Wonderfully Glorious Success

Posted on November 13th, 2011 by

Home is where the German guy and French girl live. Booyah.

Home is in the old East Berlin 15 stories up in the air. Booyah.

This week I got one of the best calls ever. It was about 11:30 at night and naturally being the grandpa my early morning classes have turned me into, I was in bed sleeping. In the deep recesses of my mind, I hear my phone go off. I answer it with nothing more than a “Huh.” This doesn’t sound like a question but rather a primitive caveman grunt. The girl says this is Cecile whose apartment you looked at earlier this week. Obviously my brain is struggling to put this together because her next sentence is, “The two PhD students. You remember us right?” A flood of recognition comes to me and I say of course I know who you are. She then tells me, “We’d love to have you live with us if you’re still interested.” Hell yeah I’m interested. Between my excitement and tiredness, I completely forget to ask her for any specifics like when I move in. I just said that’s wonderful and that I hope she has a good night. Luckily, they didn’t rescind the offer after this less than impressive phone interaction. So yes, after way, way too much searching, I finally have a place to live.

In honor of finally being done with this god forsaken housing search, I’m going to tell you about a couple of the most “interesting” apartments I visited. The first place I ever saw was inhabited by three trance music producers. If you can’t guess what they probably do in their free time, you must be like five (with that said, I’m very impressed you can read). It was like two in the afternoon, and I’m pretty sure at least one of them was off in his happy place. As we open the door to his room, he was just sitting in a chair looking dazed and gave me a sleepy eyed grunt of hello. Or it may have been anger. Not sure. His room was nothing more than a bed, computers, and synthesizers. Classic Berlin. Onto another place I went and saw a bit more recently. I probably should’ve realized something was a bit amiss when his e-mail address was fantasywasreal. Well I go to this guy’s place, and it’s really nice. He seems a bit odd but the quality of this apartment is overshadowing his weirdness. Alas, his eccentricities won out in the end. He had me sit at the kitchen table, and then he filmed me being interviewed by him. I didn’t know whether to look at him or the camera. Or just leave. That’s the option I should’ve chosen.

McFit: Simply Look Good. And I didn't even make that up.

Anyway, this week I also went to my first gym that isn’t called Lund and in St. Peter, Minnesota. The name of this fine establishment is McFit. I realize nothing says fitness like throwing a Mc in front of it, but it’s one of the cheapest gyms in Berlin/you get to use it for free twice (I think we all know I won’t be going more than twice). I’m not sure how gyms work back home (so this could all just be standard procedure), but we had to fill out an application and were given ID cards. I then went to the locker room to put my stuff away. I quickly noticed that there were no locks but rather a small light with a symbol looking kind of technological. I’m now assuming I need to do something with my card to activate this, but I’m also worried that I’m going to close the locker, not be able to get it back open, and then have to ask the lady outside to come help me (something I’d rather avoid). I linger in the locker room trying to observe someone else doing it, but in the end, I just feel creepier than anything and decide to ask some random German how this contraption works. All you do is close the door and then place your card on top of the light. Eventually it beeps and locks. To open it, you do the same thing again. McFit technology. So simple. After this, I go to work out. Here are a couple observations of this practice in Deutschland. Each person has a towel they brought from home and any time they use a machine or lie on a mat, they set the towel down. I, not having one, felt like the nasty kid letting his sweat run willy-nilly all over the place. The second observation/gripe is about Germany as a whole, but the problem is exacerbated at the gym. There are no water fountains ANYWHERE. This is a definite frustration when one is wandering a German city, but simply maddening when you’re at a gym where water would be very helpful in keeping oneself from passing out. My only option is to go to the bathroom and throw my head under the tap (just enhancing my image as the nasty kid). Even with this issue, the gym was surprisingly quite a nice place. After finishing my work out and grabbing my stuff, I went downstairs to wait for the friend I came with. As I get to our meeting point, I notice that one of the guys sitting there is someone I play basketball with on Thursdays. We talk for a little while and as I leave, I feel like I can call myself a Berliner. In a city with around 3.5 million people, I’m starting to randomly run into people I know.

After basketball this week, I was heading to the train station and started talking to a new guy who came to play. After talking for a few minutes, he apologizes for his German being sub-par. I at this point am in shock. Does he really think I’m German? Outside of being not blonde hair, blue-eyed (or white for that matter), I pretty much always speak English on the court. Well, I at least ambiguous terms like ball. But it felt great to say, “Nein, ich bin nicht ein deutscher.” So apparently to Lithuanians my German is good enough to pass as a German. Next goal, get a Pole to think I’m German.

This is extremely random, but I thought it was wonderful. I went out with some friends and learned a great German phrase. If someone is cool and you enjoy hanging out with them, you can say, “I’d steal horses with them.” I may have to attempt to bring this into the English language.

An ode to my inner, apparently green dragon loving soul

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I am jacked that the final Eragon book came out this past week. For those of you who don’t know, Eragon is a fantasy series that is sort of similar to the Lord of the Rings. Why am I telling you this? I figure I may as well embrace my dorkiness. I still remember the first time my friends at college found out I love these books. I believe it was a J-term many moons ago, and I strolled into the Caf with a book under my arm. My friend Karen looks at me and says, “Is there a dragon on the cover of that book?” There was definite judgment in her voice. I sheepishly replied back with something like, “I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.” I was then made fun of mercilessly. But now I’m going to accept my love of “the dragon book.” If only Amazon Deutschland would get their crap together and actually get it to my front door…

Tomorrow I actually have a paper due. With that in mind, I decided to hit up the library at my school for the first time. As I come in, I see a ton of lockers at the front. I then realize that you aren’t allowed to bring in a backpack or even a coat. All you can take in is whatever you can carry in your hands. This is a bit frustrating especially when even with a backpack, I seem to always forget things. I can remember so many times that I had to leave Folke Bernadette fuming, because I left the one book I actually needed. It’s the worst. But anyway, it was good to be back in a library. It’s always interesting to be surrounded by people sitting in complete silence. Unfortunately (or fortunately), there are no couches in this library where one can get a quick bit of shut-eye.

Well, as great a distraction as this is from writing my actual paper, I should probably get on that. Hope all is well and take care.

Hugs and hand pounds,


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