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.