Friday, November 1, 2013

3 Years and Counting...

It's been more than two years since I've written anything here. Probably all the strangers that used to follow this blog have long since assumed I either chocked on pretzel (as one of my notable landsman once did) or that I hightailed it back to the wild west (albeit I am originally more from the southeast).

But no, I am still very much alive and very much still living in Munich. In fact, this month marks the third year I've been in Germany. I've only been back to the U.S. twice in this time: once to visit my family for a few weeks, and once to visit a friend's wedding for a few days. The latter is the source of a funny story I must remember to relay later.

So what have I been doing (she asks rhetorically into the dark world wide webosphere)? Well, dear anonymous, possibly non-existent reader, I have been working. At a job. In German. Actually, I'm on my second job now. The first was a six-month stint at a digital agency as an online editor (for English text of course). The people were great, the work interesting, the pay (as to be expected at an agency) not so much. So I decided to go back to an industry tried and true...the same line of work I left in the U.S. to move here. So now I'm a media consultant at my new company, focusing mostly on social media. All of my meetings and presentations are in German, the writing for our SoMe channels, in English. It's a nice mix that keeps me on my toes and often in a state of linguistic confusion.

Today I speak a mixture of Deutsch and English (Denglisch) with such fluency that most Americans think I am German and most Germans think I'm Dutch, Spanish, French, Russian...well, anything except German or American. True story: I had a German man approach me in Italian. After responding to him in German that I do not speak Italian, he replied (in German), "Oh, well you must be French!".

I've reached a strange point in my integration here. I can't stand to hear Americans fake a German accent (usually angry sounding because they've watched too many WWII movies) or make up ridiculously long, complicated words and pretend they're speaking German (that goes for you, too, Jon Stewart!). On the other hand, I get annoyed when Germans generalize Americans as being <insert stereotype of choice here>. Although there are cases in which I unfortunately have to agree, when a non-Ami does it before I do, I sometimes feel like they've pushed my little sister into the mud. And that's my job.

If there's one thing I've learned living here, it's that no country or culture is perfect. There are ignorant and mean people everywhere. But at the end of the day, home is where you make it. And if you decide accept your new digs and get to know the language and the culture, you'll be a lot happier. If you don't, you'll be stuck on the sidelines watching your new world through a thick and foggy pane of  glass.

7 comments:

  1. We miss you back in the States! Please come back for a visit and I promise we'll take you to the Essen Haus!
    Franz Cerne

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  2. So true and I can relate on a small level about being torn between the two worlds when it comes to stereotypes. I envy your progress in learning the language and I know I need to work harder.

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  3. Lots of head-nodding here in Regensburg!

    My American dad, try as he might, can only pronounce German words as if he's the dude from Raiders of the Lost Ark with the medallion burnt into the palm of his hand. Too many Hogan's Heroes episodes as a child, I guess.

    My very smart wife once put it like this: *I* can gripe about my mom, but *you* cannot gripe about my mom. *You* can only gripe about your own mom. I think I like your little-sister-mud metaphor even better. Though my little sister wouldn't stand for that one bit, nosirreee.

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  4. Man, I want to move to Europe, to scared though. I bet the first few months were fund, next few months scary.,,,,

    Steve
    C|K
    C|K Lotion Shave Balm Soap

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  5. Hello! just came across your blog, and must say, I loved reading most of your posts. The best part of reading them was when I was going through an old post where you seemed a bit frustrated with your German language courses (comparing your skills to a pretzel was quite funny I must admit), and then reading your post three years later, where you mention working in German and being happy in Munich...it truly made me smile...and also gave me positive feelings and hope that in a few years time or less, I would be feeling the same way.

    I am so curious to know more about your journey between 2011 - 2013...how you went from frustrated half pretzel, with no place to hang your clothes in, and too many light bulbs to buy....to the current you - who juggles English and German at work, and giggles when people try to figure out where you are from.

    I hope you respond, and I hope your life is just as interesting and pleasant nowadays.

    cheers,
    New in Munich

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