i have been sitting on my sofa for approximately an eternity now (you know, give or take) sending emails, mostly unsolicited, to language schools in the cologne area. and i never thought that i would actually miss the relative ease of applying for a position in barcelona. in fact, due to my illegality, the low pay and general working conditions in barcelona, i pretty much never thought i’d miss much of anything. how wrong i was.
i’m just so surprised that there isn’t a website like loquo.com, or its counterpart in the us, craigslist.org here in germany. of course, craigslist has made repeated attempts to have a grasp on the world outside of the us, and i, in good faith, have repeatedly tried to use their services for other cities, only to be bitterly disappointed. today, for example, there is one posting under “education jobs” on craigslist cologne, which i’ve already seen on toytown.
other things that surprise me about living in germany:
- mad dash for the new cashier – in the supermarket, if another cashier opens up, i’ve always assumed that it was general politeness to wait and allow those in front of you to move to the front of that line as well. occasionally, you could get in there a bit before your turn, which was always a little sneaky and very satisfying, but in general, it was all part of waiting one’s turn. even the spanish understood this concept, and that’s saying a lot as they don’t usually prefer to form a line for much and old ladies will happily elbow you out of the way at any opportunity. but here, it seems that anything goes. when it seems that a new line will be forming soon, someone will usually step out of the ridiculously long line (and i thought caprabo was bad) and guess which side the new cashier will appear on, waiting there so that they can be first.
- lack of english – i can tell that people here generally speak english at a higher level than they did in spain, but there is a decidedly inconvenient lack of written english around town. hardly ever except in the most touristy of restaurants are the menus translated and i have yet to see a website that had a little british flag in the corner of the screen so that i could read their website in english, even language schools, which i find extremely surprising. our bank doesn’t have it either, which makes it even more hard to part with our lovely la caixa in barcelona.
- the weather – this really goes without saying, but i did not expect an entire summer of rain. i knew that germany, of course, would be colder than barcelona in winter and colder still than san diego, obviously. and i imagined that the summers wouldn’t be so hot and humid, as it isn’t known for being a summer beach vacation spot, like barcelona is. i was not prepared for two months straight of rain.
- the streets aren’t actually so clean – to be fair, i don’t know what i was expecting, as cologne is still a city in its own right and i don’t know why i would ever expect germany to be a perfect paradise. but i really did expect the streets to be cleaner than barcelona. the insides of places, which is really where it counts, are ridiculously cleaner and there’s none of that dodgy electrical wiring sticking out all over that makes homes dangerous in barcelona either. but the streets are sort of still dirty and still filled with litter.
- people smoke!! – sigh. i suppose it is still europe. but i didn’t expect so many people to smoke. and i haven’t quite grasped the laws either. i’m pretty sure that you can’t smoke in bars and restaurants, but then, sometimes, it seems that you can. i’m not sure if it’s up to the discretion of bar owners, because then it seems that more bars would allow it, but it does seem to make no sense.
- broom heads are made of rubber – ok, this is kind of stretching it, but i do think they are weird. i suppose it’s good because you don’t get the straw or plastic (or whatever american brooms are made of) falling out around the house, but like every other broom in the world, they still don’t work as well as vacuums. they are, however, easier to clean than our brooms.
i’m sure there are many more that i think of constantly, i just can’t remember them now, as all i’m thinking about is how my eyes are starting to go a bit cross-eyed and my butt is completely asleep. i think it’s about time i leave the sofa. i don’t know how many more schools i can email today anyway, and let’s be honest, i don’t really want a job that badly…