Saturday, October 29, 2005

Tears and tantrums

The last fortnight has been so bloody stressful that I am relieved it is over. Two people have left the school- one voluntarily and one fired- and the pulse rates have been high all week. Ghastly. Thankfully a few air-clearing conversations have taken place and I hope to god it is all over and things will return to normal, or at least pretend to be normal.

Whatever that is.

The good thing to come out of it all for me is that is made me realise how much I was enjoying it here and how I don't want to leave just yet. I like staying out till six in the morning and sleeping all day on the weekends. I love riding my bike everywhere. And I especially love people telling me my German is really good.

I started working at the submarine factory last week and it's really fun, once I get over the fact that I am now teaching bankers and military suplliers and have totally sold-out. Oh well. Someone suggested to me that I simply teach them wrong.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

A world of pictures

Check out the fab Oktoberfest piccies- the fab foursome are me, Manuela, Art and Art's mate John. Mat and Art are showing off the lovely must-have Oktoberfest rainwear. Also featuring random italians.

Monday, October 17, 2005

War graves

Today it is freezing and I decided to visit the war cemetary in Kiel. I stumbled across a Commonwealth Graves section, wide rows of white headstones interspersed with roses and overshaowed by a large white cross. There were lots of New Zealanders buried there and even a few Australians. It's just so odd that they are buried here, in the land they were fighting against. One of the gravestones said, we miss you Daddy from Mummy and Jennifer, and it just struck me how sad it all was, all that death. They were all so young, my age or younger, and they never got the chance to grow old.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Chick flicks

Last night Manuela made some very delicious Borek and we had two of my American collegues to dinner (Trent actually lives with us). Somehow the topic got onto chick flicks and how they weren't worth watching. From somewhere deep within me my latent teenage feminist self rose from the ashes- excuse me? what did you just say? Needless to say they were a little frightened. I haven't felt the need to rant about sexist behaviour for years, I felt all young and outraged again.

It just amazes me that so-called grown men can still obsess about gender to the point where they are forbidden to watch a film because it will challenge their sexuality. The topic of toilet seat raising was also mentioned, at which point you might as well bring out Men are from Mars and Women are From Venus and hold a reading.

Besides which, Thelma and Louise is a fucking great film.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Oh Angie

Good god, Germany is going to have a female East German christian democrat chancellor who no-one wants. This is apparently what democracy looks like- a country torn apart by two seperate ideologies. This seems to be a trend- is there a democracy in the world where the ruling party is actually wanted by the majority of voters?

Apart from Australia that is. Oh god.

Today I am sick with a mild cold that won't go away, but apart from that I'm feeling very well. The autumn here is unexpectedly beautiful- the trees are shades of orange and red and the streets are beginning to be covered with leaves. It's not too cold and the sun is shining and it's all a little like a page out of a travel catalogue. On the weekend I bought some gorgeous roses and they're sitting on my windowsill with a back drop of read and green leaves.

The other day I found out that the American for cracking onto someone is quite similar to the German. In Amiland (German for America- not entirely without negative connotations) they say to mack on someone. In Germany it's jemandem anmachen. Sometimes I feel like I am adrift between two completely exotic and bizarre cultures- and then I imagine what it would be like being somewhere outside the Judeo-christian Western world and realise I'm actually still quite within my comfort zone.

Last night I saw a movie about a forty year old virgin- it was very funny and also kind of sad.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Es war total krank

Where the hell do I begin? The last four days have been like some sort of arty road trip movie that begun with my birthday and will end with a very badly taught class this afternoon, but with no resolution of anything. In the middle some things happened, it rained constantly and I had (am still having) a crisis about my national identity.

My birthday was actually quite lovely- I got three packages and a big present of choccis from my lovely housemates to open and spent most of the day on the phone to home. Then I had an evening class, who are really lovely and it went really well, and I even got a bunch of freshly picked sunflowers from a student. I got home to an even bigger, more bizarre bunch of flowers from work which are still sitting rather incongrously inn a bucket n my floor, since we don't have a vase big enough for them. I have never received a bunch of flowers with scaffolding before- and berries to boot. Crazy.

Then I went out with a few people to drinks and we smoked a hookah with apple tabacco. But we couldn't have too late a night because the next day was the fun fun fun ten hour drive to Munich in the rental BMW with its own navagational system. I was terrified of driving but cooly suggested it as if all I had even wanted was to drive at 170 kms an hour the wrong way down a highway for two hours. I won't say I was the world's best driver, but I did it and I now feel much better about driving at high speeds- it seeems so normal here that going slower would almost be more dangerous.

Finally we got there and went straight to the ground which were kind of like the Easter Show but with huge beer tents instead of produce. We waited in line for two hours and then gave up becuase the tent was full and sat in the beer garden getting hit on by Italians with bleached goatees (I say we, it was mostly Manuela who has the kind of flirting ability that could inspire wars) and drank enormous glasses of beer which only cost about forteen Australian dollars each. Oh and we ate giant pretzels.

The best bit of the whole weekend for me was then going on the flying chairs, my favorite ride in the whole world, and spinning around high above the showground, watching the upturned faces and the flashing lights, all a little drunk of course, and just tasting the merriment in the air.

The camping however, was not so fabulous and this is where my crisis came into play- the camping ground was full of Australians , drunk, young, loud, obnoxious and also drunk, mostly from London I gathered and although at first I was thrilled to hear the accent and chat with people I very quickly began to cringe and start to speak German. It was awful. I mean, it's one thing to bag out on Australia when you live there, when you are surrounded by clever, amazing people, but to be in Munich and to realise that when I tell people here where I'm from, this is what they see, was hideous. And by the end of the weekend I had decided that there wasn't an uglier accent in the world, and that the way we speak was in itself so childish and simple: show us your tits love, what a wanker, as funny as fuck.

However, I am feeling now a little like a child who has had too much red cordial so perhaps the feeling will dissipate. I don't want to be embarrassed about being from Australia.

On Sunday I walked around a bit and looked at Munich, and because the weather was so bad I went to see the new Bill Murray film called Broken Flowers. Very appropriately, it was about a crisis of identity. Very thoughtful and beautiful but also very slow.

I've also been reading Dead Europe which is resonating with how I'm feeling so much it's scary. Just now I read:

-You've got a child's hand, Isaac. Even the most hardened Aussie has these hands. You know that's what they call Australians here? Children.

And I wonder if it's just a New World thing, as Matthew said today. What is it about us that makes us so childlike compared to here?