I leave within the month to return to Australia. I have this acceptance that I have to leave. I want to go home, but I wouldn’t mind if I stayed here for another 6 months.
It’s strange for me to explain how I feel. It’s not like homesickness where I would cry and feel sorry for being in such a stupid town in stupid old Germany full of stupid people with stupid ancient buildings.
Now I just feel like, I know what it’s like to live in Bavaria. (I say Bavaria because it is the richest state in Germany) and I think I’d be happier in Australia.
Although, “happier” might mean angrier too. Here I’ve been completely devoid of notions of politics and stupid politicians. Recently I’ve been catching up on Australia and my god, is there a lot of things I’ll have to get involved in when I get home. Not the least getting a big sticker that says, “Failure O’Farrell”
But I also like the way I’ve seen how different things are here and how they should maybe be implemented back home. I have this feeling that from seeing how other people do things I can make my country better.
I don’t know, it is this strange sort of patriotism. I think that Australia is one of the best countries in the world, and I’ve seen some examples on how to make it better.
I’m afraid of that “I’m not from here anymore” response to returning. I don’t want it to be like that. I want to be able to just go back to the familiar.
Don’t get me wrong. Things aren’t strange and unfamiliar here, not anymore. It’s just that I feel I’d be happier with the stuff I’ve been familiar with for 20 years than what I’ve been familiar with for 6 months. I know,, it’s not really a fair time to compare, I also want to come back here later in life, but right now I feel like I could be accomplishing more back in Australia.
P.S. I also really miss sandwiches/salads/small lunches. Here a hot, cooked lunch is really common. Took me a while to notice that, but the “Mensa” or cafeteria has mostly only warm dishes, and everyone seems to think it is normal… I also miss our type of bread. I can live with bread here, but it’s mostly a choice of sourdough or really crappy “America bread” which is stale, preservative ridden, horrible tasting bread that looks like what you can get in Australia. I also am a bit of a food snob, so I can’t wait to walk into Woolies and have such selection of brands I know and fruit and veg from the next state not South America (not that it’s a problem, I just like buying Aussie grown) and I won’t miss the ability to know where all my food comes from (here nothing is labelled unless it’s something from Aldi that they sell in Aus). Probably only 3 foodstuffs I will miss from here are Kaiserbrotchen, Spatzle and Chocolate. Beer and it’s quality and diversity and cheapness is also a problematic farewell.
Actually this isn’t about Eurovision – except my friend from the US has no idea what it is. Me and some British exchange students are going to educate her tomorrow night.
I have about two and a half months left in Germany and I thought I should list some differences. This will probably sound like a rant but really, nothing much bothers me about this country. If it does I’ll say.
There is a main topic that I’ve been following in Australia and that is about the R18 ratings for games. I like how Germany has done their’s here, a photo from Saturn, kinda like JB HiFi but bigger with fridges etc.
You can easily tell which games are for what age group. No little kids getting their mittens on the other games. Downside – in Germany they are really touchy about violence and such, so sometimes games are edited or not allowed to be displayed or advertised in the store. That is really stupid as some times the games are altered to not give a realistic example of what happens if you shoot someone.
Despite the price of the tickets, DB is worth it, especially if its group travel. They have many excellent deals. The Bayern ticket is quite awesome. With it you can take all local public transport in Bavaria, for up to five people. And weekend travellers can get a Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket for all local transport all over Germany for 5 people or for parents and their unlimited children under 14.
On all the major stations one can get one of these 50 cent cups of tea/coffee/hot chocolate/soup. It’s an excellent idea, especially if you are on a platform, wet, freezing in -1 degree celsius on your way home from a concert at 11pm. But then again, all of DB makes sense, its relatively clean, on time (in the day time) and I think you get what you pay for.
Here in Bayern they have only just changed the laws so there is no smoking in bars. It’s weird to watch people leave their handbags on their tables with their beers to go outside to smoke. So many people smoke. There are smoking vending machines for crying out loud! One in my building (don’t know if it works) and two within a 3 minute walk. They don’t sell lighters unfortunately. That would be funner.
I find it very safe walking around Erlangen in the middle of the night. I wouldn’t walk from the other dorm building a block away to here in the middle of the night back home. God, I’d be afraid of being attacked going for a walk around my block. It might be because people are friendlier or I don’t know. It seems that the Franconian’s are willing to help you if you ask for it. Otherwise they just ignore you.
One thing I especially love is the amount of bicycles and that they have right of way. The thing I love more so is my bike Hercules, and that I don’t have to wear a stupid helmet. Might’ve mentioned that before. But it is seriously the best thing. I rode 12 kms the other day. I better be fit by the time I fly out in the last week of July.
The shops are not allowed to open on Sundays in Bayern so that means you have to have all your food organised by 8pm Saturdays. After working in Woolworths on Sundays I understand from that point of view, but when I run out of something I’m craving, or my milk goes off I really don’t like it. And it’s a major trek to the petrol stations and they cost so much.
Here in Germany you can get an Austrian delicacy of the scnapps kind. It’s called Ficken, the PartyScnhaps and it rocks. It tastes like Ribena but alcoholic and you can only get it from the local “Adult” store or a supermarket 1.5km ride away. For 11euro its pretty damned awesome. I’m going to have to find a way to import it.
Yeah, don’t say Ficken around many native German speakers. It’s kinda rude. I love the attitude to alcohol in this country. Actually the attitude to many things is “If you’re an idiot you pay the price”. No nanny-state here, except getting your license and the violence censorship thing. It’s a lot nicer. Everyone seems to get drunk here, yet I’ve seen one almost fight. In all that drinking you’d think there’d be more. I think it’s because people are taught to drink properly, like one with dinner and whatnot. Not like home where it’s like “you must not drink, you will die!” except when you are 18, then everyone goes nuts. The legal age for beer and wine here is 16, depending on the situation eg not in certain bars. That’s what is annoying. Germany has made me realise that there is too many safety nets for morons at home. I say, let them kill themselves.
Easter and spring here are pretty big. For instance, every shop had hares or eggs. Some still have hares. The major shopping mall had real bunnies.
So yeah. That’s all I can think of at the moment. I’ll be back later.
O man I was just reminded of this when I got sent the link for the survey…
Anyhow, I’ve been in Germany for almost a month and a half and heaps has happened.
I found out that I actually like having my family around when I was travelling alone to Erlangen. It was a week. Horrible jet lag in London, followed by my tour of said city had been screwed up somewhere in the system. It was fun shopping though. (I’ve been told my sisters are thoroughly enjoying the video games, that although in pounds, were still half the price of the same ones back home). It was ironic that the day I flew out the sun came out. It was pretty sweet to see Stonehenge, but I found it funny that when in Bath the tourguides made no mention of the fact that King Edgar, first king of England was crowned at Bath Abbey, and instead went on about the Roman Baths.
So I flew to Germany, arriving in Frankfurt am Main about 7pm. It was dark and wet and you physically walk down the stairs onto the tarmack. I felt like JFK and then wet, as it was raining. I took a taxi to my hotel, and absolutely failed, almost got in the driver’s seat because everything is on the wrong side of the road here. Then in the pooring rain, in a Mercedes taxi, on the wrong side of the road, I decided I could never drive in Germany. My buddy here in Germany told me all about how hard it is to get your driver’s license. The way these people drive, I can understand why. Maybe they can drive the way they do because they had to be so well trained to get their licenses in the first place.
The language wasn’t too bad for me, I could confidentally say “Sprechen Sie Englisch?” and understood basic numbers so I functioned. Well, my impressions of Frankfurt weren’t so good, but that was probably because I had issues with getting money on my Travelex Card. (I did manage to forget that I had about 150 pounds on me, that could have easily converted to a larger amount of euro). O and also the language barrier is bad when, in a somewhat large city, lots of people refuse to, or just can’t speak much English. However, Nutella is huge here, so I’ve got a comfort food from home at my fingertips.
An exact week after I left Australia I arrived in Erlangen. To say I was impressed with the rail network is an understatement. Slightly expensive but when it seems to work so damn well, why wouldn’t you pay for it? I woke up on a sunday morning, my first morning in Erlangen, and there was snow all over the ground. I was so impressed. Here’s a picture of a frozen leaf.
Apparently there is a saying about Erlangen. “They say that Erlangen makes you cry twice, once when you arrive and once when you have to leave.” Let’s see if the second half of the saying will come true too.
Well today was eventful.
7am wake up to apply for my residency permit.
We had to get to Woollahra between 900 and 1200. O fun.
We were gone for four hours, 15 minutes were spent in the German Consulate.
I hate to sound cliche’, but the lady behind the desk was very efficient. And nice.
I watched her conversation with some German nationals. All I could understand is that she could not do something, then asked when the passport ran out, to which the national replied the first of march. I felt like such a loser.
I gave another lady an empathetic smile when she struggled with the door to get in, she said something in German and laughed so I did one of those “o yeah” laughy-things. I still have no idea what she said.
I guess this is my first experience of language barriers where I’m the odd one out.
On the plus side my application was all good and I can expect the permit in 4 weeks. I leave in 6.
Not long now. So exciting.
My passport arrived yesterday. Now all I’m waiting on is the German acceptance package so I can apply for a VISA. And accommodation. And then I have to do so much else, like booking flights. So one could say that this photo sums it up. A huge mess.
It also shows that I’ve got a lot of crap on my desk. I have a lot of stuff in general which I just won’t be able to pack. Like my 20+ band shirts or my 10+ pairs of shoes. I’ll definitely have to take Dog. Dog is my toy dog that my aunt gave me when I was a baby. He’s named after Dog in Footrot Flats.
I’m not sure what else to write about. Except that I’m doing this post to avoid a little bit of study before I go to work.
Like my friend Renee said, exchange is an awesome procrastination tool.