Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yes! The Germany diaries - First Impressions...

  • It is so, so spotlessly clean here. 
  • It is daylight till 9:30 pm. So bizarre, so lovely.
  • Everything is bigger than in India - people, dogs, the average beer bottle, bikes, pigeons.
  • You need to check the weather forecast everyday. At first I never got what the fuss was all about, but when they say it's going to be overcast or rainy? That also means you're going to bruise your skin from the cold if you don't dress accordingly. Maybe I exaggerate - but I get cold even in Indian winter. I have surreally sensitive skin.
  • Ooh, the sparrows too. FAT. 
  • Eggs shells are brown! Not terribly startling, but had previously seen said egg variety only on television.
  • And German television - It is so nice to have about 30 channels to watch in German, and not the one lone German channel as we get in India. Here, I feel like a ruler - changing channels at will to find German everywhere, not like in India, where you switch to Deutsche Welle and tuck the remote away meekly in a corner. It's like switching from Doordarshan to cable TV. Yes.
  • You can lay down on the grass and simply take in nature, or just read or do your own thing at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. And you don't have to worry about dog poo in the grass, or about perverts staring at you. Is a free world where everyone does their own thing (except dog owners, who must clean up after their canines. Haha).
  • I know I spoke about cleanliness already, but a special mention must be made of the toilets everywhere. People actually care about keeping things clean, they actually know the importance of clean surroundings. It's so sad to see total ignorance about this in India.
  • Ah. Oddly, as of now, I don't miss home at all. I am perfectly content without, for instance, domestic help (and God knows how frustrating that can be at times), and Goa comes to mind only with gentle triggers, like the sand at a work site reminded me of the beach, and the smell of Paprika powder is exactly how the main market at Margao smells like. I will miss Ganesh Chaturthi this year, for the first time ever, but I'm not going to think about that now. I'm simply going to take in whatever Germany has to offer. 
  • Oh, wait - just because you've done some levels of German does not mean that you'll be spewing it out with Germans you meet. For one - They. Speak. Fast. Their accents are so perfect and clipped and lovely-sounding, and it's just a little intimidating. On my way from Hannover to Berlin, I got the wrong compartment and lost my seat because apparently you're supposed to occupy your reserved seat within 15 minutes of the train starting (I know!). I was stuck between two compartments, which was still all posh as is not third world country. There were a couple of other Germans with accents so thick and they were speaking so fast, could only snatch some nouns, with no way of knowing exactly what they were saying. Used to be nodding and smiling stupidly at whatever they were saying to realize that I was being asked a question. But was fine, really. And, they can barely speak any English, so ha.
  • The thing that Germans are cold people? Total crap! All the Germans I have met until now have been so helpful (except a hefty lady with dark brown facial hair at the cash counter of a shop at the Frankfurt airport train station, who was a little rude when I asked her about my train. But then she helped me anyway - poor thing though, probably gets harassed by innocuous, broken German-speaking tourists all the time. Heh.)
  • And met this guy Thomas at the station in Hannover, who really helped my nerves, and with whom I spoke a decent amount of German, and who was one of the only people whose German I actually understood clearly. And we're in touch now. Love that a contact was made in this random manner.
  • They say that even if you speak a little German, the Germans will be friendly. And it makes total sense. You would be unable to communicate with someone who couldn't speak the same language, so obviously, how can you just be friendly without really even speaking to someone?
  • Clearly, I'm in an all-forgiving, nurturing, happy place right now, away from chaos and absorbing in a new culture, new weather, new hope.... And no matter what I'm doing here, no matter how mundane, it is marvellous just to know that I'm doing it here, in Germany, a place I've wanted to come to for a while. The magic of new possibilities in the air is intoxicating. Come join me, won't you?

Bis bald,
The Cyniqueen.