Monday, November 28, 2011

Dear Santa, send me a maid!

Dear Santa,

I hate being a housewife. I do. I really, really do. And I realize how unorthodox it is to begin a "Dear Santa" letter with a statement of hatred, but I just need for you to understand how important my first world problems are, and thus help me by sending me a maid for Christmas.

If you're going to send THIS maid,
make sure you let me know so that I can send Honey
 far, far away from home during her working hours!

Santa, I hate being a housewife. I love Honey, though he has not yet made me his wife, so maybe I am not technically a housewife - perhaps next year I will ask for a big rock on my ring finger. But look, Santa, look at how pressing this maid issue is: I need a maid more than I need to be legally married!

Santa, God blessed -and simultaneously cursed- me with great attention to detail. Which means that a task (like washing dishes or folding laundry) that would take the average housewife 15 to 20 minutes, takes me 30 to 40 minutes. Because it has to be done just right, it has to be perfect. And since I don't always have the time to invest in mundane tasks (I mean, who needs clean panties anyway?!) because I have to study for my beloved Masters, then I leave the task for later. Or for tomorrow. Or for the day after tomorrow. Or until I have gone commando for two days straight and realize that I really, really need to do laundry.

Santa, my kitchen is dirty and my bathroom has a particular pee-stench that I have been unable to remove. And by "unable to" I of course mean "unwilling to". EW! I don't want to get down on my hands and knees and scrub. I don't want to get my unmanicured hands dirty with detergents and stuff. I don't want to have the smell of latex gloves to avoid the stench of disinfectant.

Santa, I WANT A MAID! And you see, because I am so magnanimous, I am even willing to accept the maid with the bill. I mean, I will pay for his/her services. And I will pay well! I will stop eating Berliners, I will down-size Honey's side of the Christmas Wish List (my Christmas Wish List includes necessary items, such as a black coat and furry shoes. I mean, who can live without those two items?!), and I will pay for the maid.

Santa, I need a maid. Pretty please. That is all that I ask of you this year. I need a maid. I want a maid. This simple little wish will not only help the German economy (I will be incrementing the job market), but it will also help end my first world problems. Which is funny, because I only have this first world problem because I am a third world person, where maids are part of the family.

Santa, a maid. Please.

With love,

--Nat


PS: World Peace and an End to Hunger would be cool, too.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ich bin ein Berliner

There are so many things wrong with that phrase. The first one being, I am not a jelly-filled doughnut, although I do eat so many of them so often, I might as well be. Also, I am more than three hours away from Berlin, so if I were to be some sort of German I would be a Kieler, not a Berliner. And no, "Kieler" is not funny, and no, it does not sound like "Killer". Long and short vowels are there for a reason. In addition to the previously stated, I would never say "Ick", like the famous person said it, nor would I say "Ish", like the foreigners say it. I would use a perfect "Ich", thus actually reinforcing my point:

I am a German. I found this out as I was trying to make a point in two different classes last week.

In the first class, American 20th Century Short Fiction, I was supporting my claim that there is a European-settler-vs-Indigenous-People trend in Hemingway's "Indian Camp". I mentioned how the doctor, Nick's father, Nick and Uncle George all "cross over" to the Indian camp and go take care of an Indian woman giving birth. Upon hearing her screams, the doctor, Nick's dad, tells Nick that he need not hear them, for her screams are not important. And here is what I said: "It is a very clear reference to you people coming over to my land, to my continent, and taking command of my people."

Because I am totally indigenous, right?

In the second class, Remember The Alamo, I claimed that although Santa Anna was well known for his pleasure and desire of war and dominion, we could not ignore the fact that the Americans had come over and pushed "my people" to the other side of the border, thus wanting to take control of a land that had originally belonged to "us".

Because I am totally mexican, right?

At some point in between the two classes the issue got mixed (because of race, the train of thought is easy to follow) with black people and slaves and all that stuff. To which I appropriately mentioned, that "my people" had been mistreated by The White Man for centuries.

Because I am totally black, right?

My teacher includes me when counting the Germans, she (actually, they both do) include me in the collective "we". "We" symbolizing Germans, Europeans, The White Man in general. And they do so because I am white. Very white. As white (whiter?) as the Germans that are around me in both of my classes. I am educated following the western educational system, which is different from that which one would expect of an indian, a mexican or a black person back in late 19th - early 20th century America.

But more than that, beyond the preconceptions that Europeans might have of "my people" (whoever "my people" are), I follow all the preconceptions "my people" have of Germans: I am on time, always, if possible early. I am prepared, always, if possible even further than expected. I am serious, always, if possible with some wit here or there. I wish I could say I was also tall and green-eyed and blond - I am working on the blond thing.

I am a German. I dislike what the Germans dislike and like what the Germans like (except for the Rotkohl thingy...). I think like a German. I try to act like a German. I include myself in the German collective "we". I hang out with Germans. I spend time with Germans. I try to talk like the Germans do (that might take a while longer than expected...).

I am a German. Ich bin ein Berliner.

Monday, November 14, 2011

27 cm / 10 in

On my way back home one day last week, my mom told me a very sad story: a friend of hers from highschool, one of her very best friends, was going to go through her second chemotherapy session on that very moment - breast cancer. Terrible news, and scary, too, because it could have been my mom. Or me. So I informed Honey that I would not be going home for lunch, and changed my plans and my schedule - something that the very German me does not do easily. I decided I would help her. Instead of going home, I went to the hairdresser and cut 27 cm (a little over 10 in) of hair.

That was my hair. I had let it grow out for a little over a year.

I cut off 27 cm! That's a little over 10 inches in American.

A friend of mine had recently told me about Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that helps people with hair-situations due to chemo. I looked into a similar possibility in Germany and upon finding none, decided I would mail my hair to the LOL people.

I was going to make an anonymous, selfless doantion. I was counting my blessings in how many people I know that DON'T have cancer. Sadly, my counting was interrupted by my mom's friend. I will make my donation on her behalf. I have no idea if she'll actually get my hair, or who will eventually get my hair, or if my hair will be viable (though I did follow all the instructions). I don't know if she will live. I don't know if this "matters" or helps at all.

But it's the only thing I can do from over here. I have no money to donate, I don't run in marathons, I have no time to be there holding her hand (geographical time, I mean), and I want to do something more than just send a sympathetic email and a couple of nice BBMs. I want to do something. And not just for her - I want to do something. I want to actively participate in this fight against cancer. No more cancer, for anyone. Not even for Hugo Chavez, no, not even for evil people like him. I want to do my share in showing God and the World that I think cancer sucks!

I still don't know if that helps. I still don't know if that meant anything. I don't know.

But I do know that I would very much appreciate it if some random person somewhere in the world cut off 27 cm of her hair to help out my mom. Or me.

So I did.

I now look blonder, fatter and older. But that's ok. It will grow back. And when it does, I'll cut it and donate it again.



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

German train of thought

A few days ago, we were in class discussing issues of culture and cultural studies (just as a side note, I am so German now, that I can't help but automatically type Kultur - großgeschrieben und alles!). You need to understand that I find myself in Germany, surrounded by 12 other Germans (girls in this case, plus the male teacher), and of course the most obvious examples in trying to define and explain culture come from German culture. And wouldn't you know it: Even the Germans consider their punctuality a German characteristic of their German culture! I like German honesty. I mean, I would never describe me and my people as "unpunctual", although we most definitely are.

So there we were, talking about how the Germans are punctual and how that defines them because the Germans are punctual and punctuality is important and that important characteristic defines them and their culture because punctuality is a trait that shapes a cultural habit which in turn also makes for culture and blah blah blah - I mean, seriously: I. GET. IT. The Germans are obsessed with time. I like that about these people. But seriously - must we really repeat the reiterated redundancy? (Did you like my alliteration? It was almost onomatopoeic...) And as the Germans were going on and on about the freaking punctuality crap, I spaced out thinking about how unnecessary it was to go on and on about the freaking punctuality crap, when I suddenly heard,

"Ja, Massenmörder."


And I was like -

Dude, WTF? How did we switch from punctuality to - wait - 


And then I realized I was no longer thinking in my inside voice in my head. I sat up and kinda shrieked,

"Wait - what? Massenmörder, that means mass murderers, right? How in the world did we switch from being punctual to being mass murderers?"

Yup. There you have it. The switch had been made and it was in the appropriate context with appropriate flow and it made sense and was (though at the end deemed unreasonable) reasonable. Because the Germans can switch from punctuality to mass murderers like that (insert finger-snapping action and sound).

That is German train-of-though for ya.