A spot of good news

Well oddly enough, the same day I posted my previous visa fiasco, I resolved the matter, somewhat unintentionally.

I called once more to see if I could speak with the woman handling it this year. But this time, wonder of wonders, I spoke to a nice local man. It doesn’t always happen, but I can say for the most part, with my American accent, I get more results from men than women. At any rate, God bless this man! The woman I needed was out of town, but instead of saying hey, bad luck for me, try again, it’s not his problem, he went onto the computer *like it was no big deal* and just opened up my case and told me what I had been trying to find out all week. Basically the appointment they’ve scheduled for me is actually because they have everything sorted out, not because they want to issue another temporary work visa. So I don’t need to panic and think my taxes are screwed just because they aren’t being clear. It’s so stupid I’ve seen it many times before. People who have the information try to gain control and power by withholding it when they see fit. And Germany is really out of it’s mind crazy about only relaying things per paper. Nothing important in Germany happens until it’s been printed out.

But thank goodness this guy seemed to realize that I just wanted to be an informed citizen and be well prepared. He clarified many things for me. And I thanked him so much he got embarrassed. I told him he was the first person who could bother communicating my new status. And I didn’t even have to put on my “zickig” attitude and start demanding things. *Sigh*

I was relieved and happy and now it’s not weighing down on me. I’ve got things sorted out for everything I know. Can’t do anything more.

Anyway speaking of the occasional bitchy attitude I need to adopt here, I might have done better with one today. Went to grab Greek yogurt at the one store near work. In the words of my coworker, it’s a bit ghetto, but I don’t usually have a problem and in the land without walmart, you have to do a bit of legwork, but 10 cent savings do add up to Euros.

There’s a certain type of European drunk that y0u just don’t encounter as much in the US. In Germany the beer bottles have a deposit, so the bums will often collect as many as they can, then visit a supermarket when they have enough change to buy more or they go for some really harsh cheap-o bottles of vodka or rye liquor. I don’t know where the drunks hang out in America, but in Germany you see them outside the supermarkets with bottle collections or sitting at bus stops. Not normally an issue, easily ignored, as much as I hate to say it.

Oh but today! After collecting a few items I went to the check out. Stood behind a nondescript guy buying a bottle of vodka. There’s so obvious and so sad. Wasn’t bothered til his friend came up and decided I was just the prettiest girl he had seen. It was stupid. I stood back, I looked away I didn’t answer. Had he been standing there before, I would have chosen another line. From my experience, there’s no point in talking to a drunk man trying to engage you. It only encourages them. Never mind that if he hears my Ami accent, he will latch on and there’ll be no losing him.

I mumbled, I looked away. Behind me there was a Turkish man and his scarf covered wife. I could practically hear his thoughts, about how German women deserve it if they dress that way. But I wasn’t asking for it. I had just come from work. I was wearing some eye-liner and a pink top all very tame. So I looked up at the Turkish man and I sighed. I looked until I felt his sympathy. Maybe he had never thought that. I hate being mistaken for a German woman. It’s not my cross to bear.

The drunk Pole touched me. That was the point where I should have barked “nicht anfassen!” (don’t touch me). I should have said “I’m not a doll. I just want to go shopping, not make friends.” Or “Thanks for the compliment, my boyfriend thinks so too.”  What can I say it’s not in my nature. I’m shy and naturally quiet with strangers. Anyway silence works well in making the other person sound like an idiot.

God being a woman in Europe is really something America never prepared me for. I’m a nice girl. He stole the gum. I told the cashier as she scanned my items. I should have called him out before he was leaving, but I wanted nothing to do with him. Remind me another time what it’s like to live in the land of everyone-looking-away-when-something-bad-happens.

I had to wait to leave til they’d cleared the entrance. If people standing in line aren’t going to help me, no one in a crowd will. As I was waiting another group of foreign boys made some cat calls. I then biked home and ran to the other grocery store for a pineapple (on sale! it’s how I roll) the drunks outside that store also decided they liked my looks and yelled out “excuse me” til I looked over. But I rushed inside.

People can’t place me. I look German, but not in the cheap trashy way with too much make-up skin tight clothes, nor in the natural slender blonde, blue eyes, no work. Nor do I fit in the no make-up let’s go natural trend. I don’t look unnaturally older than my years or orange from the tanning beds. I don’t look dark and ethnic or Greek. For a culture obsessed with brands, even my clothes are confusing, with a mix of German, Greek, English, and American finds. My German accent is good enough that short sentences only hint at not coming from here, but I have to speak at length before it’s obvious.  One women guessed at Dutch. It’s fun playing shape-shifter, but not when I get unwanted attention. Often I wear my glasses just to blend in better.


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