Me

When I moved to Germany nine years ago, the last thing I wanted to do was acculturate. Pseudo-intellectual conversations involving names like Kant and Benjamin nearly made me drop out of graduate school. So why was I leaving everything in the US behind to go to a country where even average high school kids can recite their philosophies front to back?

Why was I moving to the place made famous by Mike Myers’ skit featuring Dieter, he of the tight black turtleneck, greased hair and wire-rimmed glasses, who on his faux talk show once asked Kyle MacLachlan if he wanted to pet his monkey before breaking into robotic dance moves?

Most pressing of all, why was I going somewhere where people spoke a language I could never get my head around (and which Mark Twain once famously said would take 30 years to learn properly). A place where, when a person speaks English, he sounds so much like a B-movie villain, I can’t help but laugh out loud?

A lot has changed in the meantime. I no longer giggle when someone asks, Jou vant to pat mah monkey? Instead, I reply (in my increasingly good German), Deine Schlappschwanz? Oh bitte nicht! For another, I actually get to have these conversations now, since I’m recently divorced.

And that’s partially what this blog is about – documenting the strangeness that is mid-life dating in a foreign country. Because although I’d like to say I’ve come to know the Germans and their ways well over the last few years, being single has taught me a lot about these people that I’m not sure I wanted to know. Like their feelings about depilation (a Muss for both sexes!).

If dating is a labyrinth filled with false doors and booby traps, then dating in Germany is like wandering the maze blindfolded. The rules I could never figure out as a teenager – I met my ex-husband when I was 19 so I missed that whole decade of discovery in my 20s – are different here and I’m still feeling my way around in the dark to figure out what they may be.

 Despite my attempts to understand Zee Germans, to acculturate if you will, I still own zero black turtlenecks and absolutely no lederhosen (a misleading title, I know). I could likewise not give a hoot what Walter Benjamin or Sigmund Freud (I know he’s Austrian, but the accent fits) would have to say about that. That’s one thing that’ll never change about me: my total lack of interest in theories or philosophies, Protestant or otherwise.

I still can’t answer anyone who asks why I came here, but one thing’s for sure: I’ve got no plans to leave any time soon. And that’s the other part of what this blog is about – exploring the purgatory that is expatriatism, the limbo of trying to build up a life in a place that still feels too foreign to be home, but of having no home “to go back to.” Of being neither here nor there, but knowing there is nowhere else I’d rather be. Even if all the guys do shave their armpits.

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10 thoughts on “Me

  1. Janis Felidae March 5, 2013 / 10:08 am

    If you don´t mind a German kitty (me!) will follow your “adventures”. I love Germany and Germans being viewed with different eyes as it teaches me a lot.

    btw I doubt very much that any average German school kid has ever heard about Kant 😉

    with love from Germany, Janis

    • Milly March 5, 2013 / 10:09 pm

      Thanks for the follow Janis. As you can see, there isn’t much dating going on but a whole lot of adventures … and we’ll just see about that Kant when the Diva in Training finally makes it to the Grundschule here 🙂

      • Janis Felidae March 6, 2013 / 7:46 am

        ooh, Diva in Training 🙂 I hope you´ve heard about the German tradition of “Schultüte”? Your Diva will need one on her (I think it´s a she?) first day at school. Good luck on your ways, always!

  2. broadsideblog May 26, 2013 / 4:31 pm

    Good luck! I got divorced in 1994, six years after moving from Canada to the U.S., and similarly did not feel I could really return “home.” I did date a fair bit and re-married a few years ago (I’m in my 50s.) It’s possible! But being an ex-pat is very odd in some ways.

  3. Ginger February 21, 2015 / 12:33 pm

    Just checked with my kids, 3 and 13, and neither of them had heard of Kant. But then they are going to nursery/school in England … 😉 Glad I found a fellow Expatriot 😉

  4. Joyce September 15, 2015 / 4:22 pm

    Dear mylifeinlederhosen,

    I contact you regarding my email below for an interview for ExpatFinder.com.
    I would like to know if you could complete the attached questionnaire. Like I told you previously, if you accept we can add a link to your blog or some of your website and this interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers.

    Best regards,
    Joyce

    • LiebeMilly September 28, 2015 / 12:25 am

      Hi Joyce, Thanks for the contact. I’m still thinking it over as honestly, I’m not really an expat anymore… more like an immigrant so might not be the best fit for your site. But will let you know soon…

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