Friday, May 27, 2011

Succes vs. Fail

Success: Riding my bike two days in a row to Uni and back, 8 km each way, 40 min. each way, almost flying in the down-hill path.

Fail: Riding down-hill so fast that I eat a bug.

Success: Eating a bug is like a protein-on-the-go-bar-with-wings-and-tiny-eyes.

Fail: The bug was still alive and flew out of my mouth.

Success: Being able to scratch my nose or take off my glasses or fix my hair while riding my bike. And not falling.

Fail: Being able to do that only once. The second time I lose my balance and fall. Also fail: Why do I have so many itches?!

Success: Riding down-hill (another hill) so fast that the wind blows my hair and my skirt and this half-naked-cold-freedom feels so so so good.

Fail: Riding down-hill so fast with such wind that I fall.

Success: Falling down with no cars behind, around or anywhere near me. No imminent death.

Fail: A bus filled with the German swim-team or some other team of hot, muscley, strapping men looking at me falling down. And not helping.

Success: They didn't laugh. Not that I noticed, anyway.

Fail: Having all of this happen in just one day. Before a test. And not having done my homework. And it's not even noon yet.

Success: Having the guts to do it all over again tomorrow. Also, not saying it happened to me...

Fail: Not saying it didn't...


Probable Fail: It will more than likely happen again.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Must we really be out with the old to be in with the new?

Who said we have to throw away the old to make space for the new? Whoever said that had a really small apartment with no storage capabilities, and/or really ugly old stuff.

I say we keep the old, and still make way for the new.

Of course I don't mean that for material things: There are few things in life that give me more pleasure than giving away/throwing away old stuff. You know that shirt you used to wear all the time when you were in High School? The one that is too tight or too short today (10 years later), and has a big rip on the side? Yeah, that one, the one you continue to refuse to get rid of, because it has "memories". Well, dude, the memories will remain. Your 10-year-old T-Shirt won't last one more wash. Stop wearing it "on Sundays" or "to work on the car", and don't expect to keep it as a "just-in-case-rag". Throw it away. And what about those jeans? Yeah, no. That rip on your crotch is not sexy - it describes who you are: too lazy or too poor to buy a new pair of jeans. Get rid of them. They, too, by the way, shall not become rags nor "work-on-the-garden" jeans. And those shoes, those shoes you bought with your first paycheck, those shoes that were so awesome and so comfortable, those shoes with the sole filled with holes... yeah, not even a homeless, shoeless guy would accept those. Throw them away! But if you have clothes and shoes that are just out-of-season, that you choose not to wear anymore, that are in good shape, please donate them! There are millions of people all around the world (yes, even in first world nations like Germany) who would be grateful to have a new shirt, even if it came out three spring-collections ago.

In any case, my point (the out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new-thing) has little to do with material stuff; I think we should be able to keep the old intangibles and still be able to bring in the new intangibles.

Like friends.

You see,  my last post (the one previous to this one) was about how much I miss my friends, and how I find them irreplaceable. They are, in fact, irreplaceable. There is only one Canuck in my life, and there will always only be only one Canuck in my life, regardless of how many Canadians I meet (Hey, Canuck, did you know that my cousin and her family live in Canada?!). But I actually got a very impressive bunch of responses to it. Yes, I miss my friends. But that does not mean that I don't have the hability (or the chance!) to make new friends here.

I've had to learn that I don't need to forget my old friends in order to have new friends here. I can have them both. I can appreciate them both. I can have fun with them both. I guess I will have to spend more time with my "new" friends due to geographical reasons, but I will do that with pleasure. I have also learned that I don't have to meet my friends every day for coffee; a simple "hi!" on a Facebook wall will do, or a comment on a Blog entry, or the occassional email updating Life Status. My friends, those who have seen me grow and those who have grown with me, with always be in heart. But my new friends, those who are slowly getting to know me (and to accept me, even though I am an obnoxious over-achiever) and are growing with me now, those will also  earn their places in my heart. Slowly, but surely. One can never be too careful one opening one's heart to strangers, right? But friends are never strangers. They kind of surprise you with simple tokens of appreciation and smiles at the right moment or hugs at unexpected times. Friends know when you need a little bit of sunshine in your life, and they are ready to shine bright for you.

So, here's my toast (at 6:33 of a rainy Kieler afternoon) to the Germans, and the other Ausländer, like me, in Germany, whom I've had the wonderful pleasure to meet. Here's to you, Germans and Ausländer in Germany. May we have a future filled with fun, drinks, music, hopefully some sun, and a million laughs.

Danke, Michael, für die Erinnerung! Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, Amigo!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Miss My Friends (this might just be my lamest post ever)

I miss my friends. I miss them so much. We had fun together, yes; but I have fun with my "German Acquaintances", too. We did stuff together, yes; but I do stuff with my "German Acquaintances", too. We used to talk very often, not to say all the time; but I talk with my "German Acquaintances" all the time, too. I miss my friends because they get me. I miss my friends because they are like me.

You see, I'm a geek. Or a nerd. Or a book-worm. Whatever you wanna call me, I'm that: I'm that girl who always does her homework, just because, well, you should do your homework. I'm that girl who does her homework in a clean sheet, just in case it needs to be handed in; and I'm that girl who uses colors to emphasize different topics. I'm that girl who takes awesome notes in class. I'm that girl who does not need to study for a test the night before, because she has been studying since the chapter began two weeks ago. I'm that girl who does not worry about whether or not the teacher explained the concept clearly enough, because she will come home to re-write her notes and study again and make sure she learns what was taught; and if she has questions, she will call people who will explain and clarify the problem. I'm that girl who is always early to class and leaves at the very end of the lesson. I'm that girl who always raises her hand to ask a question, and then one more, and then one more, and then one last one - and then one very last one. I'm that girl who complains when the teacher is late, or when the class was not deep enough, or when the material covered was not satisfactorily explained. I'm that girl.

And I like being that girl.

The thing is... my new classmates don't appreciate that girl. I learned (the hard way) the difference between people laughing with you and people laughing at you. It sucks. Honey asked, "But didn't that happen to you all the time when you were in high school and in university?" I said, "Well, no. So either I was not that girl back then, or at least people were very careful to laugh at me behind my back."

I miss my friends. I miss my friend Amanda, with whom I used to sit and talk endlessly about Southern literature (because I have no love for Thomas Hardy and she has no love for Gabriel García Márquez). I miss my friends from the Honors Program; I miss "wasting time", à la Phish, talking about intellectual and academic stuff. I miss being around people who actually think 80% is not a good grade; around people who are saddened by a 90%; by people for whom nothing under 100% is enough. I miss my friends, they were (are?) just like me. We understood each other, there was no laughing at, only laughing with. And, man, did we laugh! I miss the Honors Conferences, I miss the Honors Lectures, I miss the making of a thesis, the research, the investigation, the discussions. I miss going All ahead ful, aye! I miss thinking WWJD? I miss our smart inside jokes. I miss intellectual discussions, not Big Mac Index discussions.

Amanda, Lindsay, Will, Canuck, Ryan, even Lying-Cheating-Bear and the Lying-Cheating-Bear's-Helpers... Kat, Dave... Julie-Bitch, Dar-Dar... Bob, Rosy, Marilú... I miss you guys.

I guess that just confirms what I've been claiming for 6 years now: Augusta was the best time of my life.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Inappropriate questions can only bring inappropriate answers

We had the loveliest Skype-chat with Honey's sister and her husband. She's about 7 months pregnant and looks so cute and chubby, and her husband is so sweet: he talks to her belly and caresses it. They are such an amazing couple, such a real couple, such a successful couple. I envy them - in a good way. We're actually pretty good friends, the husband and I. We understand each other and our position as outsiders in what is a very close, tight-nit family that ALWAYS has a thought that must be shared and an opinion that must be voiced. Not to forget, they also hold the undeniable truth. But then again, I could very well be describing my family to an outsider, or more than likely, yours. Families are "interesting", to say the least. And all we can do is learn to love them in spite of themselves.

So anyway, we were talking and talking, quatsching, like the Germans say. About the weather, about our dinner, about cost of living in Peru and Germany and Colombia... and then, Mr. Husband says, "May I ask an inappropriate question?"

I totally knew where he was headed. We've talked about it before, him and I. In private. Without other members of "the Family" present. Actually, Honey and I have also spoken about it, in private. Without members of either of our families present. And I've thought about it - oh, god, how I've thought about it! I think I've reached that age, or my biological clock is ticking, or I just feel like it's the reasonable next step, or it would be a new adventure to undertake.

Or all of the above. But I've thought about it.

In any case, it's one of those situations with which I can do nothing but wait. And that is so not like me. I guess I could be all emancipated and liberated and "go Feminism" and do something about that, but that's also not like me. I want to be the "receiving" part of the situation and only  have one word to say - no explanations, no pleas, no bargains. Just one word.

Honey and I've spoken about it. And by that I mean I have stated the situation as I see it, and I have clearly stated my expectations and the "consequences" should my expectations not be met. Politely, of course. I wouldn't want to scare him or anything. Honey just kind of nodded. Actually, I kinda brought up that conversation in the middle of another big talk, which made that conversation seem completely secondary. Almost unimportant. But the point was made, nonetheless, loud and clear.

There is no correct answer to an inappropriate question posed at an inappropriate time to the inappropriate audience. I excused myself from the conversation with a lame explanation; Honey appealed to bad jokes and dark humor; his sister and bother-in-law didn't want to let it go (well, in all honesty, his sister was more uncomfortable than I was; it was mostly her husband who kept pushing!) and posed the same question with different words. Still, no straight-forward, honest answer.

But then again - inappropriate questions can only bring inappropriate answers.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Priceless?

Disposable Grill, with grilling materials and stuff: 2.99



Stuff to be grilled: 10.15



Sophisticated glasses to wear during a (cold) sunny day: 10.95


Enjoying a sunny (and windy) Sunday afternoon with Honey in our front yard, 
in picnic-style grilling, 
with (not all the way cooked, but anyway) good food... 







...priceless!

Identity Crisis

Honey and I, we're both Colombian - and we're very proud of it. I think we both keep somewhat strong accents, just to make sure we don't forget where we come from (which, in my case, is a pathetic excuse for not being able to properly pronounce the German sounds...). We eat mostly Colombian food (I cook now!), and we speak in Spanish amongst us.

However, we both live in Germany, and we have to get used to many things here - like the rules. Germans actually follow the rules. And that's cute. Civilized, too, but mostly cute. Also, the Germans like to do things themselves. Also cute. And the Germans like technology - which I think is just awesome.

So we went shopping today (which means, I got paid!). First, the mall. It's amazing how many foreigners there are in Kiel (especially this weekend: we're celebrating 100 years of the cruise Kiel-Oslo, and we are filled with Vikings!), and they are all in the Sophienhoff. You can walk by 10 different groups of people, and you can count at least 5 different languages. It really is extraordinary - and hard to grasp. Why Kiel? Why Germany, a country whose language is so hard to learn and properly speak? Anyway. We had a good time, and bought a bunch of unnecessary things that I, of course, needed to have.

After a couple of hours, Honey and I remembered we had been wanting to buy a new toilet seat, but the one we saw and loved when we were shopping for stuff for the new apartment back in January was like 40 Euros... completely out of our budget - and ridiculously expensive for a toilet seat, for Pete's sake!



So, anyway - we realized that today we had money, time and Lust, as the Germans say, so we went to a Baumarkt to buy the toilet seat. A Baumarkt is one of the few places in Germany where you will hardly find any foreigners, because we like to buy things already built (like Ikea stuff), or pay someone to do that kind of stuff for us... In a Baumarkt you can buy anything and everything you need to build anything and everything you want.

We went directly to the Bath section, and saw a very, very wide selection of toilet seats. Who would have guessed there was such a market. Sadly, the above toilet seat was not available. :-( But we did need a toilet seat, urgently, so we had to choose something. I won't go into details, but yeah... we really needed a new toilet seat.

And here is where our identity crisis set in.

We're Colombian, which means we always want the cheapest things, for a cheaper price and with an added discount. We will then continue to complain and bargain it down to even cheaper. Had there been toilet seats at the Euro Laden, my favourite place in Germany, I would have bought one, with or without the funny image. Leider nicht. We found that the cheapest toilet seat in the Baumarkt costs 12.99 Euros. That was ok-ish.

But then we went on to the "German" section, and saw the toilet seats for Germans: The seat magically falls down after the "business" is done, and makes no sound. Of course, when I say magically, I mean "automatically", "technologically". The toilet seat falls down slowly with a special mechanism that prevents it from making noise as it is being closed; it prevents it from slamming. So, it's hygienic because you don't need to be touching the seat thingy, and it's "decent", because it makes no noise. Also, it's expensive: 49.99 Euros. That was, again, above our expectations for a toilet seat, but this time within our budget.

So, what do we do?

Are we Colombian and thus buy the cheapest toilet seat?

Or are we German and invest in a technologically smart piece of furniture that is sure to make our lives better?

What would you do?

What do you think we did?