thirty days later and here i am. decidedly not using the caps feature of written language, and certainly on my last twenty.
last night i found myself doing exactly what i am supposed to be doing, being an mini-ambassador of american thought, opinion, diversity, and more. me and my flatemate marcus decided to embark on a heady saturday night adventure; our activities included doing laundry at the local wäscherei (caps be damned!), going to kaiser’s supermarket, and drinking a few beers and a bottle of wine.
all very innocent indeed.
at some point he asked me if i’ve noticed any differences between americans and germans. wow, i thought, such a broad question. how can i answer it? i began by talking about where i’ve lived most recently, santana in my oh-so-beloved oh sea. (no feelings of marginalization there, i promise.) i could not speak for all of america, and i have not met all americans, but for the most part, zee germans and those i’ve cavorted with in santana (holmes) seem pretty similar: cool, open-minded folk who are looking for their own little slice of happiness.
that was my preliminary answer.
the rest of the evening, clear up to 3 in the morning, i spent revising my answer while we talked about bush and obama, world war ii, germany’s history of disunity (up until the 20th century), personal histories, education, working as a layman, immigration, and the building of walls (most notably, he asked why so many americans want to strengthen the wall between mexico and the u.s., instead of pouring those funds into the education system…).
my poor german is slowly improving, and last night i struggled along to express abstract ideas in a coherent and understandable manner. the bier helped.
at seven a.m. i awoke with a start. wondering where i was and why nothing looked familiar, my surroundings–at first slowly, then all at once–congealed into my new room–my small chamber on the third floor of a villa in cologne, germany.
i moved in, finally, five days ago.
five days ago i had just under one hundred and fifty euros.
today i’m on my last twenty and i have two (ahem) notices waiting for me in my online-banking inbox. as if avoiding opening those notices means that i still have a few pennies in that account, i haven’t actually checked the status of how in the red my account is.
my last twenty means that i can’t go to the cafe for a few days and that i can’t buy anything later today at the flohmarkt (caps be damned!) in nippes. the side of me that experiences a rush of endorphins when i hand over money for crap i don’t really need–a bier or coffee, some wearable rags, yet another pack of rice cakes or cigarettes–will have to make do for the next few days. for now, i have the makings of survival at my feet:
at some point, i’ll get paid. not sure when, and not sure how.
for now, my last twenty will have to do.