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in the zone
swing
amw
Ahhhh i just had my first real trial-by-fire speaking German. I like to try to speak German whenever i can, but since getting a job at a company that has a Business English mandate, i rarely get the chance to practice any more. I still go to my kneipe once or twice a week and exchange a few words between beers, but most of my deeper conversations remain in English. Wednesday night i had my first German class, and i was happy that at Berlitz Level 4 i was not at all out of my depth, but thinking about it now perhaps it was a bit too simple for me. Not because i know all the grammar or vocabulary, but because speaking contrived Hochdeutsch with a bunch of Dutch and Scandanavians isn't necessarily advancing my understanding of the Berliner dialect i hear in my daily life. But today, today i went to the doctor. And i was terrified.

The doctor is one of the things i have been putting off, because talking about health is pretty complex given my history. I keep saying "well, i'm not dying without the meds, so....." But after February where literally the whole month all i did was work, eat and sleep, i realized i needed to start getting off my ass and taking care of myself again. Before i left i looked up a bunch of terms i needed to know about transsexualism, hormone treatment etc, but sitting in the waiting room i was shaking. Although i am sure there are plenty of doctors in town catering to the ex-pat community, i just wanted to pop into the place closest to my house, and being in a less-hip part of East Berlin, English is not an option here. I needn't have worried. The doctor was super-friendly and patient, and - as is the case when people i talk to don't get frustrated - i gained confidence as we progressed and was able to say everything i needed. She gently scolded me for not coming in sooner, and referred me to an endocrinologist with "high priority" so that i can get back on my meds again soon. This is the sort of conversation i need to be having more often.

Walking home i reflected again on how i like my little viertel (neighborhood). Although i don't want to get a "real" (read: unfurnished) apartment here, the thought of moving down to the Friedrichshain Szenekiez, or Kreuzkölln, or to some snobby Prenzlauer Berg district or somewhere in the west kinda bums me out. I know the girls at my bakery here, i know the bartenders and most of the regulars at my kneipe, the lady at the coffee shop knows my order, H lives just down the road, there's plenty of graffiti and street punks but there aren't many hipsters... But because most of the ex-pats live elsewhere, most of the furnished apartments are also elsewhere. I love moving to new places and learning new areas, but right now i feel i haven't learned enough here. I am just building up the rapport with the locals, just beginning to get more comfortable stretching my conversations. I know i will be fine wherever i end up, but somehow this little corner of the city feels like home now.

Sigh. I guess this is my MO. I move to a place, i love that it's new and exciting, i start feeling at home there, then i'm torn between wanting a community and wanting freedom. I don't ever want to settle down, but there is a window where i am happy to stay because the connections are dancing in that perfect spot between superficiality and familiarity.

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