Well, here we are on Day Two of Mein First 30 Deutsche Days and I've already dropped the ball 50% of the time. Off to a great start!
We arrived in Germany bleary eyed and bushy tailed yeterday morning. Hollywood has done me a disservice. It turns out that the only time I've heard German is out of the mouths of movie Nazis and the language was a little ominous on my ears for most of the day yesterday.
The Man's coworkers picked us up at the airport and dropped myself, the kids and our luggage off at the hotel before carting him off for some initial paperwork and processing. We'll just lay down and close our eyes for a little while, kids, then we'll be up and at 'em! Ha ha ha. Four hours later, The Man came home and we woke up.
We then wandered around for a while, stopping to eat, pick up some food and generally gawk at our surroundings. You really don't realize how many of the little, tiny interactions and expectations that pepper your day are a product of your culture until you're suddenly operating under the proscribed interactions and expectations of somebody else's culture. It's fascinating, really!
For instance, German grocery stores (at least the one we went to yesterday) don't have bags or baggers. They sell bags, but typically prefer you figure out that you need them before you've rung all your items up and are just hanging around in the next person's way. Turns out, I prefer to figure that out at roughly the same time.
Also, you are expected to weigh up your own fruits and vegetables in the produce department and print out little stickers for each, displaying the weight and price for the cashier to ring up. Turns out, when your cashier doen't speak English and you don't speak German, that little expectation is not as easily figured out as you might think.
Yesterday was a little overwhelming in some ways and quite exciting in others.
Today, we ended up on post for most of the day, dealing with the typical Army beaurocracy that is completely within the realm of my known interactions and expectations. They are trying to force us to live on post, but we are fighting it and (I believe) holding the winning hand. In case you haven't dealt with the military's particular brand of red tape before, here's a little dose: the Housing Office casually informs us that had we shown up two months later, we'd be on an extremely long waiting list for on post housing, but as it is there are two (TWO!) apartments available and therefore we must take one. In other words, in two months they will have zero (ZERO!) trouble filling to absolute capacity, but prefer to operate as if they won't be able to fill those vacancies unless they force unwilling families to reside there against their wishes. WHY!? Why, I ask, WHY!? Who knows why, but I'll add that to my list of Things To Expound On Should I Ever Happen To Catch The Ear of An Extremely High Ranking Individual.
On the positive side, German is sounding more and more familiar and pleasant to my ear with each passing hour and has completely shed the initially threatening tenor. The houses that we will (WILL!) get a chance to look at as soon as we win this little battle are so very lovely and very promising! The food here is amazing. The people (once in possession of a valid reason to speak to you) are quite friendly and open. All in all, this seems to be a lovely country that we will really enjoy our time in!
Yesterday afternoon, we discovered a lovely park a few blocks behind our hotel. It was designed explicitly to give American Moms heart attacks and the kids loved every minute of it.
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