Saturday, March 26, 2011

There are some things you only do when you are young and stupid. Touching a curling iron when you are small because you don't know what it is. Getting a perm. Getting another perm. Running away. Making God-knows-how-many Burger King logos to win a contest and meet the Backstreet Boys. Following the Backstreet Boys in their tour bus. Setting your hair on fire for a Backstreet Boy. Believing you will marry a Backstreet Boy. Doing doughnuts on the lawn of the school in a pick up truck, with the boy who helped you get over the Backstreet Boy. Falling in love with a rebel. Falling out of love with a rebel. Throwing up after one too many Jello-shots. Doing keg stands. Falling for the artist. Getting burned by the artist. Going to Europe with out a plan. Falling in love in Europe. Moving to Europe with out a plan....Cutting your own bangs.

I found out today that I am still both young and stupid. No, I did not, unfortunately for me, chase the Backstreet Boy's Reunion Tour bus down the Autobahn (the consequences of which would not be so difficult to handle and could prove rather interesting). I did the one thing I thought I was behind me for good, the one thing I vowed I would never do again, the one thing that always turns out a disaster and I cut my own god-damned bangs.

I knew better. I definitely did. I stood in the mirror trying to convince myself not to. I said don't, it will look ugly and you will regret it. I had the hair angel on one side pleading with me to listen, but like an alcoholic who doesn't want to take a sip but does anyway because he can't help himself, I sided with the little devil egging me on. With the first snip I felt waves of guilt. With the second, waves of panic. I had been seduced by the devil (ahem, the hair devil) himself and I would (and will) pay for it, probably for about the next 6 months.

After my initial fall and the panic that ensued, I did my best to hide what I had done and made my way to the nearest Supercuts (or the German equivalent of). When I first arrived they told me they could take no more customers today and that I would have to come back on Monday. Then, I undid my bobby pin and let my hacked up remnants of hair fall across my forehead. The stylist looked at me with wide eyes and a frightened expression (as though I had just revealed to her a second head growing out of my neck) and quickly and quietly told me to take a seat and wait a few moments; that they would help me as soon as possible.

What I have been left with is a horrible set definitely not retro and cute bangs. I wanted Zooey Deschanel and what I got was more Cleopatra meets Elvira. Not exactly becoming. I thought that I was past this stage. I really thought I would never be possessed by that strange "got to do it now, no matter the cost" feeling again. But, as I believe they teach you in AA (although, I have never been there, so I am not sure) it is exactly when you think you are cured that you are most vulnerable. Speaking of, do you think they have BCA (Bang Cutters Anonymous)? I have got to get myself to one of those horribly unstylish meetings!

Do not, I repeat DO NOT ever attempt to cut your own bangs. It will not turn out well. And even if you know it will not turn out well, do not let that little devil on your shoulder seduce you. He is crazy. And he likes to see people fail and cry and look like they recently had a lovers spat with Edward Scissor hands.

This whole situation is making chasing Nick Carter down highway 80 look pretty mature, isn't it?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Purpose People

I am not sure why, but I woke up this morning in a very philosophical and introspective mood. Probably, it is just because I just have too much time on my hands now that I don't have German class 5 days a week. Time is never good for us over-analyzers. Nonetheless, instead of going outside, enjoying the sunshine and taking a walk (probably the more positive thing to do), I started seriously asking myself the difficult questions.

The first conclusion that I very quickly came to was that many/most of us make no real difference at all in the world through our careers. Some of us are doctors or researchers who treat cancer, deliver babies and save lives. Some of us become presidents and save (or fuck up) the world around us. Some of us invented things like the internet. But, for 95% of us all we can do is rationalize our way into feeling like what we are doing matters. The truth is, that most of us are just here to help this well-oiled machine run until the next generation can come along and take over. And as Sonny and Cher once sang, the beat goes on.

Of course, this realization is just a little bit depressing, so I wrote to my boyfriend, Peter, to ask him what he thought his purpose on this earth was. I was hoping for a little inspiration. He wrote back saying that "of course, if you look at it globally most of us don't have a purpose at all," but, he said, it's in our communities, our families, our groups of friends that we really make a difference. It is on the small scale that we can find a sense of meaning and purpose.

Now, this has typically always been my stance on life, as well. I guess I had just forgotten it for a moment and gotten caught up in the desire for something grand. But, once Peter reminded me, it all started to become clear again. We are all here for each other. And that is a huge responsibility and a much more important one than we let ourselves believe. It's how the world worked and how people found their purpose before the internet and before medicine. And, maybe it is enough. We all keep each other afloat, warm each others' hearts, give each other experiences and love, reasons to laugh and reasons to cry. We may make our communities a better place and fill others' hearts with love or gratitude. We maybe help in the smallest of ways. But, the point is, it is all for each other.

So, there are a couple of people that I need to thank. They give me a sense of purpose and I hope that I give them a sense of purpose, too. I hope I have made their lives better because they certainly have made mine better. My mother, my father and my sister (and my JJ) are amazing and I feel like I could spend the rest of my life trying to repay them for all the joy they have brought to my life. My wonderful extended family, my Grandpa Jim, my Aunt Janet and Aunt Anita who have been more than just Aunts to me; my Aunts Mary, Lori and Nancy and my millions of cousins on my dad's side of the family who have showed me what it is to support and love one another no matter how many of us there are to love and support; my best friend Danielle who has been my best friend forever and with whom I will hopefully share smiles and decorating tips for the rest of my life; Danielle's family who all have a heart of gold and who have been a second family to me; my friend Brittany who is always down to talk; my friend Lily who is always down to listen; my friend Ben who is always down for just about anything; my friends from Auburn who I lost touch with during college but who are all amazing people; Peter's family who have been my family in Germany; and Peter, who has changed they way I look at men for the better and who has shown me the meaning of companionship and has filled my heart with love for almost 3 years. All these people set good examples for finding one's purpose. And I feel blessed to have you all in my life.

Whether or not I can continue to fulfill my purpose from Germany (and if so, then how) is for another time and place. But, I hope I can continue to make a positive impact on all these people's lives...even if from far away. Because you have all made a very positive impact on mine!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Awakening

As the days get longer and the birds get louder, Germany is once again becoming pleasurable. I am sure there are foreigners here who do not mind the long, hard winters here, but I absolutely do. Well, at least the 5 months of winter we still have left after Christmas. But, there is a light (and a lot of chirping) at the end of the tunnel and it's getting me all excited for German summer (which is by far the best time of year here).

Since moving here, I have felt like an anthropologist studying an exotic culture. Unlike in California, where the bright (and often quite warm) winter sunshine leaves people outside 12 months a year, Germans, like bears, go into hibernation in the winter months. The warm, cozy homes with a TV, an oven and some well-working radiators, become their dens and the people hunker down their as the snow blows around them and the temperatures anyone who does venture outdoors into an ice sculpture. Only the brave (i.e. the young who drink so much Jägermeister that they can't feel their arms freeze off anyway) take this risk. The rest of us wrap ourselves up in our warm blankets in our warm homes, and like bears, rest the winter away.

But, then comes the first warm-ish day of late winter. With the temperatures above freezing and the sun a shining, the German people (and I mean every last one) venture out of their dens and into the world. And the next 4 months are one big party. (Yes, 4 months. That is all spring/summer/reasonably nice weather you get here...if you are lucky.)

I don't think the German people sleep during this time. I know they don't sleep much, anyway. And I think they spend their entire year's worth of income on going out, sitting in the beer garden, and most excitingly, on all the parties. Here in our little town, we have the Samba Festival, Schlossplatzfest, a summer concert series, overnight flea markets and, as summer wanes, a museum night. There are people biking everywhere (it is very dangerous to be a driver), the beer gardens are always crowded (as are the ice cream stands), and when the sun finally sets at 10 pm on a July evening, there are people packing the bars and clubs. Life is completely different; Germany is full of life.

These months here are my favorite and they usually make up for the dullness of the long (and freakishly cold) winter months. They're also the best time to visit Germany. If you ever want to come visit me (and how could you not want to after that colorful and exciting description of summer in Germany) you should definitely come between June and August (our 3 months of acceptable weather). We well rested and newly woken German bears promise to show you a good time.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Tea Pot, Tagalongs and Law and Order

A cozy late winter night in Bavaria. Ate pasta (aglio e olio) for dinner, after a long day of doing projects around the house. As most of you know (since, you, my parents are the only ones that read this) I spent the day rearranging all my furniture, hanging up new art projects and being creative.

Now it's chill time. Of course, chill time wouldn't be complete with out a cup of tea. And for a nice change of pace today, I brought out my little tea pot, tea cup and saucer. So, I am sitting in my newly rearranged (and totally cozy) living room, with my pot of tea and some Girl Scout Cookies--Tagalongs, Samoas and Thin Mints--and a little Law and Order: SVU.

This is new, our fancy cable TV. Peter and I got it for ourselves for Christmas. It's nice to have the option now to watch shows in their original language. Nothing makes me feel more at home than Law and Order. Yes, SVU is creepy, but it reminds me of Friday nights in high school, post football game. It's been quite a nice evening. Although it would be better if my Boo Boo was home.


All this work on my apartment today has left me feeling very created and inspired. Not to mention frustrated. There are so many lovely things that Germany has that the U.S. does not (beer gardens, castles, krapfen); but, when it comes to salvaged home stuff is by far the bigger treasure chest. I have yet to find one salvage yard, Salvation Army-type store or garage sale. Sometimes I am lucky and find the odd treasure (like my awesome green floral chair!) on the street. But, mostly, there is no place to go to find cool, cheap, used goods! So, today I turned to ebay and made my first purchase on Hopefully sometime next week I will be the proud owner of some funky wood, dachshund-shaped book ends!

Additionally, all this made me think that perhaps I am missing my calling here in Germany. Maybe opening a salvage store should be in my German future. Maybe, I should do the refurbishing of salvaged stuff myself and sell it for big bucks online. It's time to start creating!