Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Score a point or two for me.

Score a couple of points for me making my way in German society this week. I am not sure if I'm winning  yet, but I got a couple of things done.

I made the bike trip to Ikea yesterday. If I had tried something like that back in the Twin Cities, I would have had to dodge the interstate and Mall of America shoppers. Thinking about it that way made me realize this was not such a big deal. I had bike lanes and sidewalks almost all the way - why wouldn't I go?
I made it in and out in 30 minutes and got enough shower curtain liners to last a year. I also managed to fit a floor lamp in the saddle bag, and did not get sleeted on. It was a successful journey.

Today I went to get a library card. I actually went last week, but learned that I needed not only my passport but also a copy of our apartment lease in order to get a card. So I got the passport and lease together and went in. I found the info desk and told the librarian I'd like to register. I knew this was the word for it (rather than 'to get a card') because there was an exercise in my German textbook where a girl goes to the library to register her sister.

That was about where I stopped understanding the language around getting a library card. The librarian gave me a copy of the rules and talked a lot about them and I nodded a lot. She looked at my lease and my passport with the residency permit page in it. Then she asked (at least two times until I understood) if I had received a document in the mail from the foreigner's office that also had my address on it. I guess the lease with my name on it and the passport with my name and the residency permit issued in Hannover weren't quite official enough. She asked a colleague, who then went and asked someone else, and they decided that they'd accept what I had brought, since they were dated recently or something like that.

They did, however, accept my Metro State student ID card. I brought it just in case, because there is a 20 euro annual fee for a library card, but it's only 10 euros for students. The librarian was a little concerned that there was no expiration date on the ID. I told her that I would be a student for at least two more years and that seemed good enough for her. In Germany people are students for what seems like a decade on average, so it was a safe bet that my ID from 2010 was valid.

Other than making all the librarians in my family proud of me, the point of me joining the library is to get books in English and Spanish, which they have, and then to check out kids' books in German to help me learn. They also have a lot of books for learning German, my favorite being Deutsch for Dummies. I didn't check anything out today though. I'd had enough of the library for one morning, and I had to bike home in the sleet.

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About Me

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Thanks for coming to my blog. It started as a way to keep in touch with family and friends, and now has become an ongoing project. I'm an American living in Germany and trying to travel whenever I can. I write about my experiences as an expatriate (the interesting ones and the embarrassing ones), and about my travels. There are some recurring characters in this blog, particularly my husband Brian and several of our friends. The title comes from the idea that living in a foreign country means making a lot of mistakes. So the things you used to do easily you now have to try over and over again. Hopefully, like me, you can laugh at how idiotic it feels. If you have happened upon my blog, then welcome. Knowing that people are reading what I write makes me keep going. Feel free to write comments or suggestions for future posts.