Remember zweite Ankunft und StüMa

So I made it back to Germany and here I am.

I meant to write an entry detailing what I was going to be doing before I left, but things went far too fast for me, if I’m honest.

So today’s Wednesday and I’ll write up what’s happened recently in my life, so that people can stop asking me questions. In keeping with things I promised myself in the past – and pretty pertinent to this part of my life – I’m going to try and keep things as factual and non-emotional as possible, because that’d just be too open and awful and OpenDiary-ish and we’re all over that thank-you.

Since I got back from Syria, I’ve slowly been getting myself into the job/internship search. Things went pretty badly to begin with: I was emailing companies and schools that I didn’t really want to work in, but was desperate to find reason enough to come back to Germany and start up here again with the people I know here. I got pretty excited about a company called “Die Sprach Profis” (easily googlable), which has an office in south Heidelberg, but, after having chased up the woman who works in the other branch of the company in Waldkirche (miles away), I finally got a reply telling me there’d be no point because the office here in HD was tiny anyway. I didn’t get any replies from any of the schools I’d emailed either, except the Heidelberg International School, which told me I wasn’t qualified enough (I didn’t really want to be in an English-speaking environment anyway).

Then I got pretty depressed about not being able to find anything and worrying that my whole life was over and that I’d ruined everything and I’d find nowhere in all of Germany that would allow me back in, never mind in Heidelberg.

Then I made my merry way across to the Job Börse of HD University and found myself confronted with 70 pages of job/internship offers, stretching as far back as 2007. I leafed through them all, tabbing what I thought was interesting and copying/pasting what was a pretty vague query-email, changing the requiredz and leaving in the basix.

I eventually found myself looking at a page written by the Theater Orchester Heidelberg, which is the town-run theatre and orchestra company, hosting a total of 5 different performance houses (one of which is round the corner from where I was (and still am/will be) living). Small butterflies in stomach.

So I wrote off to them, with a non-copy/paste email and lots of chatty German, but staying strictly in the Sie-form (polite version of ‘you’).

Long story short: I’m working for them now.

I’m an intern in the Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit (commonly the “ÖA”) and our daily responsibilities including gathering info from the regional and national newspapers and presenting each story that’s relevant to the House on appropriately-sized sheets of paper (called the Pressespiegel), then giving this thing out to the various places that need to see it (so it’s in an internal way of keeping tabs on what’s been said about the place in the press). Other tasks including helping maintain all the publicity side of things and hanging up posters and distributing flyers. It’s all pretty basic, but the best thing about all of it is I’m speaking German all day, every day. To the point where I really am thinking that I’m going to have to do more English speaking (like… actively), because I miss being able to think quickly so much.

Having said that, twice in the past two days, German natives have been starstruck-shocked that I’m not a native: firstly, last night after a quick #7 from Tiger and Dragon (which is a sweet-ass Chinese in the Carré – and I LOVE the #7 (to the point where I dreamt about it, when I was in Syria)), Sarah and I went to Rewe (supermarket) to get some supplies and, speaking in English as we were when we got to the checkout, the woman on the checkout, having scanned my items, to me it was 10-Euros-something in English. I looked at her – those closer to the German-speaking me might know that I absolutely hate being spoken to in English by someone who speaks German when they know I speak German (in her defence, she didn’t know that) – and asked her what the price of the plastic bags was, in German obviously. She said, “oh!” and carried on her exposé about the bags. Later, when conversation about plastic bags had died down, I said, “I have to admit though, you have a very good English accent” (still in German). She thanked and asked where we came from and I said, “we’re both English.” She looked at us in an I-didn’t-hear-you way, so I asked, “Where we’re from?” she, “yes,” me: “We’re both English” whereupon she sat bolt upright and put up her hands in shock.

The second occasion was today in the bakery I always go to at the train station. I was trying to pay exactly and still don’t have numbers down in this language yet (still can’t get my head to expect and correctly compute the digits being before the tens) so I had to keep changing how much I was giving her and I said, “sorry, I still have to think about numbers in English.” She looked at me, cleanly a much quicker girl than the Rewe-employee, and said, “But I didn’t know you were English. One wouldn’t notice.” Which made me smile and we had a small chat about that – my colleagues from ‘work’ (… lol) then accused me of flirting (on the flirting at work topic, I’ve already been outed here – another story).

So that’s a bit of an aside.

I’m still getting emails these days from people I’d emailed before asking me to send of my documents, but I’m pretty happy here. I hope it won’t get boring towards the end (I’ve told them I’m staying until the end of July, by which time I should have a pretty good idea of what’s going on, as well as some pretty impressive German skillz – and, actually, the email address for the office that’s run by us interns will be renamed to my name, which’ll be nice. People’ll know who I am and everything!).

On the domestic charge, I’m currently crashing in the place I lived in previously, my wonderfully yellow-painted room now filled by the returned Janni. This entails me sleeping in Torben’s room, who’s sleeping in Ami’s room, until Helena moves out, then Torben’ll move into Helena’s room and I into Torben’s. Make sense of that, if you can. It’s currently a smidge annoying that I don’t have any space of my own and I am literally living out of my suitcase, but that’s not a problem. It’s super nice of them to let me move back in like that, with next to no notice, so I’m grateful on all fronts.

I am, however, super, super tired and still haven’t caught up on my 9 hours’ travelling from Sunday. I got in pretty late and then had to start here pretty early, so it’s all been go-go-go since then. And people want to see me in the evenings and I end up not getting to sleep for a while because of this or that or the other.

On that topic, I can confirm that I do have a boyfriend. Facebook friends of mine will have already seen and, hopefully, liked this. Can’t say too much about it because of the emotion-boycott mentioned previously, but assume super-goods or ask for more info (given on request).

What else is there? I’ve been thinking about things to put in this blog for ages and now I’ve come to it, things are just escaping me.

Let’s be hyper British and talk about the weather.

That’s actually a bit of a weak link into something I do want to talk about, but thought I’d make the most of being British, especially given how not-good it is of late.

Germany certainly does feel a smidge different. Everything’s all happy and sunny and, in places, a bit sticky (weather-wise) and the evenings are cool enough to walk around in your t-shirt without problems. Walking home is a sweaty affair and the big boots I’m insisting on wearing make for smelly feet. But that’s not really the issue, other than the fact that I’m shocked that Heidelberg could change so much in the small amount of time that I’ve not been here (it was still pretty cold and snowy when I left (in fact, the day I left, when Maz took me to the airport, there was snow everywhere! We definitely thought we weren’t going to make it all the way to Frankfurt).

The point is: I’d sort of expected it all to slot back into place and be like I’d never left. And, well, it is. I mean, it is. But it’s also not. There are annoying things about Germany that I’d completely forgotten, things that’d been caught by the auto filter that is my germanophile of a brain. These things don’t have names, so I can’t describe them much at all other than abstractly saying things like “the smell” and “remembering to go shopping” and “washing machine” and other things like that. All things I’d’ve had to deal with anywhere else in the world (that makes it sound like Heidelberg’s a smelly place and that’s definitely not what I mean at all – I just mean getting re-used to the smells I’d got used to before).

So it’s a bit weird being back and having the same old surrounding. It’s most weird, to be honest, when I’m walking somewhere that I haven’t been since I’ve been back yet. Like – because I know my way around the whole city pretty easily, when I do end up going to places on the way to somewhere else (the somewhere-else having already been visualised in my head), I’m shocked to find they’re marginally different: a different feel, a different smell, slightly different lighting (I’m v aware I haven’t seen Heidelberg in April before).

So that’s that.

On the topic of whether or not I’m having more self-analysis on my relationship with the languages I’m learning: I’m definitely doing well with German. More than once a day, I find myself literally cracking up with joy and rapture at the way the language works or find myself just smiling at a sentence someone has said, even if the content of the thing is pretty benign or empty (learnt a phrase that fits here: die gähnende Leere (the yawning void)). So that’s nice.

I’ve brought my Teach Yourself Polish book (even though the font-face reminds me a lot of the time that I tried to teach myself Turkish and ended up hating that too – call me fickle or call me a woman and sing it in Italian) and its appropriate CDs with me so that I can sit down and work on that, but the job doesn’t really permit much time to do anything. It is the first week though, so that’s all due to change. I’ve managed to get myself Wednesdays off, which will definitely allow for some time with friends and doing some Polish and otherwise doing things I want to etc.

So that’s all. If you’ve got questions, put’m in or email me (love getting emails) and I’ll do my best to answer. I’m not all that conscious of things I’ve missed out and just know that I owe my blog some <3. Now it is done.

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One Response to “Remember zweite Ankunft und StüMa”

  1. Lia Says:

    Hi, Daniel! I heard you were back! Now we can have our IceQueen KAL (let the uninitiated figure that out).

    I just got back from Abu Dhabi–a visit to the friend I told you about. Very weird place. It was nice in many ways–I’m glad I went–but something like living between Miami Beach and Singapore (not that I’ve been to either of those places). Like being in a soap bubble.

    I hope that you’ll be at the Walfisch Saturday, or one of these Saturdays. It is true that we speak English most of the time, but you say you need practice ;).

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