Category Archives: germany

On German transportation

German public transportation networks put the New York subway system TO SHAME… once you actually figure out how to use the ticket machine, read the map, and decode the system of zones.

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Thank god for clear hostel signs and patient workers. (But seriously, how would YOU pronounce Zuffenhausen!?)

The only thing NYC does better is actually check fares… for all the incorrect trips I purchased, there’s no turnstile and no one ever asked to see my ticket.

Back to December

I wonder when we all decided that the proper goal in life is to land a steady job, find a long-term relationship, buy a house, take two weeks of vacation a year, start a family, live for the weekend… and slowly die a boring monotonous death.

I used to kind of want this too, but now I mostly feel like this is the last thing on earth that could make me happy.

And then I meet a German boy on the bus who is a little too excited to tell me that his favorite actress is the former Pink Power Ranger, and I realize that avoiding these sorts of awkward conversations might be a major reason why people choose to settle down after all.

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In another Taylor Swift-inspired chain of events, I miss your birthday and for some reason, this seems to finally make our radio silence official.

I was warned this might happen, but I don’t think I ever really believed it would. In some ways, I still don’t.

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My German accent is awful (my Dutch accent is too, come to think of it). I mean, so awful that bus drivers and food vendors and friendly strangers never have any idea what I’m talking about when I ask for directions or order lunch.

I’ve found pointing helps. And smiling and always saying “yes” to things. And sheepishly repeating myself while twisting my pronunciation of vowels to the way that is LEAST intuitive for an American.

Another difficulty in my quest to survive (or at least adequately get around): unlike the Portuguese, the Germans are proud. That means no signs in English, which sometimes means that I take the wrong train and have to double back—but it also means the limited English-speaking bus driver might let me ride for free just to shut me up. I don’t really have a choice, but it seems like an acceptable tradeoff to me.

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