So. I’m in Germany! The land of Bretzels, Birkenstocks, and eternally respected rules. Or so I thought.
Unfortunately, it appears Bretzels are more of a southern specialty (aaagh!). Moreover, everything here is not perfectly organized, or punctual down to the second. The first week, I kept arriving super early to all these meetings, only to have them start late. The worst organizational disaster, however, was the Anmeldung — the registration with the City Office. This being said,
I must admit that people here are more law-abiding than in Belgium. In Brussels, a mass of impatient, pushing people qualifies as a line, whereas here, everyone patiently stands queued up and waits their turn. Also, as if held back by some invisible barrier, pedestrians actually cross only when the light is green. What is that about?!
But back to the fascinating Anmeldung story.
International students had to fill in this document, the Anmeldung, (stating our name, age, address in Bremen, etc.). Said paper was to be turned in to an office on campus. The very next day, I went to the office during their opening hours, thinking the whole business would be but a trifle.
Upon arriving, a harassed lady said something about them being closed / on strike / sick (choose one of the above; I couldn’t follow her mercilessly rapid German). She instructed me to come back promptly the next day, a Thursday. There I was, bright and early on Thursday.
The very same lady who had told me to come back informed me that they had given out too many numbers that morning, and that I should try again at 12:30. By now quite annoyed, I waited until twelve, then trod the well-worn path back to the office.
Again, the exact same lady greeted me. I showed her my document, a hopeful smile on my face. By now, all I wanted to do was throw the paper at her and escape. “Ah yes, everything seems to be in order,” she said. My heart swelled. “But come back next Tuesday,” she said. “Tuesday is the only day we take care of these papers.”
Aaaaaah! But in the end, I did get the document turned in.
Otherwise, what with going to classes, battling German verbs, locking myself into the apartment, taking long sunny bike rides, learning to fend for myself, baking Belgian waffles, going to a German church and making lots of new friends from many different countries, things have been quite eventful here.