Some days I wake up happy, at peace with the world, and some days I want to hop on a plane, move to a deserted island where there will be an adorable little shack on the beach with a beautifully equipped kitchen (with an AGA!), a cute dog named Bruce (Matilda fans will know why I picked that name), a hammock between two palm trees in my backyard that is really just a wonderful sandy beach, no computers/tv/internet/phone, and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, waiting for me. Doesn’t that sound magical? But alas, I’m in Germany, land o’ people and culture I don’t always understand or appreciate.
I try and sometimes succeed at keeping and maintaining my positive outlook here, but it can be incredibly tough at times. Last week (actually every day I go grocery shopping here) I witness terrible manners. This woman was barreling through the aisles at the grocery store and hit me, which pissed me off because this happens damn near every time I go shopping, but what really got me is that she pushed this little girl learning to walk over in order to pick a container of fresh strawberries. The little girl fell, started crying and the mom didn’t see and went to her kid, while I just stood there death- staring at this 30-something woman who thought that was appropriate. Where are the manners? I don’t speak German well enough to make a scene so I left it alone disgusted. Later that day, I had to go to the Ausländeramt to pick up my new visa (yay!), and as I pulled open the door to exit, two burly men rushed through knocking me against the wall, no thank you’s or excuse me’s….
Maybe it’s a Bavarian thing, which is what I’ve been told, where they think it’s acceptable behavior to hit you, push you, and ignore your existence when they want something but I’m totally not digging it. The G-Man came home complaining (which is a rare thing for him) that he went to Galeria to buy a suit shirt, and was waiting in line when people just kept pushing him aside to cut him in line. He put up a fight, but I said, imagine how difficult it is for me with my limited German? In Edeka, I was patiently waiting in line when this older gentleman swerved his cart right in front of me. I said in German, “Uhh hello, I’m waiting here!” His response was, “I’m old, and I have things to do.” I replied, “Me too, and I’m a 4 month pregnant lady.” He angrily went to the back of the line. These people, seeing that you are a foreigner, will tell you anything to get one over on you thinking that you won’t do or say anything. But the troubling thing is, I don’t want to have to fight for my space in line or to just follow the rules. I’m really not a fighter, and for goodness sakes, if someone pushes my child in order to get to a thing of strawberries in a more timely manner, I might lose it. I cannot stand bullies and absent-minded unthoughtful people. This place is driving me bonkers!
Which really leads to my question to you, my audience of expats. Next month will be my 2-year German-niversary. I’ve gone through the ups and downs, and am still going through them, but I’ve adjusted enough to understand not everything can be the way I want it to be or think it should be based on my own cultural projections. But I think I’m going through something. I can’t have my baby shower, I haven’t had a wedding, I won’t see my friends and families for 18 months because I don’t make an income and we just can’t justify a trip home at this time even if it’s a solo trip, I can’t work at this point, I may never find a job in my field here (yes I’m whining!), I look and feel terrible, I’m nervous about the pregnancy, I’m nervous about raising a child in Germany while trying to give them part of the American culture and English language when very few people outside of the G-Man think this is important, I’m totally homesick and have cravings for American food I can’t find here, AND this all amounts to me feeling trapped. You know the stir-crazy and whiny kind of trapped. I don’t handle this well. So my long-winded question to you is; what on earth can I do? Any suggestions? How do I cope? I know all of this isn’t as bad as it seems, but it seems really bad at this moment. I could use some helpful and consoling words. Thanks for reading and not unsubscribing for my complainy-osity.