Friday, October 30, 2009

Rats in the drain

Sometimes life feels like a series of walls that seems like they should be easily scaled but then i realize my climbing skills are not what they are in my head.
Literally, today i tried to break into my apartment.
Let me back up, last night i couldn't sleep and lied in bed trying to force the muscles in my neck to unclench. I feel very alone. the clocks ticking was like the beating of the terrible poe heart story. ugh.
back to the funny.
I had been asked to leave the key to my flat in the door so that a man that cleans windows could get in? The sprechen zie enlgisch and sprechen zie deutsch not so much, anyway I did as requested and when i came back the key was gone.

this week has been long. stressful. everything going wrong, right before the period, ate a whole case of knoppers. What am I doing here? Hayley said to me knowingly, that it's hard, no one knows how hard it is to go to another country alone and just be alone. except for people that have done it.

I almost stepped on a rat climbing into the sewers and I screamed and jumped and then felt stupid. But, it was big! It's fat rear and long thick spaghetti like tail slurping down into the grate right next to my foot.

I hadn't slept, I'm eating crap and sporadically, nothing but diet soda and chocolate for days then suddenly a huge cafeteria meal and lots of cheese. my poor little tummy. It doesn't handle stress well. I've slammed into every imaginable hang up with this scholarship application, which is last in a chronological list of brother and sister stories involving my initial school application, visa, german classes, registration etc. and i was responsible somehow for a halloween party and i'm flying to london tomorrow at 530am. my brain feels like pieces.

all i wanted was to disappear. and then the door was locked. I thought, this is silly. i should be able to overcome this. so that's how i found myself scaling up the back of my apartment to get on my balcony wondering if the neighbors will notice and if so if they'll call the cops, no and no but the balcony door was locked.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rain on my furry hood

Things are losing their newness, or my eyes are losing their new baby sheen. Today i woke up on my own sure i had slept in but then pleasantly finding i had gotten up right on time. I bought a new coat, gray army green slightly poofy but not bulky. i hate when i feel trapped in clothes, the jacket too stiff on my elbows or some other restrictive capture. it has a hood that snaps under my chin and hangs a rim of fake fur right on my eyes. it makes me feel like a little kid and falls almost to my knees.
i always wondered about my identification with clothes, if it was shallow and superficial but i can't get beyond their reality. we touch the cloth and feel it hugging our bodies more than we touch anything else and their concrete reality and detail can be liberating or entrapping. i feel safe and silly and warm in my new coat that looks like an old one.
I caught the right bus on time, waited for ten minutes with a little boy about ten. he started humming to himself while we stood standing there in the leaves, the sky a pearly overcast. Is it odd to feel close to strangers who are busy pretending like they don't know i'm there?
I rode the familiar route to my school, a long narrow former factory that has a few restaurants before it turns into an art school with sliding glass doors that i'm sure one day i'll be unaware of and ram into while one of the austere german boys smoking in their pea coats and oversized beenies will watch. it's ok, i have briget jones like clumsy honest charm.
down the hall were ray and simona, luiza and pedro showed up a little later.
Ray is the ultimate nice guy from Taiwan, helpful and considerate and self-deprecating and unassuming, Simona is an art student from Romania and is strikingly fae, pale eyebrows hair and skin, luiza and pedro are a happy couple from brazil who are following their dream to come here, pedro has a long brown ponytale and is sports a comfortable i'm-the sound techie guy aesthetic while luiza sports business chic meets 90s rockstar. We all sat through what was to me an unbearably long and indecipherable intro to renting recording devices, after which ray and i grabbed a quick 2 euro meal in styrofoam and literally ran with it dripping in our hands for a bus.

Today was the first day that i traveled outside of bremen since i got here three weeks ago, we were checking out a class.

The trainride was beautiful, drenched green fields, abandoned lonely crumbling structures interspersed with wind power sentinels and quaint equivalents of suburbs and sheep.

The class was moving at the speed of slow, it's a required course and the teacher is supposed to be an easy grader. it's a waste of time except its a hoop you have to jump through. it makes sense to jump through the easiest hoop.

Walking home behind the the carnival going on, getting drenched but my little coat kept most of it off me, though my fake seude shoes made sponge noises suctioning off the damp cobblestones, smelling sausages and licorice hearing the dance music blasting from every ride dulled and mixed with the sounds of people laughing i couldn't help but smiling. I dont know why, nothings changed but i felt wildly optimistic about the future and happy to be walking myself home late at night in the rain.

it's such a tenuous balance.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


When I was younger I read this book called the changeling. I tried to find it on the internet just now and found a million other books with the same title. Popular young adult fiction title apparently. it's about a half-human and half...elf? girl. There was a description that came to me last night.
She didn't know that she was half and half, she thought she was like everyone else, except she was a little slower with illusions, but when it comes to everyone's attention they decide to shrink her back into a baby and switch her with a full-blooded human baby. She doesn't want to and starts shaking her fists and screaming which is exactly what babies do. But she's stuck and the only way to make it bearable is to forget everything that she used to be and everything she knows and start again.

so there i was lying in bed completely alone in this big empty flat with really high ceilings. and i realized i just have to make myself forget as much as possible utah, for the time being at least otherwise i won't be able to be completely here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I'm being a baby

today i saw this little baby shrieking on the bus while his mother held him and tried to sooth him. His little body was going through tremors shook by ferocity of his feeling, his wrinkled little red face swallowed up by his giant mouth, his wailing a defiant but futile protest against the indignities of the world, or the cold, or whatever it was he was protesting with such fury.
a little waft of that sweet baby smell and a glimpse of his perfectly formed little fingers garnered my sympathy. there there little baby, i thought. i know just how you feel and i wish someone would wrap me in a blanket and take care of me too.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


i should be asleep. i have school first day. there's a lot to take care of. but i can't sleep. my mind is racing a thousand miles a minute. so many things that i should think about and none of them things i want to think about. i thought i might find something releasing or distracting on this addiction of mine but there was as always when i really want something on here, nothing. no answers here. it's just as well. i'm gonna lie back down and pretend it's not 530pm where i've spent most of the last five years and in the place i'm used to sleeping.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Something Changed

So today was my first day in Germany. Marlena drove me to my new school, and i was apprehensive because I knew all my ducks weren't in a row. It was a rainy day, scattered showers but continuous cloud cover. Marlena has done so much for me, picked me up from the airport, given me a place to stay, fed me, shown me around, etc.
As we pulled up she pointed it out to me, there was a huge converted factory that had shops and restaurants, and apparently the school I had bumped into on the world wide web and applied and possibly been accepted to. I have to say, my penchant for old buildings, particularly factories kicked in and I loved it at first sight. The inside was slick and earthy at the same time, white walls and high ceilings and glimpses of art through glass windows. The nice (looking) German boy spoke rapidly and incomprehensibly (I'm working on learning German, but only started in earnest today) to Marlena and then glanced at me and said "Cheers." We had been directed upstairs.
On the third landing there were groups of people waiting outside certain doors. All the signs were in German, and all the people were speaking in German except what looked to me like a Korean girl with a smartly dressed Korean mother who were speaking Korean. But hardly anyone was speaking. Mostly they were just standing still, looking hip, and waiting.
Several things struck me.
1. I had never gone to an art school, I had done art programs at art schools in high school and had considered applying to art schools for my undergrad but then dismissed that idea as too self-reflexively absorbed in one tiny thing when there was a whole world of knowledge out there. So I had gone to BYU and fully invested in and enjoyed my G.E.'s while knowing they were definitely draining time from ever focusing on my art completely. But this, this was an art school in every sense of the word.
2. I had done very little to get to this point and was not very invested in this whole idea. I had a wonderful and easy and passive life in provo since graduation and had dinked around for a year, working and then not working without any clear idea of where I was going. I had gotten mildly depressed, and had been more than mildly bored when I had stumbled onto this application to this art program. The application had cost no money and was all submitted electronically. The biggest commitment so far had been the $600 plane ticket. It had been almost impossible to muster up the energy and focus to pack up my life that I loved, and I passed through all the goodbyes as though they were not real or final. I had known that there were probably huge problems with my paperwork with the school but had not bothered to fix them, aknowledging them only to airly dismiss them, if the school doesn't let me enroll then I would simply play in Europe for a bit, then come back to the USA and apply to more grad programs, ones that actually grant me the coveted middle initial so important in America. (MFA vs MA)
3. As I stood there, watching one low-chromo costumed applicant walk into the office after another, waiting for my fate to be decided, I suddenly knew that I wanted this. I wanted this bauhaus styled converted factory with it's elitist looking group of students nestled in this quaint little city. I wanted it and I was afraid I miffed things up, and I hated standing there, wanting it and not knowing yet if it was still in reach.

Finally the door opened and I was admitted. It became clear that language would be a problem. I had gotten an email telling me it would all be in English, but nothing so far had been in English, and the secretary's English was not entirely comprehensible. My German consists of Danke and Bitte. The classes apparently are in English, but just for the Digital Media program, everything else in the school, the finer arts and the music are all in German.

It became clear that there was a problem. In order to get my letter of acceptance I had to print off all my documents and hand them in. I had sumbitted them all electronically, so they needed to see them in person. There's only one problem, i don't have the real version of my diploma, just an electronic copy which isn't enough. So they agreed I could give them my copy, but I had to go and print them off and bring them in (Why couldn't I just show them the copies on my computer? I dont know. ) The office closed in an hour for the weekend, school starts on Monday. In order to become enrolled I have to show them my visa, which I can't get until I get the letter of acceptance, which i can't get until Monday when i bring them in my papers. On Monday, there is a Freshman Orientation all in German, so I won't understand more than two words, but there is a free breakfast.

And I just found out I have to talk about 20 pieces of artwork and perform some tasks on my first day with the digital media program, tuesday, and I may or may not have classes starting then as well.

So we left and I printed off everything that I need to turn in on Monday, following which I need to worry about 1. Visa 2. Health Insurance 3. A job--looking into teaching English seeing as it's probably the only job that I CAN get. Posted an application online and responded to a few websites advertising positions. Here's hoping! 4. A phone. 5. A permanent place to live. I'm not sure how long I can stay at Marlena's flat until it's rude....she has an extra floor in her aunts flat that i have to myself and it's about 4 times bigger than my shared apartment with Lindsey was back in the states.

I'm supposed to go dancing tonight, leaving any minute. I'll meet some more Germans, Marlena's friends and sweat at a German dance club that plays "really good rock music." I honestly don't feel like it, I'm sick and a little jet-lagged but I feel like I ought to get into a life here as soon as possible. I can hear her coming down the stairs now.