Things I’ve Learned (and noticed) So Far

  • Briefmarke is the word for stamps
  • Mailboxes are yellow
  • Bus stops look like hospital signs (giant H in the middle of a circle)
  • Trash cans are orange and everywhere
  • Taking your plastic and glass bottles to the machine that gives you money back for it IS A THING. Like, people wait in line to do this. It’s a WHOLE thing. I mean, we did get like 5 euros out of it which is enough to buy myself a nice lunch or two loaves of gluten free bread, so.
  • Gotta hustle across the street before the ampelmann does the T pose. Crossing usually happens in two parts if the intersection is big.
  • Germany takes personal information VERY SERIOUSLY in weird ways. Like, signing up for health insurance, a DHL profile, or setting up a Sim involves taking a video of me and my passport to verify that it’s me or one time passwords and authentication information is sent through snail mail. Even though I have a cellphone number for 2fa. It is nice not having amazon ads follow me everywhere tho.
  • I can actually work really well with people across 6-9 hours of time difference. I thought it would be harder but it’s actually pretty fine.
  • I know enough basic German to get through checkout in halfsies and accost the package delivery person in the hallway for my mail.
  • Funding Germany’s PBS is mandatory and I need to figure out how to set it up but it’s difficult and time consuming to copy/paste the form into translate.
  • My partner bikes to work now and I am not consumed with anxiety about it because drivers here aren’t nearly as murderous.
  • I haven’t heard a single gunshot since getting here and it’s so nice. I’m not anxious about stray bullets hitting us anymore.
  • I can afford to eat here. Not feeling like I have to ration every single piece of bread has lifted such a weight off my shoulders that I actually have the bandwidth to be creative again.

Money is still super tight. Turns out we’re in the wrong tax bracket and HR is a mess but that should be fixed next month. We have to move out of our temporary place (and find a permanent place, hopefully) by the end of April so the birthday massage is still on hold until we settle somewhere and can afford to do more than pay rent/groceries/bills. Hopefully that will happen soon. In the meantime, my leisure activities are Minecraft, coloring, and saving apartments on immobilien for my partner with the German last name to send emails about.

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