It's a funny thing, isn't it? This expatriation malarkey. At some point in your life you decided, for some reason or another, to move to this country, to abandon your homeland and to exile yourself. God knows why. And then, the moment you ACTUALLY arrive in Germany, you decide to start BITCHING. Bitching about life in Germany in general and the people in Germany in particular.
Bitching, moaning, whingeing, griping. Twenty four hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year, overandoverandoverandoverandOVER, again and again, forever and ever, constantly, continuously and ständig, Amen.
There are 13-year-old schoolgirls who bitch less about their lesbian P.E. teachers than you do about life over here. Any time an Ausländer does say anything even slightly, vaguely nice about Germany, you don't believe them. You just think they're trying to subtly let you know that they don't wanna hang out. "Awright, mate," you think to yourself. You don't wanna be friends. That's OK. You don't need to be too blatant about it. I can take a fucking hint.
But there are some things I genuinely love about Germany, there are honestly are. And the top two go:
1) Spießige Punks
How cute are they? I love them! A friend of mine lives in a squat in Friedrichshain, and she says that, despite the rat-nest hair and filthy kitchen, they all walk about in slippers. In summer! Aw. They're so cute.
And one time, when Rico was little, we walked past those punks at Ostkreuz and Rico got all excited and delighted and all the rest of it coz of their dog. He stood up in his Kinderwagen, and shouted with great gusto: "Bow-wow! Bow-wow! Bow-wow!" So this punk turns to him - and I'm not judging here, really I'm not, but this is a person, remember, who has decided that he wants to spend his life outside Ostkreuz S-Bahn station, begging strangers for money so he can buy booze, that's the decision he has made, and to be honest, it probably is the correct one, like, was soll's – so this punk turns to him, sniffs disapprovingly, shakes his head sadly, and says:
"Das ist kein Wau-Wau. Das ist ein Hund."
So now you know, Rico.
2) Open-minded Spießers
It cuts both ways, though. Just like how the punks are a bit crap, deep down, at being subversive, the Spießers are fairly rubbish at being all uptight and bourgeois. How many naked people do you see at the opera? I don't mean in the audience, but on the stage, for no reason whatsoever.
"Why's that naked woman just run across the stage?" I whisper to my boyfriend.
"It's not part of the plot," he whispers, back. "Just ignore it."
I don't know what it is about Anglo-Saxon culture. Ignoring naked people at the opera is not something we do easily. Me, I'm flickering my eyelids all over the place, secretly checking the reactions of all the well-heeled Zehlendorf grannies I'm surrounded by. And just like Sarah Palin – THEY DON'T BLINK. Imagine what our grannies would say if there were naked people at the opera. I think mine would probably have a heart attack.
At least she wouldn't bat an eyelid if a toddler said woof woof to a dog.