Alive on arrival in Germany

On Thursday I went to the registration office. After being seen I was almost immediately passed to someone else who spoke English. I could have filled in a form slowly, but not answer the questions in real time. Week one in Germany has come and gone, but I am now officially a resident.

The move is still a work in progress. This week our shipped stuff will arrive. I’m looking forward to having more than just a bed and a kitchen again. We will still need to fill in some of the blanks, but it will be good to having a desk, books and a place designed for sitting to sit.

I would like to be getting on with productive things, but I’ve been spending most of the time settling in and that’s ok. Moving without a solid foundation in the language (but a desire to get one) was always going to be hard. I have managed to go shopping and get food, even if it is more draining than it should be.

I have already been lightly mocked for my lack of German. I’d been told that the attendant at the laundrette would speak English. After going into the dry cleaners next door and being redirected, it turns out they didn’t and what I’d been asked to do was not the default option. After acquiring the relevant verb from the shop window (trocknen – to dry) and through saying yes/no and gesturing we were understood, but it was not graceful.

wildfirebird joined me when we collected the laundry and when asked if she spoke German replied “ein bisschen”. The attendant assumed that this meant good enough to share a joke over how bad my German was. Even with my “super Deutsch” I could tell it was well intentioned, but we couldn’t really join in the banter. Still, clothes were cleaned but we may use the self service laundrette next time.

These types of things are going to happen and are expected to happen, but I’m past the point of being overwhelmed by everything. I have learning resources prepped, some time set aside and a willingness to try. More importantly, my lack of German has not caused me to starve to death. They say that it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Now that will be interesting, I haven’t dealt with the medical system yet.

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The things we keep, throw away and remember

For the past month I’ve been putting things into boxes and sorting them. Moving involves a lot of that. This time I’m moving further than before and shipping has been the only sensible way to get stuff to the other end. This has made me more critical of what I keep and what I toss, making the proces both more cathartic and more stressful.

I’ve said a couple of times that I like moving. There’s the optimism of being in a new place. You know where most of your things are and it’s the tidiest that it’s ever going to be. I moved a lot as a student and I’ve mostly enjoyed the process. But stuff does accumulate and this time we’ve had furniture to deal with. Is this what being an adult is? It was a whole lot more complicated this time. I think I should revise that statement; I like moving in.

But very soon I will be moved in and shortly after that so will my stuff. I’m looking forward to a point in time where I can, again, refer to my position as settled. But even when I have been settled there have always been things that have changed. There were a life time of events that have lead up to this move. Some of these feel timeless and recountable, but others are ephemeral and become difficult to convey once their immediacy has been lost. Especially considering I’m moving to Germany I’d like to capture more of the confusion, the wonder and other moments of simply living as well as some of the bigger picture stuff.

Yesterday I met a friend for lunch and we wondered around Spitalfield’s Market looking at the antique and pseudo-vintage stuff that was there. While we were there we saw a poster for the film Pinocchio In Outer Space, a cross over I hadn’t expected. Silly as it is, the poster feels resonant with me off to a foreign land to become a real boy. This moment might have been lost to the ether if I hadn’t captured it today, even though our conversation has left me musing over some of the things that I might write about later.

I think I got all meta. A blog post about wanting to blog more is a bit self referencial, but that’s what I’m thinking about today. I have been asked to keep people informed of what I’m up to, and that’s a commitment I’d like to keep. So this is what I’ve been up to; packing mostly. Soon I move. Maybe I’ll use the flight to write about some more things I’ve been up to. But more likely, I’ll use it to sleep. I could do with more of that.

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