in 4 weeks (fuck yeah!!).

With my experience from last year I cannot be too careful.

It showed my return flight as 2 different flights: one from JFK, the other from Newark. I didn't book 2 flights. I didn't book a flight from New Jersey.

So I called them.

Them: "Oh right, your flight was canceled. Is the Newark flight okay for you?"

Me: "Um, no! I have a domestic flight into JFK. I ABSOLUTELY have to fly from JFK"

Them: "Ok, can you fly out one day later?"

Me:"Will Lufthansa pay for a hotel room?"

Them: "Ok. So you need to fly out from JFK on the day you booked."

Me: (thinking: WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON??!!) "Yes"

And so on....

I got my ticket for JFK. I had to rebook my jetblue flight (65 dollars, thanks Lufthansa), but I got everything under control.

What pisses me off more than anything??

That they didn't email me to tell me. They probably just expected me to bend over and take the dry fucking I'd have gotten if I'd just shown up at the airport because it would have probably been too late and I should have known/read Lufthansa's mind/checked my flight status before hand/someotherlameexcuse.

And honestly? I am surprised that it was that easy to rebook my ticket. I was expecting some stonewalling.

Good thing Lufthansa depends on the USA for revenue. Otherwise I'd have been flying from Newark.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

180 Euros Later...

O2 didn't cancel my contract. Needless to say, I won't be renewing again next time. In fact, I found out it was my phone. The signal in my apartment is so weak on the older generation system that I need a newer phone to use the newer system.


So, because I want to do this right and have a warranty, I bought a new phone.

It works, and I really like it. But come on...don't give me a phone that doesn't work on your network! That is just silly.

But they are 180 Euros richer!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Why I hate O2 (and by O2, I mean the German system)

I have had a cell phone contract with O2 for a long time and I have been happy.

Til 3 months ago.

3 months ago, I started getting these really weird errors in my connections at home—and only at home. Everywhere else, I got great reception.

My apartment is the O2 black hole.

So in my best aggressive German (think of a 6 year old complaining), I went into O2 and complained.

I tried my other newer phone.

They called the technician who swears there is no problem

They gave me a new SIM card.

Still the same problem.

So with the help from a friend, I wrote a letter of intention to cancel my contract.

This is what you have to do in Germany to get anything done. Threaten with cancellation of a contract. I am in my legal right to do this.

I got a letter today from them.

I am not allowed to cancel my contract because they are not responsible for "holes" in the network.

So then: who the fuck IS responsible? Me??!!

I am sick of this. Really. What the FUCK can you do in this country??!! The consumer has no power at all to voice an opinion of dissatisfaction. You simply have to bend over and accept the dry fucking you get.

And anyone I talk to thinks it's crap. They all want change. All the Germans agree with me.

So why the FUCK don't they change the system? I know for an American reading this you may not understand the situation. Let me try to give you a summed up example:

Me at the hospital having an asthma attack:

Me: hello, I cannot breathe.

Doctor: why did you wait until now to come in?

Me: (because, uh, I couldn't schedule an earlier time to have problems breathing, asshole) Uh, I could breathe fine til an hour ago.

Doctor: if you could walk here, you can breathe.

This really happened.

Mind you, the care I got after telling the doctor I wasn't a child and I was there for a valid reason was really good. You just have to crack the nut to get it.

And O2's nut it a 200 mile thick son-of-a-bitch to crack.

But I have had a small victory: they loaned me a newer, shinier phone to try. Troubleshooting. I like that.

And it seems to be working.

And just like all things in Germany: when it works, it's great. When it doesn't your whole life in on hold and miserable til the one person gets off their ass to help.