Wednesday, August 15, 2012

outside, living in

we've been here in germany for over a year now.   i'm learning.

i can drive here completely comfortably.   the roads are narrower, people park on the roads making a two lane a one lane road.   people park crazy in parking lots.   the roads have bottle necks instead of speed bumps and the speed limits are just slightly slower than in the us but then you get no speed limit zones in between.   but now, i get it.

i only have a year of weather and only recently my own house.   still learning the garden, keep comfy indoors things.   i'm adjusting to the humility and watering out of rain barrels.   gardening is easier when you don't have to water everyday, but the weeds love it too.   fortunately, i don't mind weeds in the garden.   not the highest thing on my list, and they do get high fast, but we're keeping them under the veggies mostly.

paying bills, buying things, banking, and all things money are getting easier.   at least as easy as putting out cash faster than you earn it gets.   everything her is expensive!   i finally found 2 second hand stores and i'm learning prices in stores.   getting my resources rebuilt.    actually started crafting which made me feels human again, that's a plus!

the kids just finished a year of school. . . don't get me started.   i hope next year is better.

life is starting to feel like life again.   we even have animals again.   it's not the farm we had before, 2 cats, massive dane mix dog, 2 goats, birds, fish, iguana,. . . i feel like i'm forgetting something. . . oh, rabbits.   i think that's it, the furry part of the family is a must in our house.   

i can call home now, which is such a relief.   the time barrier is hard but most of my friends and family are willing to get their lazy heads out of bed to talk to me.    i have friends here i can call, not the same, but i'm finding people that i can talk to.    it's getting there, it is.   why do i still feel alone?   i still don't understand a lot of what is going on around me.  i can't call people and feel confident that i can get things taken care of.   i can't hear something in the background and understand it.   it's not that i want to eavesdrop, but it makes me feel outside of things.   i have people that speak english, and people that are patient and really try to understand who speak german.   that really isn't the point.   everything i do has an underlying language barrier.    it's so frustrating!   i'm always an outsider.   outside, living in.   

this has had me thinking though.   i started thinking about how things are in the states, people i know, situations i see and how they must feel.   


i hear people complain about pressing 1 for english, i love hearing that over here.   it's rare, but i can breath when i hear it.   i'm the foreigner here.   i'm the one that's needing extra time, and standing there like an idiot not able to communicate that i want to buy a magnifying glass.   so not kidding.   i didn't know the name of it so i went in asking the sales lady for "you look in and all look big"   and similarly well constructed sentences.   yes, i feel like an idiot.   she had no idea so she took me to someone else and walked away.   thanks, now i feel so much more stupid.   he figured it out and showed me what they had but then in formed me that magnifying glasses are only sold in optical shops here.   ?!?   the search continued and i did finally find one that wasn't a toy but didn't cost 50€.   i started pushing for some classes.   


this whole thing got me thinking about the mexicans we have in idaho.   i worked in the school system and had to go through our translator more than once to deal with parents that didn't speak english.   i realized that as much as everyone says, "learn the language" they fail to ask, "how?".   germany provides 600 hours of language and 45 hours of culture/laws.   i'm sure there are programs and people to help but i just don't think it's as available in the states as it is here.   i admit, i feel pretty guilty.   having to press 1 for english never bothered me, but having to press 2 for it did.   now, it's funny.   i have friends that are native spanish speakers and when i hear them speak german, with a spanish accent, i feel like home.   i love hearing them talk, even if i don't understand them.   isn't that strange?


i have really found an understanding for a woman we had in church in idaho.   she spoke cantonese.   there wasn't anyone she could talk to.   everyone tried to make her feel welcome.   people talked to her and included her, but really, no matter how much people try, your still alone.   that's it.   there is nothing people can do but teach you the language.   i'm not saying to stop including people.   obviously, it helps.   just don't feel like it's you when they still look like they are lonely, they are.   


another couple i have thought about quite a bit are people i don't actually know.  a friend of mine is hearing but both of her parents are deaf.   her native language is american sign language.   so how do you cope with that?   i can learn the language, they can't learn to hear.   they have to teach other's how to communicate with them, not feasible for the whole community around you.   i can understand why someone would risk having the rest of their hearing killed off so that they can insert a receiver in their head so they can hear.  just to  be closer to the conversation going on around you.   to not just see mouths moving but hear them as well.   i have more empathy for everyone with some kind of anything that means they have to have others make allowances for them.   it stinks.   it just does. 


its no fun having to have things done extra for you.   i want to be the one helping out, not the one constantly needing help.   but, here i am.   so , i do the best i can.   i smile when i don't understand the conversation and try to get the most from it i can.   i try to concentrate until my brain feels like it's hearing some made up babbling and at some point have to excuse myself.   the things this does to the mind is not funny.   the whole family has moments where we can't remember the english or german word for something.   i feel so stupid sometimes.   i listen to little children who can barely talk, speaking much better german than i do.   it's frustrating.


i suppose everyone struggles with something.   the more you try to improve yourself, the more struggle you take on.   yet, it's the better way.   struggle on!   kick and scream, and throw old dishes.   sit down in the mud and cry while life drags you behind!   run down the pitch black tunnel and then jump!   recover from your tantrum.   clean up the mess.  stand up and throw off the mud.   close your eyes and trust.   we'll get there.   we'll get there.