Sunday, May 17, 2009

Back in Germany

Note: This was originally written on April 25th, on a train from Zweibrücken to München.

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.

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