Thursday, November 11, 2010

Deutschland for Idiots (or, Letter to Angela Merkel)

Dear Angie,

You're awesome. And your country is awesome too. I am so grateful that you, personally, took the time to evaluate my visa application and decided to approve my request. I think it's super that you have this tremendous girl-power and that you single-handedly manage to run this amazing country. A country so rich that can close every single store on Sundays, and throw clients out of stores when the clock indicates closing time. I don't say this in a pejorative way, not at all. I am actually quite impressed that your economy is so strong that you really can manage to close every single commercial establishment for one day, every week. That is, 52 days a year; that is, almost two months. In my country, we not only open every day, but we stay open until late and when the clock strikes closing time, we prefer to lock customers in until they buy something--never kick them out. Maybe (in retrospective, and from an outside perspective) your country is so rich because it forces people to rest and spend time with family once a week, 52 days a year, almost 2 months.

But back to you--because this is about you and your nation. As I was saying you're awesome. And so is your country. Maybe you're awesome because of your country. How can a country where Hamburgers are born not be awesome? How can a Hamburger not be awesome? Because hamburgers are awesome too. (I'm hilarious, I know.)

I admire the order of your country. I find it amazing that all your Germans are well trained and educated. German drivers, for instance, are super well trained. Honey was studying for the driver's license test for over 3 months, and it was hard. I helped him a couple of times, and really, it's hard! But that is exactly why all Germans drive so well: because they learn the rules. If they don't learn the rules, they don't have a license. It's that simple.

Another thing I love about your country is it's rules. So many things are forbidden, and that makes for better living. It's forbidden to smoke in public places, it's forbidden to throw trash on the streets, it's forbidden to make too much noise... and so people live better! (And maybe because they live better and rest once a week is why your economy is so awesome... I hope my President, Juanma, is reading this, he could get a couple of good ideas...)

But, you see, another great nation is the US of A. Oh, yes, the wonderful United States of America, where I spent the best four years of my academic life. What makes America so great? Well, definitely not the fact that you can't buy alcohol on Sundays (or is that only GA?), but the fact that America understand that it is a land of immigrants. So, America makes everything for idiots. When you buy a cup of coffee in McDonals, it actually states Beware, you Idiot, this is HOT! (Ok, not literally, but it does warn you about how hot the coffee is.) America has signs and flyers and books and manuals and handbooks and instructions for everything--and everything is for idiots. I'm not saying Americans are idiots. On the contrary, I'm saying the rest of us are. Those of us who were not raised there, and who don't understand and don't know their rules. And so, when we move there, we become educated idiots, and we quickly learn to do everything the American way.

In my country, ignorance of the law is no excuse--but since almost everything is allowed, we don't really have to worry much about that. In your country, ignorance of the law is also no excuse... but I need to learn the law in order to follow it!

This is why I suggest you write a "Deutschland für Idiots" handbook. It should be in German (not only because I need to practice, but also because I strongly believe that if you wish to live in another country, you must learn their language), and it should tell me straight forward what I can do... since I know that I can't do much...

For instance, I have four garbage cans  outside: a yellow one, a blue one, a brown one, and a dirty one (I think it's black). Where do I throw what?

I wake up at 6 a.m. every day, and I want to start my day that early. Can I turn on the washing machine? When can I vacuum? When can I turn on the music? How loud? Can I sing? (This is a lousy question, because Honey hates it when I sing. But if you give me permission, he'll just have to stand me. It's the law...)

When should I have insurance for my house? When should I have liability insurance?

How do mobile phones work here? How about internet?

I prefer to ride my bike on the sidewalks because I am not too skilled at the bike-riding thingy, and I fall often. But the other day a Polizist scolded me (auf Deutsch) because I was on the sidewalk... When may I, and when can I not ride on the sidewalk?

When I ride my bike (on the street or on the sidewalk), must I follow the flow of traffic? Or do bikes have different rules?

I really think you should make everyone have a bike-riding license... I could use the lessons.

How do the Deutsch react to Public Displays of Affection?

And your public transportation--my gosh! Would it kill you to explain how that works!? Where do I pay? Whom do I pay? How much?

You see... this is necessary. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but availability of the law (in a simplified manner) is necessary to make the law known. I was not born nor raised here, but I want to adapt to your culture, to your rules, to your people. I want your people to be my people. I want to be your people! (Mein Orientierungskurs fängt in eine Monat an.)

Please help me. I will more than gladly write a first draft for you. You don't need to give me any credit.

In any case, at the risk of sounding repetitive and ass-kissy, I really believe you're awesome. And I love your country. And your people. My people.

Sincerely yours, mit freundlichen Grüssen, ttyl, hugs and kisses,


PS: If you could also do something about the weather... make it warmer... hotter, if at all possible... that would be totally awesome. And please ask the people in the weather channels to stop saying, "The weather will be such, but it will feel like such." That makes no sense. Anything under 20°C is winter and feels like winter.


  1. Loved it prima, just love the way you write, when is your next book out?

  2. You are too funny. I truly enjoy reading your posts. Keep them coming!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Natal... ya puedo escribirte..!!!

  5. Welcome to the world of blogging, mami! :-)