Sunday, May 17, 2009

Back in Germany

Note: This was originally written on April 25th, on a train from Zweibr├╝cken to M├╝nchen.

Well, I’m back in Germany, for the first time in several years. Since I’ve been travelling all over Asia, some of my German friends had felt that I had abandoned them . . . well, no longer. As I’m writing this, I’m currently sitting on an ICE Train (German Bullet-Train) to Munich, in complete comfort, but without an internet connection.

I’ve missed Germany . . . the food, the trains, the scenery, but above all, the people. Since I’ve been working all week (almost 10 hours/day, plus social outings with my colleagues), I haven’t had much time to think about that . . . and it hit me for the first time when I was on a train to Saarbruecken. There’s something about riding a train that makes me realize that I am actually here . . . in Germany . . . and quite a bit at home.

When traveling internationally, even in a country as safe as Germany, it’s important to do basic things like lock the car when you leave. This is a lesson my colleagues found out the hard way. To make a long story short, this resulted in a trip to the police station on Friday afternoon, with me feeling out a police report. Earlier in the week, I had asserted that the German police were both friendly and professional. Fortunately, this was the case. An experience which might have tainted my colleague’s perception of Germany was turned into a pleasant experience with the German police and disaster was averted. (I even got to sign my name to the police report that I translated it.

One of the things that I need to put on my to-do list is to re-learn how to drive a stick-shift. It’s kind of embarrassing that I am a bit afraid of the things, but, you lose any skill you have if you fall out of practice. Some weekend, I’ll rent a stick-shift car and practice. If I’m going to destroy someone’s transmission, it can be Hertz’s. Then, next time when we go to Germany, I can feel comfortable driving.

Now, it’s off to Munich to see Katha and Nowy.