We move into our house in the morning. I’m not going to lie, after two months in hotel rooms… I’m more than looking forward to stretching out my toes. Just kidding, that was a weird thing to say. But really, I do kind of feel like it would be a nice thing to do, provided you are in an area with more space than 17 closets added together.
Today we stopped by our “Haus” to see the new paint colors and help the landlady clean. Our landlady is pretty fabulous. She is the kind of person you always want to hug. She’s about a foot taller than me and has an easy smile set under the most expressive eyes you may have ever seen. The first few days we knew her we tried to sprach back and forth in our very limited German and her very limited English. Those conversations consisted of myriads of awkward facial expressions, animated hand gestures and a whole lot of moments where the only thing you can do is bite your lip and blink one eye as you scratch your head and wonder.
Then suddenly, a very strange thing happened. I asked her what her name was (I know, I should have known it by this point… but really... there’s quite a few things I should know by now… I mean, being 23 years old and all that), She said “Manuela.”
I said “Manuula?”, as I unsuccessfully tried to fake a German accent.
Then she said “Manuela…shpanish.”
I sighed under my breath wishing that not only her name was Shpanish. As I sighed I said in a defeated tone “Puedo hablar en espanol.”
Suddenly her expressive eyes almost popped out of her head and landed on the table (just kidding, that was a gross exaggeration. Speaking of, I was told recently by someone who knows me kind of well… well, pretty well…. actually, I’m married to him, anyway-- he said I sometimes exaggerate. In a voice of rushed offense I said “ I NEVER exaggerate. NEVER, not once in my life”. We changed the topic, but I was still thinking about it. A moment later he asked me if I knew the meaning of a German word on a road sign. I immediately replied “Yes. I’ve always known what it means… since I was baby… or at least since I was born.” Then I smiled to myself… perhaps exaggerating is more fun, actually it’s like 65 billion times more fun.
But, just so you all don’t thing I’m a load of BS (what does that even stand for? Just kidding, I know, but really, I was just wondering if anyone would post it in a comment below), I’ve decided that with every new gross exaggeration I decide to implement into my daily life (for entertainment purposes only), I will also include a disclaimer, just in case you seriously were wondering if I did something 25 billion times. As for those who already think that I am a load of BS… never mind, I couldn’t think of anything painstakingly witty to say here (but just imagine I just punched you in the face). Back to my story.
Her eyes didn’t actually pop out of her head, but they did appear to visibly enlarge during a moment of surprise before retracting back to normal measurements congruent with relaxed and common facial expressions.
Then she said “HABLAS ESPANOL??? “ you get the story… since that second we have been carrying on like long lost Amigas, or gossiping Tias on the front porch on an sunny afternoon.
Tonight we cleaned the house and I was thinking about a couple things as I washed the toilets (Yep… too much info… my best quality. Stick around and I might even make you sick), but mostly, I was thinking about Americans. Since we’ve been here in Germany, I’ve heard quite a few sentences that resembled the following;
“Bla blab bla bla bla… like an American.” (don’t forget to insert the German accent).
Right, I know what you are thinking. The Blab bla bla part of the sentence went something like “I want to be the coolest person in the world… like an American”, or maybe “ I would like to be really smart.. like an American”.
Well, if that’s what you were thinking, you’re wrong. Not just a little bit wrong either. All the sentences I’ve heard so far ending with “like an American” started with “the idiot drives…”, and “that woman cleans….”, and “that fat kid eats….”. and on and on.
Pretty sad huh? Since when have we been culturally recognized for being grease eating, absent minded and inconsiderate driving, ignorant shopping, uneducated, energy wasting, lazy housekeepers?
Probably for a while now. But really, can I just say one thing? Or maybe a couple? Who’s keeping track? You probably are, especially now that I made such a big deal about it. Anyway, we might have a tendency to be tardy, we might over indulge in unhealthy foods and under indulge in basic yet foreign ideas like well, walking for instance, or a strange, orange colored, cylindrical shaped vegetable called… what was it? Carr-ut? Also, we might not score very high educationally (only in case we were comparing our school standards to a game of golf. If that’s the case, I would imagine that we would do quite well in racking up a significant amount of points), we might have a hard time getting used to the idea of turning the water off for half the your shower, and we sometimes might forget to do the following : use turn signals, turn off the lights, clean the window tracks, respect other’s cultures, look around before buying, and be “polite”.
But let’s not get too caught up in the bad aspects of our lovely land. We’ve definitely got a few things going for us. #1, we are confident. #2, we are somewhat ignorant. I’ve decided as a general rule of life, if correctly applied, and with properly balanced ratios, ignorance and confidence can get you pretty dang far in life if you ride them right. It really is bliss.
And tomorrow? I’m taking a bath, a very American bath. After that I’ll work on conserving water, oil and electric like a true German ( a skill I have much hope of mastering—mostly because I’m terrified of getting a quadrillion dollar bill in the mail at the end of the year).
*that was an exaggeration, JUST in case you believed me and were actually a bit concerned.
Back to cleaning toilets, the last renters really did clean like Americans. I think I’m going to start saying that… maybe it will make people think I speak German better than I actually do. Problem is… I don’t know how to say that in German. Anyways, It’s pretty gross really. What else is on my mind? Other than the nasty toilet that I’m kneeling in front of? Today I feel sick.
I don’t have the flu or anything that can spread. Unfortunately the sickness that I have today is not contagious. I can’t pass it on at will to a deserving and unsuspecting target by licking their drinking glass in an attempt to not suffer alone or find some kind of crude comfort in making others miserable as well. No, today, I am sick with something called stupidity, and I alone must bare the burden of it’s effects. I would try to get you to feel sorry for me, a little pity usually seems to make people feel better right before they yarf… (yes, that is a somewhat new word… my sister and I made it up a few years ago… it’s a little bit funnier to say than it’s overused cousins, “puke”, “barf” and “throw up”), but you shouldn’t pity someone for doing something stupid. *Not to be confused with pitying someone for being stupid. That is a completely different topic, one that varies greatly due to situational differences and exceptions, in which cases, it is often very acceptable to offer pity. It’s kind of like the difference between a credible person, a semi-credible person, and an edible person…they may sound similar, but all have totally different meanings and connotations, and when used incorrectly can potentially cause severe confusion, or even acute fear in the person you are talking to or about). I am sick, because I did something stupid. Here’s the story:
I’m allergic to gluten. I haven’t always been allergic to gluten, but after contracting a rare and serious mosquito born disease (that’s a really long story, one I’d rather not go into, but let it suffice to say, it may have had something to do with a type of stupidity, mixed with some bad luck, bad timing, and a beautiful miracle, bottom line? GET IMMUNIZED!), I can no longer eat it. If I do, I feel like I have the flu for about 3 days, and then for another 2+ weeks I have headaches and stomach aches. Here is where the smart person would say “Oh, if that happened to me, I’d never, ever eat gluten again.” And here’s where I ask the smart person “HAVE you ever tried to go without gluten for even a day?” Gluten seems to be in almost everything (not an exaggeration), and sometimes, when the amazing smell of German bakeries, Italian pizzas, and heavenly crepes fill the air, I get to feeling sorry for myself. Last week, in such a moment of self pity as described above, I bit into a perfectly toasted slice of Italian garlic bread. Just a moment of weakness? Well, I didn’t stop there. Since I figured I was going to be sick anyway, I decided to order some pizza as well. So now, here I am (conveniently enough, leaning over a toilet bowl) and the glory of the taste of the stupid toast has long since been forgotten, and I am left here to nauseously contemplate the lasting effects of my own stupidity… when will I learn?
The good news is, we will have 2 urinals in our house! Now that I’m reading what I just wrote, I’m not sure why I labeled that as “good news”( and I certainly don't know where the exclamation mark came from)… I really don’t care much for urinals. Not that I’ve ever used one (although, everything is funnier at 2am), but my husband on the other hand, has been pretty excited about them. I would like to say we picked this house because it was a good fit for us, but I’m highly suspicious that my husband’s interest in the house and overall motives were fueled by the excitement of the two, strange looking porcelain objects hanging from the walls that further segregate the male and female race by magnifying the glory of man’s ability to more quickly and more easily pee… all while standing up.