Thursday, February 25, 2010

Miss and Don't Miss

Thanks to Facebook I have had the luxury of being in touch with dozens of people I haven't seen in years and may likely never see again.  Yet it is nice to be a small part of their lives and they, a small part of my life.  I list this blog for facebook friends to check out if they so choose.  I decided soon after arriving in Germany that starting a blog would be a fun way of communicating to a mass of people at one time (mainly family).  I tend to be an efficient person.  Not to mention, I throughly enjoyed the thought of communicating at least with our families through this blog. 
It was nice to hear from a semi-distant relative....someone in the category of: "I know our relation, I have met a few times before, remember meeting her Dad a few times, but don't really know her".  Steph is my second cousin and is one of the people I enjoy being in contact with on facebook cuz who knows if when we will "see" each other.  Steph wrote a nice note on my 'wall' wondering if our adventures in Germany were over.  Very a good way :) 
We have been in Germany almost 9 months.  I really can't believe it.  Living here still feels so foreign....well, yeah.....But I was really hoping to feel more 'at home' by now.  There are lots of things I miss tremendously about living in the states, but there are many things I do not miss.  I started compiling a list of these things a few months ago...

Things I miss:

1.  Having the Cardinal directions on highway signs.  You know, North, South, East, West....they are not on Autobahn signs.  You mush know the next town or city you will want to go toward.  Creates challenges trying to figure out which exit(s) to take on the Autobahn.  Not to mention precipitating episodes of profanities strung together and yelled out in unintelligible phrases.
2.  My Bikram yoga class.  I have just learned about a yoga class held 3x week on one of the military posts.  But the class is not Bikram....which is my first yoga love.  

3.  Eavesdropping on random people sitting in a restaurant or other public arena. 

4.  Baxter.  He would have loved it here.  But I think he is loving Montana just as much if not more...he didn't have to endure a 14 hour flight in a crate to get there.  

5.  Not having to carry cash....Many German businesses do not take US debit/credit cards.  

6.  Whole Foods or equivalent.  The organic selection at the commissaries are lacking variety and availability.

7.  Texting or calling close friends and family on a whim.  Not only does the time difference play a role here, but so do the all or nothing cell phone plans.  

8.  TV commercials.  Yes, for real.  AFN (Armed Forces Network) is a free satellite television service offered to us.   It airs a few shows that I enjoy watching.   The network is unable to air even the Super Bowl commercials (um, so that is the whole reason to watch it, right?) so instead they run PSA-type commercials on suicide prevention, sexual harassment, drunk driving,  getting a power of attorney, alcohol and domestic abuse, motorcycle safety, being a considerate roommate, how inhalants kill you, how not to be a target for terrorists, get the picture.  

9.  The sun.  We moved from one of the sunniest states in the country to Germany....where last year i rained all but 4 days in July.  I have been told that was not normal summer weather.  We all have our flukes but the winter hasn't been any sunnier.  I've purchased vit. D supplements. 

Things I do not miss:

1.   Going to 7/11, use the ATM and have to buy a pack of gum because you need a $10....Yes, German ATMs will give you change.  You want €100?  The Geldautomat will give you two 10's and 4 20's....what a concept.  The convenient store lobby fought for the $20's only rule, I'm sure :) 

2.   My cell phone.  My cell phone, like many Americans was my life line.  I had my work and social schedule in there, all my phone numbers, direct and fast communication with anyone I could need or want to text on a whim.  I loved that I got sent and received 20+ texts a day.  It only took a week without it and I felt liberated in ways I can not describe.

3.  Throwing glass bottles away...knowing they would not be recycled.  Germany charges deposits on glass and most plastic bottles.  The deposit is returned to you when you return the bottle.  I think some areas of the US still takes returned bottles, but why not all? 

4.   Flush and this is a backwards one.  I miss not having to do this.  This is something necessary in Germany, but rarely needed in the states, at least for me :)  German toilets use less water (there is way less water in the bowl) and many are tankless.  So if you use your imagination...when one has to go #2 and there is less water in the ya understand?  Sometimes ya have to brush remnants of your by products away.  OK, said it...yeah its pretty gross.  Especially gross when using a public toilet and a person before you didn't do it.  

5.  Convenience...of just about everything.    

6.  3.2% beer, because we lived in Utah, but American beer in general.  German beer is damn good.