Deutschland and beyond

Living in Germany

My (lack of) musical talent

Life here is still relatively uneventful but I’ve marked today down as one of the most terrifying days of my life, and it’s only 10:50 am. Let me tell you why: I’ve already had to register as a citizen at the town hall and open a bank account, and I still have to get my visa, but the office doesn’t open until 2 pm. I swear these offices keep the strangest hours because they want to make sure you really want that visa. And tomorrow’s the first day of school.

We’ll start with today. I woke up way earlier than I normally would to get to the town hall by 8:15 and find there’s already a line. Then I get sent to the worst counter I could. Herr ‘insert strict sounding name here’, we’ll call him Herr Streng, did not acknowledge my fear of speaking German or my limited vocabulary, but proceeded to rapid-fire questions at me and getting very discouraged when he had to repeat them. After looking over basic info our conversation went something like this:

Herr Streng: Have you ever been registered as a citizen of Germany before?

Me: Yes in Munich about I year and a half ago. I studied there. (very proud of my competency at this point)

Herr Streng: (not impressed) Did you unregister yourself as a citizen of Munich?

Me: Um… I haven’t lived there for a year and a half so I definitely can’t be registered

HS: But did you unregister?

Me: Uh… I don’t remember unregistering, it’s possible I’m still registered… but I left the country and lived in the US so…. I can’t… (lack of vocab kicks in) I went through a program so… they probably did it.. yeah

HS: (sighs, shakes head) OK then we have to unregister you. What’s the zipcode for Munich?

Me: What? I don’t know. (thinking can’t you look this up? you’re the one at the computer. besided Munich has like 8 zip codes)

HS: (sighs, shakes head again, getting frustrated) What was your address there?

Me: What? My address? I can’t remember it was 18 months ago. Something with the Geschwister Scholl…. uh…

HS: (clearly angry by now) I can’t unregister you if you don’t have an address!

Me: Could we just pretend I unregistered and you try registering me here as a US citizen?

HS: (huge sigh, like he’s doing me the biggest favor ever) ok

Then everything goes fine except I have to ask him to repeat almost every question and this woman interrupts with some Swiss girls unregistration that clearly must be more important than mine. Note to self: don’t forget to unregister in June. At the end of it, Herr Streng gave me a welcome brochure and told me to enjoy my time here, so it wasn’t so bad.

The bank was much better. I could open an account for free at Deutsche Bank since I’m a ‘student’ (I have an international student ID card but that’s it). They explained everything to me and I understood it (my comprehension is way ahead of my speaking ability). So I sat there looking dumb for 45 mins just nodding and saying ‘ok’. They probably thought I had some problems. Now all that’s left is the visa..

Okay but school starts tomorrow. I know 2 teachers out of a lot, and have no idea what I’m doing. I’m an assistant so how much do I teach? I think I’m just supposed to observe for a few weeks but I have no idea what the school has planned for me. Also, I may have neglected to mention this is a school geared towards kids with musical talents. Which makes me wonder why I was place here. Nowhere on my application was music listed. I mean, I played piano for roughly 10 years and can still read music. And in jr. high i was hands down the best clarinet player the north suburbs had seen. Not to brag (but bragging) in 5th grade, I was in 6th grade band, 8th grade band, and honor band- for the really good 7th and 8th graders. But this one kid in 8th grade, we’ll call him Bobby, did NOT like the idea of me being in there. He was first chair but his best friend Charlie was third chair and I was second. And I was a girl. Pretty sure he still believed in cooties. I did. So he tried to do anything to get me out of there but I was too good. Then rumor came around that he made a ‘hate list’ on his calculator and I was on it. Or maybe I just flattered myself by thinking he cared enough to put me on it. I think the school found it so then I was temporarily first chair while he was gone. Take that, Bobby.

But the point is there’s no way I am playing the clarinet or piano now. And music is the kids #1 priority so I’ll have to come up with some way to make English just as important. Oh and I politely turned down an invitation to join the faculty orchestra. Maybe if there are practice rooms or something then by June I’ll give one performance and let them think I was this talented all along. Probably not.


September 14, 2010 - Posted by | Germany | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. 1. hooray for getting registered!
    2. glad to see your ego has not changed since you left… “honor” band was a joke let’s be honest here.
    3. you can always show them videos of me instead, your oh so talented french horn playing sister (plus, tons of famous horn players were german/austrian so the germans love the horn)
    4. faculty orchestra?! awesome!! I want to join!
    5. who puts a ‘hate list’ on their TI-89? seriously?


    Comment by Cala | September 15, 2010

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