a girl, a guy, a tomato, a bean, and a bear

Saturday, March 28, 2009

And then I'm done. For real. For now...

I'm in a listy mood.

First of all, thanks to all of you guys who sent encouragement and happy thougts my way after my little meltdown earlier this week. I try to keep things in perspective--I know that I am INCREDIBLY lucky and blessed and really do not have the right to complain. I know sometimes it must seem, well, really annoying. "Oh, poor Michele. Stuck living in Europe. Waaaaaa." I think I've become increasingly negative about certain aspects of life here over the past few years, and that is not the person I want to be. I have more thoughts on this subject, but will save them for another post, as this one is already getting pretty long and it's quite late.

That being said, I still do have stuff to complain about, and I'd like to get it off my chest. Just because I don't like the way I feel doesn't stop me from feeling that way.

***Disclaimer: Not all of these things are Germany's fault. Some of them are Army specific, living on post specific, and all of them are me specific. I'd like to reiterate, despite my "I hate Baumholder" diatribes, it's not a terrible place--I'm just tired of living here. For me, Europe is for vacations not life. The list is in no particular order. Without further ado...


  2. Many of the people--albeit here I am mostly referring to Americans (Ahem, for instance, Rude Mail Room Guy, Grouchy Car Inspection Dude, Nasty Neighbor Woman, Passive Agressive Mystery Neighbor Person, I could go on and on and on...)
  3. The general attitude and atmosphere. NEG-A-TIVE. (I know, I know. Look at me not helping, right?)
  4. The toilet paper holders.
  5. The toilet flushing mechanisms.
  6. Having to pay to use a public toilet.
  7. Having to pay inside at the gas station.
  8. Messing with currency exchange.
  9. The crappy exchange rate.
  10. VAT forms.
  12. Not speaking the language.
  13. The laughable idea of "customer service."
  14. The 6/7 hour time difference between here and friends and family.
  15. Having to pay "International direct dialing rates" for 800 numbers.
  16. Having to convert to the metric system. I know it makes more sense, but my mind just doesn't think in those terms.
  17. Living on post.
  18. Living in an apartment.
  19. Not having any studs into which things can be nailed. There's about a half inch of plaster before you hit solid concrete, or something equally impervious. It's been a royal pain trying to hang things.
  20. The fishbowl feel of the community--the fact that EVERYONE knows your buisness...what you order online, what you buy for groceries, how often your dog poops and when you leave the house...
  21. Not having screens on the windows. I've become accustomed to not having air conditioning and actually like having fresh air circulate. Not having screens is a problem, though. Once I heard a girl convey a story about asking a German why they don't have window screens. His earnest reply? "But with screens...how would the bugs get out?"
  22. The radiators in our apartment. They have a mind of their own. The temperature can be constant outside and the dial set to the same place yet one day the setting is fine, the next we're burning up. The dial ranges from "snowflake" (a symbol) to 0-5. What the hell does "snowflake" mean???
  23. AFN (Armed Forces Network--the American television programming available here). We don't even watch TV here, but I miss "real" commercials.
  24. The mailroom. The idea that a mail man might actually deliver my mail TO ME at our place of residence is so magical, I can't even begin to describe it to you.
  25. The commissary.
  26. Having to drive 45 minutes to get to ANYTHING.
  27. Not being able to use FedEx or UPS. I can't tell you how many times I've been disappointed by "Sorry, no shipment to APOs."
  28. German pastries and cakes. I want my sweets to be...well, sweet. Theirs aren't.
  29. Having to be in constant "vacation mode." Do you know that feeling when you're in unfamiliar territory? The extra effort you have to put forward to finding things, always having everything be new and unexplored? It's exhausting to be in "vacation mode" for 3.5 years. When we take trips here, I sometimes feel like I'm vacationing while on a vacation--like I'm taking the life raft I live on in my river out onto the ocean.
  30. European sized things. Everything is small, from the dishwasher to furniture to parking spaces and roads. I will not miss "two lane" roads that, in fact, are actually not even big enough to be one full lane.
  31. How often I am denied access to things online (like streaming media and certain downloads) because I'm "Outside the U.S."
  32. Randomly having web pages I frequent switch everything to German language defaults.

I may think of more and tack them on in subsequent posts.

And, in fairness, I would also like to list...


  1. The autobahn. Although I have gotten two speeding tickets (yes, you read that right), I do love the laid back feel and general not-traffic-y-ness of the autobahn.
  2. Ordering out from Portofino's. Especially their pizzas and Jagerschnitzel.
  3. Being so close to Belgium. I love Belgium.
  4. The proximity to so much art, history, culture and architecture. Just wow.
  5. The "tilt" option on the (screenless-boo) windows.
  6. The deli sandwiches from the commissary.
  7. The cheese streudel muffins from the commissary.
  8. Super cheap, delicious, and ubiquitous local wines.
  9. The yellow flowers that cover the countryside in summer.
  10. This specific lone tree on a hill top as you approach Baumholder from the east.
  11. Julia's Mickey Mouse tree.
  12. Christmas markets.
  13. Bernkastel Kues. I love that town.
  14. This specific view of a valley off to the left as you cross a bridge going towards Kaiserslautern. Breathtaking.
  15. The windmills.
  16. The really awesome people I have met here.

Again, I will add to this list as well as things occur to me.


Related Posts with Thumbnails