Thursday, April 15, 2010

Me So Retarded

I'm going to declare April 15 "Be nice to foreigners" day.

What I want you to do, Dear Reader, is go outside to the streets of your town, take the first foreigner you meet and hug them with reckless abandon! Give them money, tell them how pretty they are. Give them a Greencard! If they are in your likeness, lend them your passport! Ask them what their favorite color is. Bake them cookies. Hold open a door for them - maybe pull out the chair for them when they go to sit down. Whatever you do, you must find an alien upon which you can bestow some kindness.

Tell them what an idiot you are for not knowing anything about their culture! Make many self-deprecating jokes explaining how dumb and stupid you are and how great and wonderful they are. Tell them they have achieved much! And that they speak [insert local language] very very well. Mistake them for a member of your nationality.

One note on the hugging, depending on where they are from, they might not actually like to be hugged. Don't pet them on the head if they are Asian.

You must make this a completely random act of kindness. You must ask for nothing in return.

Tell them that you feel lucky to know them. Tell they are fearless to leave their homeland where they know how everything works, know all the vocabulary of daily life and the cultural norms - to go somewhere else where all the rules are completely different. Tell them how adventuresome and strong they are for going somewhere they can't follow the local news, don't know the local holidays, don't know the local transportation ins and outs and don't have a clue where to buy a flour sifter, or even what it's called.

At this point, it's only fair to tell you that I have been feeling a wee bit retarded lately. Simple things like sending a package, buying a curtain rod and setting up a phone are noooooootttt sssssoooo ssssssiiiiiimmmmmppppllllleeeee when you don't know the local language, don't know the names of any 'do it yourself' stores and make assumptions like, if you can drop off and overnight a package at a Fedex location in the US, you must be able to do it in Germany too, right?

NO! YOU ROARING IDIOT!! You cannot drop off a Fedex package in the same way!

In Munich at least, Fedex doesn't have ANY drop-off boxes. Why is this? I'd like to think it's because of bomb threats.

Anyway, it was so painful to schedule a pick-up for Fedex ... I'm not sure I have the energy to explain it... needless to say after phone calls to both the German and the US customer service numbers, and one scheduled pick up at the apartment in which Fedex never actually came, and not having a printer and needing my husband to print things out at work so I could send them the next day, and having to reschedule a second pick up at the last minute from my husband's office - which required a near sprint from my home - since I needed new documents printed out and needed to overnight the damn thing ...

... after all of that, the *&(*& secretary at my husband's office got pissy with me because I didn't tell her that I was having Fedex come pick up a package - for which she had to do NOTHING. She just had to sit on her prim, passive-aggressive little German ass and do NOTHING except cluck and purse her lips and teach me a lesson in how rude I was to her ... PULEASE. As if she knows the definition of consideration or rudeness.

Next, maybe I'll teach her what rude is, but until then, I am working on not being a retard.

Today I am trying to buy a shower curtain rod.

Here are the questions I have:

1. How do you say shower curtain rod in German?
2. How long is the shower curtain rod I need?
3. Why don't we have a measuring tape in this rental where I've been living for 5 days?
4. What are the names of stores in Munich where I can buy a shower curtain rod?
5. On what website geared toward expats would I be able to ask other expats what the names of stores in Munich are where I can buy a shower curtain rod?
6. Where are these stores located that have shower curtain rods in the length that is approximately 1.5 times my silver neck scarf?
7. When I plug the six different addresses of the store into Google, which of them will be the closest to the starting point?
7a. What is the zip code of my new apartment again?
7ai. Why isn't my mom picking up the phone? It's only 8am her time.
7b. When I press the tiny paper map I have of the city over the Google maps on my laptop screen, will the result be accurate enough for me to actually know which tram, or bus, or Ubahn stop to go to?
7c. Why doesn't the website of the self help store have an English version?
7d. Why doesn't the help me please store have any results when I type in Klemmvorhangstange?
8. Why don't I have a car, or better yet, a car and driver who knows where do it yourself stores are located, knows that I might be able to say "Duschvorhang' for shower curtain, and is willing to drive me there at a moment's notice and give me a valium? For the same rate I would pay for the Ubahn?
8a. I'm not sure I will ever be able to get over saying 'I am going to "Dusch - en" ' when I really am just taking a shower.
9. Why did I schedule anything else for today and how is that I'm sitting inside, un-showered and in my pj's on such a beautiful day?
9a. Am I sure that there wasn't some crack or meth in my Darjeeling with a splash of 1.5% milk?
10. How am I ever going to do all of this in Budapest where I'm pretty sure life is like a million times less convenient than in Boston? Oops. I mean Munich. I live in Munich right now.
10. Why do people think housewives are lazy?
11. Do we really need a shower curtain?

1 comment:

Kristen said...

oh thank god for you, and welcome to the world of being a foreigner. see my post from when i first got here on the post office from hell (trying to return a lightbulb).