Friday, November 27, 2009

well hell fire

I saw pictures of myself from a couple of years ago - back when I was running 3 miles a day. The arms, the legs, the shoulders. It was great.
And then, much to my own dismay, I compared these pictures with pictures from just recently - right before I started running three times a week.
The arms. The arms was the big disappointment.
Big being the keyword here.
oh despair.

I have three choices here:
1.) running more
2.) photoshop
3.) throwing myself off of the nearest precipice.

this is not me being over-dramatic at all.

I am off to Frankfurt to go and see....all of the nothing there is to see there.
I shall update you, dear readers, on this nothingness later.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Music, Theatre, English

So here's the long, short, skinny, well-rounded and really ugly part of it all, folks.

All I do is work.

There are days where it is in at 08:00 and out at 22:00 and those days occur more often than not if we're being honest here.
And if anyone makes fun of my use of the 24-hour clock, it's their head and their mother's best china so help me hannah because it is what I am used to.
So my. bad.

This could be one of those whiny "oh but I never poooooooost and you guys probably haaaaate me and omg does anyone even reeeeeeeead this thing anymore?" posts and then I could announce that I am changing blogging communities because that seemed like it would be a good refresher but we all know that things would not get anymore interesting for anyone and no one would be hanging on my last, occuring-every-month-or-so word unless I up and turned lesbian and posted pictures.
Admit it.

Also, I have officially been made to accept that I am a bad blogger by discovering a new and shiny blog from a good friend only to realize that she had not linked my blog under her Daily Readings. Why you ask?
Well. simple really.
BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING THERE TO READ.

Whatever. I can face the truth. Not here to pose it like it AIN'T.


Here is the real deal though.
I work in a new primary school and even though eleven small people may not seem like a lot, they have me running to and fro and oh great scott! don't forget the theatre piece for this christmas! and have you choreographed that dance yet! and don't even talk to me about the dance when I'm still working on the ever-loving music! and everyone and their brother now wants private piano lessons! and heaven help it we're going to be late coming back from swimming again! and we need 500 cookies in two weeks from now!

Obviously all of the above mumbo-jumbo means nothing to you other fellow members of the working-class society.
but to me. TO ME.
well to me it's my job and it takes up all my time and I would love to post about it right now but I just can't because it is late again.
and in my free time? I watch House aka. Hugh Laurie aka. only the greatest legend on the face of this green earth.

So this is actually a post about my job.
In case reading between the lines is not a God-given talent, I love this job. It's amazing to be doing something that is new to me, new to Berlin, new to my colleagues, new to Germany...
Because as a new school with a new method of teaching (came out of Vienna) this is all starting from the ground up.
Which would then, in turn, probably explain the hitting that same ground running mentality that I hope is being accurately conveyed here.

There are, naturally, other important things to mention:
That being namely that,
a.)my apartment is colder than the exact opposite of You Know Where and that I am currently wearing pajama pants, a night top, a wool sweater, a scarf, and footies just to sit here and write this in bed.
b.)Also there is the fact that I have become a cooking fiend (FIEND I TELL YOU) and when I am not at work or, well, doing anything else that I might be doing? I am cooking.
Rephrase-age: If I am at home, I am cooking.
c.)I have also changed rooms in the apartment so I am now living in a room that is three times the size of the original closet in which I was residing.
Not kidding. three times.
d.) Going to the gym in this weather is a chore but I still love it. Saunas keep me going. and going and going. and going.
e.) I hate the trains. I love my bike.
f.) please send me a blanket, this cold is ridiculous and a bit out of control.


I shall try to post more.
In the meantime, all my love.
Really.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Twenty-Five

Right.
So I'm at this party the other night and I'm working away at the populace's favourite bottle of sparkling "wine" and this party is in a hunting lodge, there are about 30 other locals and Rhianna is whining away in the background.

Now, just for clarification: I'm 25 now. as of very recently, mind you.
This party was not for me and that was really not the point.
The point was that I was surrounded by 18 to 20-SOMETHINGS, was holding a plastic cup of a lukewarm barely-able-to-prove-its-alcoholic-content beverage, and ended up being told very coyly by a freshly-legal platinum blonde that she was there "with HIM" and that she was also there to "keep her eye on him for the evening" after I had attempted to be polite, introduce myself to her and shock! horror! make conversation.

I feel like the outdated version of Sarah Jessica Parker from some overplayed rerun of Sex And The City - you know, the one where she ends up dating some guy that is 20 years her junior and she starts realizing that she is just "too old for this" after encountering his roommate wandering naked through the kitchen and probably a pizza box from last week under his bed.
Well folks, I am officially too old for this. So colour me Sarah J and pour me a bourbon.

I mean, for crying out loud. I meet someone new and he starts hearing about my job as a primary schoolteacher. That's all well and good but the turn-off is epic for a 20-year-old hearing about "the funniest thing that Josie said the other day."
And SORRY but that is inevitably where the question of, "So, what do you do?" is going to lead us.
To top it off, I got into a conversation about raising children with a MARY KAY CONSULTANT just the other day. Took us about an hour and a half to work through that bad boy but we did it.
Not to disregard is the fact that I performed an exorcism on myself directly afterward. Sorry but talking about potty training and the terrible twos with a Mary Kay consultant who is more of a cultist than the religious lunatics standing outside abortion clinics is even a bit much for open-minded me.
But me rambling on about children is not due to my biological clock going off every 15 minutes nor does it mean that I am beginning to fall asleep counting pacifiers.
Cause I mean - heavens have mercy. not in this life...

I just mean that I am, to the thriving youth who are jamming out to Lady Gaga, sporting her style of leather underwear, and still thinking that Michael Jackson was a white man - to them, I am a flat-out bore.
Maybe I would not want to hear about kids at a primary school and maybe I would think that I, myself, were a bit pretentious if I met me and I started talking about Kant's Categorical Imperative and wanted me to join in.
(that above sentence is so confusing. never again.)

But while, to them, I am the epitomé of one big snore - I'm holding the paper cup of fruit juice and thinking, "who DOES one have to kill in order to get some decent conversation around here?"

So. I'm sorry that I am boring kids. I really am. You cats are really quite cool with your latest trends and your catch phrases and your secret signals and well. by golly. I remember those days and how cool I thought I was.
But what I need is a cup of coffee and at least 6 hours of solid, non-alcohol-induced, sleep so running with the big dogs is obviously not my game anymore. Throw in a casual conversation not surrounding the topic of "who kissed whom" and we have something.
I need three days to recover from you young whippersnappers and quite frankly, it's embarrassing, but I believe that I am willing to hand over the torch.

This does not mean that I am old.
Au contraire.
It means that I am just in a different age bracket and that I need to, so to speak, get with the times....
....and find someone who knew about Michael Jackson before he started looking like Liz Taylor.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Good Old Golden Rule Days

Resurfacing to post pictures of my kids....
that are, well, not my kids but the kids WHOSE LIVES I RULE EVERY SCHOOL DAY.

My boss and her beautiful little girl:


Our cooking class. We made waffles. Well, Liesl made waffles.

The day at the water museum with our head teacher - she is my hero, a total legend. We obtained coffee and made an attempt at staying warm. The day resulted in an Italian restaurant, hot chocolate, and ten so-well-behaved schoolchildren. It was lovely.

Our stud. The girls have all already declared their undying love for him and the new favourite pastime is to chase him down and tickle him. Despite what he says, he loves it.




With love from Berlin.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Play It, Sam

(My work visa came through.
Everything was settled and sorted. The fires were sussed out and I did not deal with anymore meanies that made me feel like executing the strong urge to crack skulls together.)

As a result of recently beginning a new job of working with children, I have noticed that my approach to conversations is much more...singsong?
When working with ages 5 and a bit above, attention is acquired from children much easier through calming voices, a level tone, and a gentle EVERYONE SHUT THE HELL UP, PAUL QUIT STICKING YOUR FINGER IN YOUR NOSE, MARTIN LET NINA'S BRAID GO, PAUL I SAID GET YOUR FINGER OUT OF YOUR "§$%&$ NOSE AND WHY ARE WE NOT USING OUR INSIDE VOICES!??!

but calmly and coolly, right? and it always helps to - well - sing it in a way.

So the above refrain, if you will, turns into much more of a "la la laaaaaa every child needs to listeeeeeeen and paul get your finger out of your nooooooose, maaaaaartiiiiiiiiin - nina doesn't like it when you pull her braaaaaaids (evidenced by the fact that she is screeeeeaming) and paul what did I say about your nooooooose?"

This is all sung to the tune of "Frere Jacques" or "Head And Shoulders Knees and Toes."
Oh and in German.

Anyway, as I stated: this all has leaked over into my everyday life.
I find myself demonstrating very basic needs and wants through movement and song.
I have found myself entering a room and singing my roommate's name whereas before, I would have been more prone to say something along the lines of, "Yo baby. What's the word."
At work and amongst my colleagues, the words "coffee," "lunchtime" and "Is it 6:00 yet?" become little descants that are passed back and forth.
My personal favourite is that I have caught myself clapping at various times in a conversation to the rhythm of the words being spoken.

Folks - I'm losing my EDGE.


The other most recent noteworthy occurrence is the recent visit to our school by a North American Indian.
Now. For the Germans, it's all wide-eyed-ness, awe, and magnificence to see a real. live. Indian. For an American, this is the equivalent of saying, "Look! It's a real live black man!"
The political incorrectness of the whole conundrum aside, the entire thing was nothing short of pure entertainment.
This man came equipped with his traditional garb, his various CDs of authentic Indian music, a few DVDs of documentaries about the North American Indians and his peace pipe pouch chock full of business cards.
His introduction consisted of a joke: "I know 20 words in German" and with that, he proceeded to count to the number 20 in German.
Typical of the response from any other sane 5-year-old in this universe, he was found to be a complete moron when it came to his numbers, there was a pause to see if the big man would finish what he had started, and, when he did not, came the rolling of the eyes followed by a chorus of, "21, 22, 23, 24, 25...." and then just total confusion when he didn't seem to want to learn.
Served him right. Who can't count past 20 anyways??

The three. hour. long. presentation was wrapped up with our friendly neighbourhood Indian dancing a traditional warrior dance for the class.
Being put in charge of the CD player, I was a bit further away from the proceedings and thanked my lucky sparkling stars after he started jumping around from one foot to the other, waving his arms about, and trilling out battle cries.
So there we are: the Blackfoot Indians are diligently chanting from the CD playing in the background, the children are wide-eyed and open-mouthed, our frazzled head-teacher is hanging from her last string whilst willing herself to avoid an impending heart attack and I'm huddled in the corner near the CD player with my head in my knees and tears streaming from my face.
Afterward, he was timidly offered a plate of waffles made from cornmeal to which he turned up his nose and opted for a cup of black coffee instead.

See, I just didn't have the heart to tell anyone that the whole Corn Issue and the White Men Need Food and the 'Oh the Nice Indians Gave Us Food' and blah blah blah Thanksgiving Thing was something that came from the American Indians and that - yes, this particular specimen was from North AMERICA - but he directly hailed from CANADA and they didn't have much to do with that affair.

Plus, he lives in Berlin.
He probably simply prefers crépes.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Waging War

Well I went and got everyone all up in arms about it all.

Thanks to me exploiting facebook with my countdown of When Liesl Is Going To Wage War On the Local Berlin Immigration Office.


The blog fodder for this kind of thing is epic.
It's not every day that one graces the hallways of public civic buildings with the intention of mowing it down by way of a reeeeeeal bone-uh-fide Amurrrcan temper tantrum. You know what I'm talking about.
This could also be loosely referred to as "nuking."

nuke-alization.
nuke-alizing.
nuke-age.
nuke-alicious.


I drug my happy ass to the cest pool of all hell-holes and sat the same, aforementioned happy ass down with my designated Waiting Number. The feeling that one has of being one bovine in a stall of moo cows due to being crammed into a damp waiting room jetting off of a hallway that is peppered with similar waiting rooms and closed-door offices is not just the imagination or a sudden onset of paranoia.
Oh no. It's real.


The first lady behind a big, mean desk who I asked was quite pleased with herself to tell me that the director of this, here, immigration office (she whom I sought) could have been on vacation for all she knew because she had not seen her in a while. But that was not before she had no idea who I was talking about:
me: "I would like to speak with Mrs. X"
her: (picture me imitating her blank stare) "Mrs. X?"
me: "The director,"
Cause I'm all - hello? Big boss lady? The Main Squeeze? The Big Cheese? The Man? The Great Oz? YOU WORK FOR HER???

Having very little faith in her deeply intimate relations with her own boss or her knowledge of, well, anything, I ventured up the stairs, as directed, into the same exact replica of the Martha Stewart-style decor (her autumn collection) as seen downstairs but with more of a hint of puce lacquered onto the walls.

(If you look up the colour "puce" in dictionaries, they will tell you that it is in the red-brown family. With a hint of purple?
The writer of this blog would like it noted that the word "puce" was not chosen in this narrative for its faithfulness to the reality of the retelling but rather because the word "puce" sounds like something very very very revolting.)

But the cattle stalls were empty and the only sign of life was at the end of the hallway behind double glass doors. I rang (yes, rang) at the closed doors and a proper little secretary shows up, calmly opens the door and then very politely asks me what the hell I want.
After nicely telling her that I wanted to please speak with her ever-loving boss and that it was about my work visa so she had better let me in if she knew what was good for her, she gently informed me that her boss was not in at that moment and did I not get the fact that her boss didn't conduct personal interviews cause I mean, aren't all the other beasts of the farmland down there in the puce hallways waiting on the same thing?
I ever-so-lovingly informed her that yeah, I got it, and that I had a letter from my employer and that her boss and I were already in touch with one another so she needed to just back up off this like woah and when is this woman coming in then?
She respectfully dropped me in by saying that I could just give her the damn letter for crying out loud and this would all be over with.
I graciously thanked her for her offer to play messenger boy but that I would prefer to see the Big Boss Lady myself so thanks, but no thanks oh and by the way, answer my question already and tell me when she will be in.
The verdict was that Head Hancho would be in later and that it could last a while to which I replied that I would be more than happy to wait, sat myself down in one of the holding tanks and pulled out a book.

The irony about the above conversation is that it happened in exactly the way that I relayed it.
Because it was in German.
There is nothing quite like being able to use a formal "you" when talking to strangers or elders while nevertheless using a tone, an inflection, and specific lofty vocabulary that still gets the "I will go mental on your ass" point very clearly across. And all the while avoiding any other exciting words you may or may not have learned from your older brother to say when you were angry or stubbed your toe cause he thought it'd be funny to see you get a thrash for it.


So I waited for two hours.

Yes, I saw the secretary again.
Yes she told me to scram and that she had already told me that she would tell me when her boss showed up.
I just wanted her to know that I was there.
And that i was going to the bathroom.
Cause folks, I was conducting a siege.



After my two hour siege, one apple, roughly 30 almonds, the end of one book, and the beginning of another, I was informed to get my ass into the hot seat because Big Boss Lady had finally arrived so look sharp for the love of all things good and holy.


I gathered my things, breeeeeeeeeeezed past the secretary into her office which not so much as a "how you do," and asked if I could sit down.
I had to ask because there was no chair in front of her desk.
There was a conference table but no chair in front of her desk.
There's always a chair in front of a desk.
It's just how it's done.
But there was not a chair in front of this desk, doggonnit, so between feeling myself flirting with the brink of insanity, my nerves being on strike, and the almond/apple combo that had done no one that was involved any amount of good resulting in me having to yell over the sound of my own stomache and the ungodly noises that it was producing - I was fit to be friggin' tied.
So I just asked to sit down.
It just seemed like the thing to do.

Poor soul was too busy trying to understand why the deuce I was standing in her office and probably what the boy-howdy-golly those horrible noises were that were coming from my stomache.
She allowed me to sit, I regained my composure, tightened my buttocks and dove straight in.
Laying out all of the paperwork I had ever accumulated under this sun that might have had to do with the matter at hand, I hit her with it.
I am rather proud to say that, on this first go-round, her ammunition was sorely wanting. She told me that she was not the one that did the processing of work visas and I told her, well, right but that I have to work in two weeks and nothing had been processed even though I had applied ages, nay, eons ago.
She admitted that she had received my previous e-mails and already forwarded them on to the proper personnel and I valiantly resisted the urge to inform her that her personnel - the whole shagging shooting gallery of them - were all a bunch of nincompoops with the collective brain power of a table leg.
She had nothing to say to the copies of the e-mails between my former case worker and myself. This would largely be due to the fact that both the alleged case worker and her alleged case workING could have been replaced with a bowl of cornflakes and the amount of work accomplished would have been the same.
We left the situation standing that her people would be in touch with my people by the first part of this coming week or Bob was her uncle.
She really said nothing about Bob or her uncle but I felt that the "or Bob's...." was understood.
And I promised that I would be in touch.
I apologized for freaking her secretary out, walked straight outside, right up to the first person that I saw and asked for a cigarette because well, damnit, I needed one.
That person happened to be a long-haired, euromullet-sporting, leather-clad biker dude wearing a sticker that said, "Whoever wants to f*** has to be friendly" so I figured he would have been largely okay with me telling him that trips to the immigration office were officially mandated to be followed up with chain-smoking, binge drinking, and any other form of reckless behaviour that would wipe away all memories of puce-coloured walls.
Yeah, he agreed.






Monday, July 27, 2009

Dialogue With The Writer's Mother

Me: I really miss you guys. I haven't talked to (kid brother) in ages.
I've forgotten how old dad is.
and I don't remember what it is like to be around you.
Mom: Your father is REALLY old.
and I am FUN.



(this just in: if I am miserable with stress, I have discovered that I do not sleep)
(this also just in: the above "just in" is really really bad news)

Monday, June 15, 2009

And In That Moment, We Were Infinite

It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

-TR

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Miss My Train

BAH! I've done it again. I've gone and ignored the things most dear to me in this world (in no necessary order): Stumbleupon, my blog, definitely your blog, my favourite webcomic, Flickr, the small-college internet radio stations that I love to listen to, and this really catchy little piece by an old friend of mine that she entitled: "Hey, Hispanic Lady!"
I'm going back and reading that in a hot minute.

But there is a reason for all of this, all of this....this enstrangement.
I, yours truly, the writer of this here blog - my dear readers - am being handed the run-around by the Berlin mass transit system.
Given the business, taken to the cleaners, has had her LUNCH. EATEN. if you will.

Title of my next book: "The Run-Around, The Business, A Trip To The Cleaners and Whatever Happened To My Lunch?"
or "My WORD I'm Late For Everything"

As a, now, bonafide expert on all matters of being schooled by a train system and, thereby, late on a nearly religious basis, I can honestly say that it's a large slice of humble pie to realize that you, YOU!! are
that girl. The "golllll-E I'm just not used to this here big city life and well shucks I guess all them big trains are kinda gettin' the best of me" girl.

But I shall prevail.
hell, I'll light myself on fire before I let some large pieces of machinery get the best of me.


Ok so leaving the dramatic aside:
- I love my job(s) and colleagues
- I get the biggest kick out of walking everywhere I go because I get to see more of the city that way,
- We're still wearing jackets and scarves over here and Mother Nature is about to get some SUMMA KINDA strongly-worded letter if you're catching my drift,
- I've really gone a bit wild about avocados lately. When something starts becoming a conversation piece for your friends, you know you've gone wild,
- I need a haircut.


In other news, I have pictures, as promised, of my lovely little apartment.
(and also because certain members of certain parties have been ever-so-gently reminding me of my obligations to the blogging world to let them alllllllllll see where I live.)





The bedroom is of course mine. Rommates don't love roommates taking pictures of roommates' rooms. And the trees are the view into the courtyard from our windows.
I think you get the idea.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Forgive Me, It Has Been X Days Since My Last Ode To Myself

So when things are not going quite my way in this life, I tend to blog-pout.

I blog-pout by refusing to write out my thoughts/worries/hopes/most recent findings regarding David Hasselhof sightings in Berlin.

I find myself justifying my blog-pouting by thinking that there is nothing worth writing about since:
I am waiting on a work visa, waiting to work, waiting to earn money, and waiting to eat something other than rice and spaghetti sauce (oh I haven't mentioned I'm allergic to all things bread? translated: p-p-p-p-pasta).

Well.
1.) Work visa has been approved. It's in Munich (I think?) and will be sent back to Berlin within a matter of days (I hope?)
2.) This means I can work. and stuff.
3.) This leads to making money.
4.) And THIS is good because that rules out using illegal means, immoral means, embarrassing means, drastic means, and all otherwise "I'm going to live to regret this" means to earn money.


But in the meantime, back at the farm, it's the waiting that just makes me want to punch myself in the face.
Waiting to start working while the job just sits in front of your face so instead occupying your time around a fantastic city that turns out it takes money to see a lot of, walking everywhere to save money and to stretch out the pain in your foot because you're a big fat wimp that has not been on this much concrete since the First Coming, and finding yourself tempted by EVERY EVER-LOVING FRUIT STAND IN THIS HEMISPHERE THAT MIGHT REALLY ALL HAPPEN TO BE IN BERLIN is really sometimes just more than one can take.
The fruit stands are really the last straw.
I could live on oranges and avocados.
And could do a fruitie version of Super Size Me.
We could call it Fruits Are People Too or All Quiet On The Fruity Front.
In going off the, uh, punny title idea... but I digress.


Point IS: in looking to avoid taking a life, this has all actually given me a lot of time for seeing the city by foot, learning my way around, meeting some people, finding out where to go for the best burger in the neighbourhood, when the riots here in the city occur...

yes. ahem. the riots.
first of May.
blah blah blah. riots. blah blah blah.

(that above was for my mother so she does not give birth to a twinkie after reading the word "riot." Hi mom.)

Thhhhhhhe riots.
Apparently my little neighbourhood of Kreuzberg (as Berlin is lovingly divided into 12 neighbourhoods) was right in the corner near the wall before she fell and caused a good deal of ruckus before the reunification.
As commemoration of Berlin's Right To Riot and also because Kreuzberg is proud of this little fact in her history, May 1st is the day of rioting and everyone gathers to just, basically, go wild.
It's "Girls Gone Wild" East Berlin/1989 style.
Wham Bang Wowie Zowie.
and stuff.



RE: riots and/or reasons to riot. 1989 is child's play.
If I don't get that work visa within the next few days, this city will learn a new meaning of the word RIOT.











Monday, April 6, 2009

I Am Holding Half An Acre

I packed it up and shipped it out.

My life on the one side of Germany that is.
And leaving Dodge in the distance by getting the heck out of there, I made it to Berlin with a barely valid international driver's license. 
Just managed to slide right in.

So now it's the token work meetings, living out of suitcases, sorting out banking accounts and transit expenses, familiarizing oneself with the surrounding area, finding a new place to live, being persistent in all of the above. 
And waiting.
Waiting for the meeting to apply for the work visa. 
Waiting to see if the work visa will be approved.
Waiting to work.
Waiting to have the money to pay for a new place. 
Waiting to feel like I belong here.
Waiting to get over the fact that I know I am really really scared and not wanting to admit that (Dear Blogging World....)

The only way I can describe what I mean by all of this is to say that I have the thought of PLEASE DO NOT SCREW UP going through my head about 134,908,752 times per day. This thought process can be applied to myself, to any impending groundbreaking and/or trivial situation in the near future or simply to getting to the market and back. 

aka. Scared Stiff.

But in other news, I have been watching an ungodly amount of House whilst doing my best to avoid becoming a raging hypochondriac. 
I find myself reciting the long names of each disease to myself so that I can easily diagnose myself if I ever start showing symptoms of a pain in my elbow combined with loss of appetite, full-body lesions, hair loss, sensitivity to light, muscle spasms, and the belief that my mother and a large termite are trying to kill me. 


Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm Moving To Berlin On Wednesday

And this is supposed to be one of the most powerful times in my life. 
And it really is. It really truly is.

But it's also powerfully overwhelming and heart-wrenching. 

After receiving both jobs for which I interviewed in THE City that has always been my Absolute Dream Spot To Live, I played the DO NOT MAKE ANY SUDDEN MOVEMENTS AND FOR GOD'S SAKE DO NOT PINCH ME BECAUSE, DAMNIT, I LIKE THIS DREAM card for a bit. 

But now that part's over. I'm not dreaming it. 
I'm living it. 
It's happening.

And I'm scared to death.

Oh sure it doesn't help that I'm completely hormonal at this point; the two-year-old found all of my feminine hygiene products, hid them from me and I'm all, "duuuuuude, you can't be serious,"; due to the aforementioned roller coaster of hormones, I've eaten my body weight in chocolate so I feel like a failure after my desperate attempts at being Stairmaster Queen; and I'm home alone feeling lonely all alone by myself.

I really thought I had things under better control than this.
I had worked through my List of Cares and Troubles and felt that everything would sort itself out. 
I was, as of 13:00 Greenwich Mean Time completely sane and coherent.

Well folks, I snapped.
SNAPPED I TELL YOU.

I think it was filling space-saver bags whilst the two-year-old looked on and filling suitcases with the total catastrophe that is my room currently. Packing makes me see red.
Punching myself in the face does to and that is what I would compare packing to.
Hands down.

It didn't help that my phone call to my parents included a conversation with my father that went as follows:
me: (violent sobbing) "And then....and Jan said....and I just don't....and I'm so scared...and it's like this..." (more violent sobbing)
Dad: "Well.....sometimes when we leave places, we miss it," (to my mother), "Are you done yet so you can talk to her?"

Awwwwwwwwesome.

Round that all off with a promise to my mother to live on 10 €/week for food while I wait on my work visa (read: make money) and a suggestion for her to sell my old flute for extra cash.
She followed this up with, "Do you not want it?"
Me: "Well can I eat it?"


But really, it was mostly the fact the young master of the household finally grasped what "Berlin" meant in relation to "Liesl."

I was stoic while he cried and begged me to stay with him and asked why I couldn't stay for forever.
I was brave when he kept bringing it up and asking me if I was going to Berlin after I put him to bed and he fell asleep.
I was even rigid when he asked me if he would see me in the morning or if I was going to be in Berlin. 

And then I wasn't brave anymore. 
Cause then I wept.
I drew a warm bath, I sat for an hour, and I. cried. my. eyes. out.
I wept like a fool. A big fool.

The only thing I was able to say to the little one was to tell him that even though I would not live with him for forever, I would most definitely love him for forever.

So he just looked at me and grinned. 


Monday, March 9, 2009

Quadratic Static O'Matic

I pattern my decisions or conclude future outcomes based on completely circumstantial occurrences. 
For example, when I am driving down my favourite road, I always think to myself, "If, when I turn this last curve, I meet a car coming in the other direction, I will ___________ or ___________ will happen."

I used to think that I was completely alone in doing this until I saw the movie "A Very Long Engagement." Obviously I am not the only one because someone had to think of the concept for that movie, seems to me. 

I also count throughout my day. I count how many steps it takes me to reach a destination, how many times someone says the same word in a sentence, or how many of one item are left on a shelf at a supermarket. 
I have also been known to count out my days based on what I have to do. I break down my day into a list (Keyword: ctrl-shift-"I'm a sucker for anything involving lists") and count each thing off after it has been completed. My day then becomes less of a - shall we say - Monday, than it does a list with sub-points and bullets. 

I'm feeling like a Karma Police subtext.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Letter Of Complaint

I was commissioned to write this complaint letter for some friends after their plans to visit me in Germany fell through due to a certain airline and its penchant for HIGHWAY ROBBERY.
And we're talking the type of highway robbery that doesn't leave one for dead; rather, leaves one wishing they were dead after having one's lunch money emptied from their pockets in front of all the mean kids that are still too big to beat up.
But mark my words, ONE DAY....


To Whom It May Or May Not Concern,

I have always sworn by RyanAir. Truthfully, there is no other airline on which one can arrive, relatively unscathed, at the final destination despite the fellow, flanking, drunken passengers, receive absolutely no form of sustenance with which to keep one's blood sugar from reaching dangerously low levels, and simultaneously purchase a teddy bear sporting the airline's logo in efforts to be left alone and avoid being pestered further to buy overpriced merchandise. 

But it's the initial ticket price, you see. 
It's akin to experiencing the Shakina Glory when one realizes that the possibility of traveling to see loved ones MIGHT actually be possible with an actual budget of We-Eat-Beans-And-Rice-Three-Times-A-Day. In all sincerity, the prices that RyanAir offers from the onset during a ticket search are almost sinful - they are really that appealing. 

Which is why I would imagine that 4.5 in 4.5 people have probably fallen for the same run-around that I was handed yesterday when I purchased my tickets to Frankfurt, Germany.


The starting price (I say STARTING) of 16 English Pounds for two tickets seemed really too good to be true but hey, I thought, it's RyanAir and, looking on the upside, if there is a souvenir that I can't find in Germany, I can probably find its equivalent on board? Sure why not. I had nothing to lose. 
The world was my oyster. 
I was walking on sunshine.

OH THE FOLLIES OF YOUTH.

After being smacked with an additional 19 Pounds for NOT carrying on any luggage.....Actually I would like to address that matter for just a moment.

It does not take a rocket scientist to ascertain that being charged for NOT adding any additional weight to an aircraft by NOT carrying on luggage would be just a teensy bit questionable: a concept of addition based on subtraction. 
It makes the idea of inhaling the equivalent of 19 Pounds worth of steak dinners directly before takeoff, one right after the other, rather appealing simply because then I would feel like I was bringing something along for which I had actually paid.

But that's no matter, right? The total still came to a whopping 35 Pounds and that still beats any other beverage-serving airline so I decided to ignore my complete and total confusion as a result of my lack of extra luggage and to push forward. 

But after realizing that the chosen dates for travel were not, in fact, compatible with my host's schedule, I made the call to RyanAir in order to make my inquiries regarding the cost to have a flight changed. 



96 Pounds.




I believe that really says it all but, if the morning coffee has not quit kicked in, I shall be glad to spell this out.

Allow me:

N-I-N-E-T-Y-S-I-X-B-L-O-O-D-Y-P-O-U-N-D-S.

This instance of Near Heart Failure was quickly followed by Red Red Rage. I'll try to explain:

Permit me to throw a hypothetical situation out here.

Let's say that you have this friend. This friend decides to purchase something over the Internet, the World Wide Web. This friend then comes to the portion of the story in which payment, an exchange of goods, must be made. Due to the fact that we, as consumers, are still lacking a handy little device attached to our computers in which we can slide money and kiss it goodbye on its way into cyberspace, what would you recommend to your friend that he or she do?

Let's say that I'm your friend. We're friends, right? Golly, I hope so. Well, regardless of our relationship, you'd probably recommend to me that I pay with a debit card. That's what I would recommend to my friends.

Then comes the Clincher. A 19-Pounder Clincher and I'm not talking about a fish either.

No. I'm talking about 19 Pounds for the use of a debit card.
I couldn't believe it either. But it's true.
19 Pounds for the use of a debit card.

I don't know who gets that 19 Pounds but I want to be the person that does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING and receives 19 Pounds every time someone use a debit card for an online payment simply because they have. no other. choice.
The analogy comes to mind of having my hands tied by force, being blindfolded and then made to pay for the fact that I was just tied-up and blindfolded when I had absolutely no say in the matter in the first place.
There are much better ways to enjoy being tied-up and blindfolded that people actually do pay for but I'm largely certain it has nothing to do with airline tickets.

That being said, I would only recommend using a debit card to someone if I truly and sincerely hated them considering the existence of a 19-Pound fee for the use of said debit card - because that's just mean-spirited. 

Surely you can then understand that I somehow feel that someone hates me.

And surely you can understand that I just don't darken the doorways where I'm not wanted.

Cheers, RyanAir.
 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Week Rundown

1.) One complete missed night of sleep.  
1a.) Which, people, is the life of a student and, may I remind you, the life which I am looking to one day regain. 
1b.) One fleeting realization of my own impending insanity (see 1a).

2.) One failed German language assessment test in an effort to start Master's studies at university this winter.
2a.) One complete and total lack of surprise considering the number of native speakers standing outside chain smoking and wringing their hands in sheer terror because they were wigging out about the difficulty of the test.
2b.) One admittedly ridiculous test but nothing more than a Test To Test How Well You Take Tests and a Test That Is Obviously Testing My Resolve To Try Again.

3.) One weeping mother. 
3a.) One reason being that I called the aforementioned mother in tears and gave her the news surrounding the aforementioned test, 
3b.) but really the main one reason being that, upon her mentioning that I should consider looking for a job overseas from the comfort of the family home in Virginia, I might have maybe did it is possible let's not rule out the likelihood that I went mildly BERSERK.

4.) One apology to aforementioned mother for being a total assclown.
4a.) One "Aw hey it's cool" exchanged between mother and daughter. 

5.) One *sharp intake of breath* followed quickly by one "Hate to tell you this" in regards to the job that I wanted with a fashion company in Berlin due to one missing work visa or (translation) one that never existed. 

6.) One invitation to come to Berlin and be assessed for an English Teaching Position over the weekend.
6a.) One writer of this blog that might have maybe did it is possible let's not rule out the likelihood that she went mildly BERSERK.
6b.) One lack of Raised Hopes which was quickly replaced with one Warm Blanket Of Cynicism in regards to No. 6 as a result of having already experienced Nos. 2 and 5.

7.) One conversation with a friend in which the writer of this blog was reminded of the best punching bag for her frustrations, excluding all of the following:
- mothers that are trying to be helpful
- toddlers that are trying to be helpful
- friends that are trying to be helpful
- random neighbours that are trying to be helpful
- anyone not included in this list that is trying to be helpful
7a.) One sweet sweet sigh of relief because it. really. could have. gotten. bad.



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Turning Over a New (Basil) Leaf

I can't cook.
I don't cook.
Because I can't cook. 

This was brought to my attention after two specific occurrences:

1. Right after someone purchased a chicken for me so that it could be cooked, the broth could be drank, and then a lovely, uh, chicken? dish could be made from it. 
This didn't go so well considering that the chicken was cooked, the broth was drank, but no chicken dish manifested itself and the writer of this post received a severe tongue-lashing along the lines of, "Liesl, you REALLY need to learn how to cook!" from the chicken-purchaser. 

You may remember, seeing that I mentioned the incident with the purchased chicken once before in a blog, that my response was to promptly cook the damn chicken and then throw it out - on a matter of principle. 

2. The second occurrence was during my most recent week of fasting. I found myself daydreaming of food and planning what I would eat next. This was all dashed to the rocks when I realized that, in all reality, I would probably be consuming rice, fruit, the here-and-there spaghetti dish, sandwiches, and rinse and repeat.
Because the truth is dear reader, my storehouse of recipes consists of Top Ramen, macaroni and cheese, pizza, and just about anything out of a box.


But I really want to know how to cook.
I reeeaaaaaaally do.

So. In no necessary order:
- I made Tiramisu not too long ago and it may not have been the prettiest concoction on the face of the planet but what CAN one expect after dousing raw eggs with espresso? It was damn tasty and I have to admit I was almost thrilled when my boss made the same dish just a few weeks ago and her boyfriend flat-out told her that it sucked. BWAHA!

- We now make homemade granola around here and eat it like it's going out of style.  The sheer fact that the smell of roasting nuts and coconut coming from our little oven every week is a product of something that I did is enough to bring tears to my very eyes. 

- I had to call my mother once to ask about making fried chicken but that's really beside the Point. The Point is: I made homemade, southern-style, this-will-clog-your-arteries-in-one-sitting-and-simultaneously-make-your-grandmother-very-very-proud fried chicken.

- I once made up a pasta dish with chicken, spices and what-have-you items that we had in the kitchen. My boss absolutely loved it and ate a crap-ton of it but I know that I will never be able to recreate what I did that day. I shall not try.

- And then my boss suggested homemade curry. She decided that she wanted to eat homemade curry and that there was no better for the task than the writer of this post. 
GREAT.



But I did it! Everything was from scratch and also, might I add, took a good deal of time to find around here because, the oriental restaurants might have a plethora of coconut milk, bamboo sprouts, and white eggplant, but the grocery stores - do not. 

My boss decreed that pictures needed to be taken of this occasion because she was sure that my mother would never believe it to hear it. 

Coincidentally, and only by coincidence, was my boss correct in saying that my mother probably would NOT believe it without seeing it so here are the pictures to prove it. 
I cooked, mom. 
(This is the only time you will ever see me post pictures like this on the WWW because let's face it, I'm just not one to post pictures of household activities:  vacuuming, ironing,  mowing the lawn, sleeping, taking a shower, etc.)


Feast your eyes. 
Ha. 'Feast.' Get it?
groan. ANYway.

Proof of the food that was there.


Proof that the writer of this post was there. 


oh and the curry was great. BAM.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Resumé Photo

I had heard of this back when I had to write my Curriculum Vitae/resumé in French class and our professor informed us that the blank space in the top, right-hand, corner of the resumé was to be for an attached photo.
This was, of course, met with unanimous disapproval.
Americans don't do the photo with the resumé. 
It's discrimination. 
It's not p.c.
It's unheard of. 
It's rude.  

The idea that the employer would want to see a photo of the applicant and would pit that against his/her credentials? 
Preposterous, we say!

Well folks - Americans may not do it but when in Rome?
Go get your §$%@§&$ photo taken with the rest of the Romans.



My impression of the Classic Applicant's Photo (from what I had seen till now) was an easy reminder of the worst nightmare I had ever had in which I dreamed that my arms were sawed off with a plastic spoon and I was then promptly beaten with my own elbows.

The Classic Applicant's Photo is really the polite version of what one would look like after having a long, metallic object lodged, for an ungodly amount of time, into a part of the body that is never and has never and will never be a friendly environment for the object in question.

The C.A.P. is best taken when the aforementioned applicant has had a long night of drinking beforehand, when the circles under the eyes are at peak performance, and when the "photographer" doesn't mention taking the photo but, instead, does the deed and catches the applicant's best impression of the trash-can player from Slipknot artistically strained across his/her face.

Take Number One's 'success' is 100% guaranteed to horrify the photographer and result in an intensifying of the already sweatin'-to-the-oldies-richard-simmons-style lighting situation or your money back. 
They call this specific type of lighting "modern" and it just brings to mind that fine line we walk between Art and Torture By Cruel and Inhumane Means.

Well, any poor, misguided soul understands that:
football stadium lighting + a winning hangover = ability to bite straight through one's shoes...

...so one should not be surprised when seeing the C.A.P. and the fact that the first words that come to mind might be "extreme trauma" and "death of a soul" as this is - achieved only through severe pupil dilation - the actual, desired effect for the most successful outcome.
Translation: employers eat this up.

The C.A.P. is then promptly shipped to every prospective employer within three different time zones and 18 different official languages so - let's get this straight - these people really. know. who. you. are.

at least who you really are before. consumption. of. morning. coffee. 
but seriously kids, this is not some prom queen nomination. 
this is employment. 
get with the program.




--I had to finally cave and have the C.A.P. done of myself this past week. 
The experience was, thanks to my week of fasting, cleansing, and (ahem) flushing out of my system, somewhat tame compared to being beaten with my own elbows.
I had nothing to "lose" you see. 

I was gently informed that my smile seems a bit "off" but, all things considered, I look at this as somewhat of an accomplishment considering the other specimens of the C.A.P. that I have seen and the fact that I have found myself comparing them to the 'after' photos of lobotomy patients. 



 








Thursday, February 5, 2009

For Penitence Sake

I've been fasting this week with my boss/friend/roommate.
(Those terms are not in any necessary order. We like to throw all three around like hot cakes around here)

This time of fasting has included a reduction of nutritional intake, followed by the imbibing of one salt, water, and lemon juice mixture, frequent trips to the little girls' room, and more vegetable broth than one could shake a stick at. 
And ohhhh it sucks. 
It sucks so bad.

I blame my boss. She apparently does this every year as part of a detoxing ritual and, considering the amount of fermented potato juice that I have had in the last few months, I decided that maybe I could stand a little bit of that too.

But I don't know if I CAN stand it.

As a result of this sabbatical from all nutritional substance, I have begun to concoct and/or fantasize about some of the most amazing dishes that I will cook for myself when all this is over. 
I have also caught myself thinking, "Will I ever get to eat again?"
This might be seen as a doomsday-ist way of looking at things and I may not be living in a prison camp but when you're watching a two-year-old scarf down bread, meat, cheese, and joghurt like it's going out of style, you really can begin to wonder if food ever really really existed for you or if it was just for them, the others, the ones that must hate you.
Or you contemplate stealing the child's food from him and shoving it in your mouth before anyone can call the child abuse hotline.

Our elderly neighbours  - the very same ones that have scolded me for not dressing warmly enough this winter season (for those of you who keep up with this blog) - have now switched their attentions from my current fashion sense, or. lack. there. of? and have moved on to what really lies beneath. 
To them, it's not an issue of clothes making the man, people. It's a matter of "WHY IN HELL WOULD YOU BE FASTING?? YOU ALREADY ARE SKIN AND BONES! I SWEAR YOU'VE GOTTEN SKINNIER AS WE STAND HERE! JUST LOOK HOW SKINNY SHE IS LEONARD."

So my boss was scolded for including me in on her heathen rites, and I -
well, I was encouraged to eat more sauerkraut. 

You think I'm kidding. 
I'm really not. 
It's the German's answer to anything. Sauerkraut.
Not feeling well? Sauerkraut.
Overweight? Sauerkraut.
No sex drive? Sauerkraut.
Bad at math? Sauerkraut.

But, on the flip side of this whole equation, I'm not too displeased with myself. 
Fasting has never been one of my strong points simply for the sheer fact that I get irritable if I don't eat and then look for the next small child to run over or small business to set to flames. 
But this time, I might actually pull through.
I think it helps that I hear my boss' stomache churning every two minutes or so and see her quickly disappear to the bathroom 18 times a day. 
I know I'm not alone.

That combined with the fact that I do, actually,  eat a lot of sauerkraut and I know I still, to this day, couldn't manage any better than the B that I got in Business Calculus at university. 


Friday, January 30, 2009

It's Official

I've fought that very sweet, quiet, fairy-like voice in my head that keeps saying "DO IT YOU BIG CHICKEN FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS GOOD AND HOLY" concerning writing anything as regards my future plans anywhere near the realm of cyberspace but, after being inspired to possibly be held accountable via blogging by a dear friend, I believe I may have received the proverbial kick in the pants to get me to listen to that really sweet, little voice.
I hate that really sweet, little voice. 

Truth is, folks: I'm scared as all alkjdfoiwelkjaldkfjoiusljl.
Making future plans and carrying them out can oftentimes be two horses that are coloured very differently. 
i.e. I make the plan to apply to my university of choice to study my degree field of choice and don't get accepted/can't find a way to make money in the meantime/get drug out of the country by my hair whilst kicking and screaming.
All-in-all, discover  a few, oh, minor dead-ends that might just result in total and utter disappointment. 

Being that total and utter disappointment is something I am never fond of facing, I usually take the mature road and ignore whatever it is that is bothering me, don't talk about it with anyone, proceed with business as normal, think I have the whole world fooled and everything in the hand  until someone mistakenly and unknowingly poses the question of, "So what are your plans after this?" and I hear a voice coming form my innermost depths (that suuuuurely is someone else) saying, "I DON'T KNOW BUT YOU DANCING ON MY BACK ABOUT IT PROBABLY ISN'T GOING TO GET US ANYWHERE NOW, IS IT?!?!"
And it's then that I realize that I might be a teensy bit stressed about those "future plans."

To avoid any such mishaps this time around, I have decided to try a new and different approach. 
I started off by crying. 
I am NOT a crier but, seeing that that whole bottled-up-emotions tactic was leading me nowhere, I ventured to the movie theatre to see the new Baz Lehrman film, "Australia" and hoped/prayed/pleeeeeaded that it would be horribly devastating, that every character might die, and that I would be brought to tears. 
I figured this might help. 
Well I cried all right. 
And cried. 
And cried.
 And then got mad because I couldn't stop crying and because I was beginning to feel that all my searching to "feel"  was just a bit over-the-top for me and that I was better off not having cried for three and a half bloody hours during a film featuring witch doctors and kangaroos. I felt like a fraud. I had stolen the crying-in-movies joy from the true diehards around me by crying louder and longer than all the rest of them. 
I suggest never trying this method of therapy as you feel like a big phony afterwards and then you're just the big phony with the red nose, puffy eyes, hoarse voice, and a fantastic headache. Extremely unprofessional.
And those diehards all know you're a phony, too. They KNOW.

My second approach was to communicate with my mother a bit more about what it is that was bothering me and apply the mother-daughter rule of asking mom for advice.  Cause moms always know, right?
After a few instances strongly resembling the aforementioned scenario of  polite-question-from-innocent-bystander-awarded-with-a-swift-kick-to-the-knees, I feel like I am getting a bit better in the daughterseekingadvice department and that is mainly due to the fact that my mother is in the US, I am in Germany and she can't smack me a good one for acting like a madwoman.
That and she's unbelievably patient with me. 

In keeping with the name of the game and being fair to the blogging public, I should include that my third approach was definitely one Vodka Gorbatschow. 
He's a swell chap and he does you proud until he leaves you the next morning and you realize that the "sweet nothings" he had been whispering to you the night before were all in your head and that he had had actually been beating you with your shoes. 

Be all this as it very well may:
I am recording on here that my future plans are very tentative, that I am applying for this and that university and applying for this and that job and looking for this and that place to stay. 
I'm sure that, as situations arise, that I will feel more comfortable talking about the huge elephant that has been standing over me, staring at me, drilling holes in my head, for the past few weeks, and I will be a little more specific. But, for now, don't ask for specifics.
Specifics I can't do. Specifics I won't do. At least not right now. 
After all, I'm still a work in progress and it's baby steps, people. Baby. Steps. 











Friday, January 9, 2009

To Zack

There's so much that I would like to say. Really, a lot I feel I have to write down. I've done a good deal in my real journal as of late but that is not for your eyes, my dear,  because, well, a girl needs a place for her secrets. 

I'd probably say something about having been in Berlin and absolutely despising that feeling that  I have every time I leave that city: that feeling of losing the ability to pick up my heels and run to whatever it is that life has in store for me next. That feeling that I have whenever I am in Berlin. 
I might say something about experiencing three days straight of amateur fireworks throughout the city and how it just felt really powerful to be in such a city that has seen so much throughout time and is now welcoming another year. 

I might then say something about being in Belgium (because uh, I am) and being in Brussels, walking alone for a few hours on end, letting the overpowering thoughts in my head empty out onto the streets, reveal themselves in the leftover Christmas lights, weave through the thousands of people and mix with their thoughts, then become extremely insignificant in the grand, ever-loving, scheme of things. 
What a put-it-to-you. It was swell.

I might talk about talking with my mother and how I hate it.
I would then follow that up with saying that I love talking with my mother and that my previous statement would definitely be worth a consideration regarding a retraction since she reads this too  but it's going to stay. 
I would then hopefully clarify  that I don't hate talking with her for any reason except for the simple one that I love her more than she might ever know and that the sheer fact that I can't be there and here and then here and there and back again breaks my heart. Simply and truly. 

And speaking of hearts, I would probably let my train of thought lead me to mentioning a conversation that I had:
the idea was that living in one country and then living for a period of time in another simply results  in never being able to really go home.
Your heart is there and it's here and then it's there but, no, it's really here. 
And "home" then becomes an abstract concept or an idea that can only be chased and never achieved.

And that would lead me, ultimately, to saying that - in answer to you-  maybe that is how one will feel about a spiritual walk with this Christ. 
Maybe we are never supposed to feel like this is "home" and yet how can we ever know that there is Home until we just know for certain? 
Maybe my wading and your wading and the fact that we are both waiting doesn't answer any of our immediate questions .
Is there any other choice, though, other than to continue on knowing that we won't find "home" until we are brought to it?
I might casually (and oh. so. casually.) mention that what you had to say was heart-wrenching, gut-punching, "tear-jerking," miserable, fantastic, horrible, and exactly what I needed. 
I would probably tell you that I sat and cried while donning my boots to go outside because it was then that I saw what you had to say.
And I might thank you. 
I probably would thank you. 
Thank you. 

And I might follow all of this up with talking about this post not being funny.
I would say that I prefer witty, lighthearted posts - ones that involve a lot of onomatopoeia, clever historical, philosophical, hell, even a few metaphysical references, and posts that don't leave me feeling any differently afterwards after reading them than I did before. 
But then I might say that this was just not one of those.
 Out of a hit-and-miss categorization, I might leave you to decide.
But I would have to be honest then and tell you that I really didn't care one way or the other.