"So, why don't you go back to England, Jacinta, if you hate it here so much?" people ask me sometimes. I stare at them, blankly, blinking my eyes with a kind of vague confusion, like a nun looking at torture porn.
"What do you mean," I whisper, weakly. "I really love living in Germany. I love it here. I love Germany, and the Germans. It's actually love."
"Oh, right," they say, and change the subject discreetly, like they think I'm lying. Only I'm not. I really fucking love living in Germany. I LOVE it. I love everything – absolutely everything – about this country. Well. What I mean is, I love everything about Germany apart from:
1) Crap winters. Too cold. Too much snow everywhere. It's majorly annoying. I never know when to wash my hair. If you wash it before you leave the house – and I know the following fact because this has actually happened to me, on, like, four occasions – your hair freezes into these icicle pole thingies. And if you wash it before you go to bed, you get pneumonia and die, which is really REALLY annoying. I have no idea when normal people wash their hair in winter. I do it on Sundays, and the rest of the time I just leave my hat on.
2) Crap Kinderbücher (Struwwelpeteraside) where some kid is scared of the dentist/starting school/dogs and the fucking mother brings him a cup of fucking milk in bed and then he sees a dog fall in a lake or something and by the end of the book he's not scared of dogs anymore. PUKE. They're just based on fear and really bad drawings. Puke, puke, puke. And the mothers need shooting, man. They're all like, wait a minute, I'll bring you some milk in bed. They're totally psychologically implausible.
3) Crap adverts. Actually, I quite like this, to be honest. Adverts in Germany are so crap that I never feel like buying anything ever. I just bounce around the city, immune to advertising, saving loads of money. I was looking at that "Taget euch ritterlich" one today. God, it's ugly. I don't even know what it's for, that's how crap it is. And they use such ugly fonts all the time. Have you seen that one about when there's been a crime, if everyone chases after the criminal, then who looks after the victim? And then underneath they've written: come to us if you're in a crime. Every single time I look at that advert, I want to actually vomit when I notice the font. It's like they've deliberately chosen the ugliest font possible. What's wrong with these people? I literally look at that advert and think to myself: if I am ever in a crime, I'm not going to them lot, they have seriously bad taste in fonts. They have offensively bad taste in fonts. I mean, I might go in if I get raped or something, but not if somebody just snatches my wallet.
But, like I say, actually I quite like the crap advertising. It saves me money. When I go home to England I just wander around like a zombied whore, going: "Pizza! Am I hungry? Salad! Is that a good idea? A yummy sandwich! I better buy one! More make-up! Then I will be sexy like that woman on the poster over there! But first of all I need to buy a healthy smoothie!" It's exhausting. Crap adverts are great, they give you the emotional and spiritual freedom to actually think about what you actually want in life without getting off the U-Bahn to buy a healthy smoothie every three minutes. But what I do hate is... rhyming in poster ad slogans. It is one thing to rhyme on an ad on telly. It's often quite a good thing to rhyme on telly. Kids and grown-ups love it so, the happy world of Haribo. Fine. Fine, fine, fine. BUT DO NOT DO IT ON A POSTER, FOR FUCK'S SAKE. "Diät machen macht Sie sauer, kommen Sie zu uns, das ist viel schlauer." For fuck's sake. That is so rubbish, it isn't even so bad it's good, it's just so bad it's absolutely fucking terrible again.
4) Over-utilization of smileys. I mean, the thing is, I basically want to sleep with a lot of German men. Maybe "want" is too strong a word. But I would, you know. Basically, if you're a man, and German, and you know me, there is a 60-70 percent chance that I will want to sleep with you. Until you add me on Facebook and use smileys all over the place like a Justin Bieber fan or somebody. Why do German men really really over-utilize smileys? It's so weird, especially considering how they never actually smile in real life.
5) We need applicator tampons. When you go home and use an applicator tampon, it's like flying BA again after seven years of Easyjet. It's a gorgeous feeling. Really luxurious. They just slip right in.
6) They shouldn't fine you so much at the Videothek, specially now we all got Veetle.
7) Remoulade on sandwiches. I always forget, and I buy these magnificent tomato and mozzarella sandwiches made with such high-quality bread and huge hunks of juicy mozzarella and thick slices of ripe tomatoes and I bite in and I just actually want to die. Stop putting remoulade on the fucking sandwiches. It's disgusting.
8) TV's really bad, and I wish they wouldn't dub everything, though I like the way that the German translators at MTV try to impose meaning and logic and content and stuff onto the things which the silly people on the dating shows are saying. It's kind of an art form, I always think. The way they subtly – oh, so subtly – improve the level of communication taking place so that it's not all totally, totally, TOTALLY meaningless. Still, MTV's subtle translation aside, I've been here for 10 years and I still can't believe how bad the telly is over here. It's appalling. Every time I watch it, I am appalled. I was watching a Krimi the other night, and I just thought: "Well, Jacinta, maybe it's not such a bad thing if this land does schaff itself up, after all, if this crap is the best they can manage in the way of murder mystery dramas."
9) School starts too early, you mad bastards. No wonder all the people from Bildungsferne Familien just let their kids stay home and watch TV all day. You have to get up at six in the morning if you want to make it in on time. Those Bildungsferne Familien aren't half as stupid as they look, I'm telling you.
10) Their oven gloves are a bit rubbish.
So. Abgesehen davon, I fucking love it here.