My life has been a whirlwind of travel since June. I’ve been home for three weeks and I feel like I’m just now starting to regain my footing and be fully recovered from the travel-lag. I was in the US for three weeks in June, home for about a week and a half before going to Greece/the surface of the sun for a week for KDE Akademy.
I was hoping that going to the US would give me a chance to regain some of my social confidence and figure out what I want to do with myself now that I’m living in Europe and am (physically) removed from so much of the work that I’ve spent the last decadeish doing. I had to register my web design business with the Finanzamt so I can continue to work with my clients and also have health insurance. Doing taxes in two countries was enough to make me rethink having my own business entirely but it wouldn’t be fair to me (or my clients) to end it just because taxes are a nightmare. I’ve worked too hard to establish myself as a WordPress-bender. But I can’t go to Oakland city council meetings (and I can’t vote in Berlin, or understand enough German to participate at the Bezirksverordnetenversammlung [district council] meetings) or be, you know, around, most of the time shenanigans go down in the US.
So without Activism(tm) what even am I? This is the question I wrestled with while enjoying the company of people who have known and loved me for years. I’ve settled on the answer I always settle on, which is both/and. I am an artist and an activist. I want to be known more for my art in Germany, but I won’t ever stop being an activist. The timezone difference is actually great for enabling me to engage in the activism I can (mostly through Kitchen Table Cult, writing, and WordPress bending), and having the space and time to make art again.
I want to finish school and I want to be an arts major, because I can. Unfortunately, Germany doesn’t recognize homeschool diplomas because they aren’t (and can’t be!) accreddited, and I didn’t finish my AA at Laney before the pandemic so I’m not really sure how to get started. I do have a couple leads and I have a plan (and 3 backup plans, the last of which is enrolling at Bard), but this is a multi-year project that begins with the German class I’m taking through Humboldt that begins at the end of this month.
I’ve been doing duolingo for 2 years and while it has been helpful and I can navigate basic transactional situations and can have a basic conversation in halfsies (I understand the German but reply in english because I can’t translate fast enough in my head), I’m not conversational and it’s really holding me back. In order to find employment (or, for me: get new clients), take undergrad classes at a public German university (goals) my German has to be at least B2. I’m at A1.
Coming back from the US gave me the clarity I needed to figure out what I want to do and also the confidence to find community here. I went to a life drawing event and a queer stitch ‘n bitch, and I’m excited to make these (or things like it) a more regular part of my life.
In the meantime I’ve decided I want to try to make A Thing A Week again. I finally set up a little studio in my room so I have a space that’s always set up to make art at. I don’t have any big travel plans coming up anytime soon, so you can look forward to more content like this: