Today when I was going home, it was one of the rare times when I think on a Friday night, “Geez, how nice to not have anywhere to go and not have company!” Since then I have been lying on my couch and looked out of the window where the moon rose beautifully but in a speed too fast for my camera to capture it. I have been so lazy I did not even have the energy to find and watch the latest Modern Family episode.
Only seven days ago, I set foot on Gotland for the first time in my life. Since then, I have met Linus and Elena in Hamburg who both introduced me to friends of theirs that reside in Hamburg. I used to be The Grand Connector (only minor delusions of grandeur, this is actually based on facts) and I believe I have quite some friends who I brought together, I love seeing when my friends like each other. I got to know today that two of my very close and beloved friends, American Emily and Swedish Michelle met today in German Freiburg. So now Emily has met Michelle’s boyfriend while I have not. What’s going (wr)on(g) in my life? 😮 Anyway, my visiting friends at least introduced me to new people so maybe I am the connectee now instead of the connector.
Meeting them was of course lovely even though the evenings entailed further sleep deprivation. Linus sat on a Schanzen balcony with me and tried to teach me the Swedish Lidingö i-sound (in vain so far) and Elena and I toasted with rosé and beer a day later.
Today was finally Friday (I wish I did not anticipate that so much) and Hamburg schools have finally gone on summer break. In Germany, we have 16 federal states which means we have 16 different summer break times. You think that is complicated? Well, you haven’t heard about that we kind of have 16 different school law systems as well and 16 different paces of introducing a spelling reform. We have some very rich states and some very broke ones which made us invent the “Länderfinanzausgleich” in which the rich have to give money to the poor. In practice that means Baden-Württemberg gives money to Berlin to then constantly complain about Berlin’s spending habits. (Probably a manifestation of envy because Baden-Württemberg will never achieve the cool reputation Berlin holds?)
We also have a shocking discrepancy in amount of holidays, in Bavaria they have 15 public holidays while we in Hamburg have about four. No one reimburses you for that if you do not consider the fact of escaping from living in Bavaria as a compensation in itself.
If you ever hear, “Das ist Ländersache”, it means the federal states is responsible for the politics as opposed to “der Bund” which is the national government. This is also why the elections in the Länder are very important and since we have 16 different dates and years to vote, Germany is – kind of – constantly in a political campaign. Sometimes I think it’s hard to feel like a united Germany with all the scatter-conglomerate but then again, we have football if we need to feel like one. Someone coined the, in my eyes, excellent slogan “When 80 million become one team” for this world cup. See last paragraph. (Also, weren’t we 82? Were did the 2 emigrate to?!)
So Hamburg is finally off school while large parts of Germany have three more weeks to go. This means both our bosses and customers work less which led to my colleague turning into a juke box. We got to send her music requests that she then played. Needless to say, they did to a large extent not share my taste. They also do not know me at all which showed when one of them said, “Do you listen to ABBA?” Eh, I am ABBA. I have sung ABBA upon request to tourists. I claim that any situation in life can be described by an ABBA quote. And of course, I requested Dancing Queen. (I was trying to take a song that’s widely acceptable, otherwise I would of course have gone for advanced ABBA such as When I kissed the teacher.)
This weekend I have (yet again) a plan to get this place into sparkling order (if you can say that at all), oh, get my life in perfect order actually, and I am having a bunch of people coming over. First Ingrid for brunch tomorrow (I only have cheese, Inge, just so you know we need to buy food!) – I have not seen her for like 4 days which is way too long -, then Silke at night – I have not seen her in forever and am excited to get to hang out with her -, then the Swedish kids from the church (kids as in born in the 1990s), and then as the weekend’s crowning glory Joraine who will have to watch Germany in the finale with me. I can assure you, almost all of my soccer desinterest has flown away, I am nervous, excited and feeling very German about Sunday, 9 p.m.!