This past week I was in housing my boss found for me because I was only able to find apartments until the 24th and then starting the 1st. So there was a gap week where I stayed in his girlfriend’s room in a very old apartment building. She evidently studied art history, so I have been promised an art tour of Cologne with the two of them at some point. The weather has been rainy and really cold imo – I do not think one should be able to see one’s breath in September – so I’ve been jealous of the 70-90º temperatures at home. (At least today it’s supposed to be 75º and sunny!)
I’m going to need to go buy warmer clothes soon, especially since I think there was a shipping problem with the package that had my winter coat. I’m waiting for my bank cards to get sorted out, between opening a German account and getting a new American card after having my laptop stolen. Hopefully the new cards will show up in the mail soon! In the meantime I bought some thermo tights to keep off some of the cold. These may be the best tights ever. They are really comfortable, soft and have this really smooth feeling that seems like it will be less likely to snag and get damaged than tights/pantyhose/fancy thermo warm underwear.
Tuesday I visited the new apartment to pick up my keys and see Maria (the previous resident of my room) off on her trip along with some other people. We spent a couple of hours drinking beer and making jokes about the Schalke soccer team. That makes it sound very stereotypically German, doesn’t it? It was a lot of fun – Maria likes to “verarsch” people (make an ass of them), which reminded me of my family’s leg-pulling habits. It was nice to spend so much time laughing, and they made an effort to slow down the conversation when I looked lost so that I could participate. Although I like listening to Germans’ conversations at social gatherings, they tend to talk about things I’m not familiar with so quickly that I can’t do much more than sit there concentrating on the words flowing by. It was a really nice welcoming evening.
Wednesday I started working on a design for one of our clients, adapting the letterhead and business card design into a website, and that continued through the rest of the week. I can tell you that a critique in a foreign language that you understand just-barely-fluently is exhausting. The people critiquing expect you to be able to sort through their comments for the relevant bits, and do all the normal processing that you would of a critique in your native language – and I’m finding that it’s much harder to remember things for any length of time (even though I understand them) when they’re not in my native language. The feedback flies so fast, all you can do is concentrate and try to parse as much of it as you can and hope someone will sum up the changes. Fortunately Friday morning when I came in the supervisors talked a little about it in the morning meeting and now everyone agrees that it’s unproductive for everyone in the office if there are 5+ people arguing about my work in an overwhelming-to-me format, instead of doing their own projects.
Thursday night I moved into the new apartment, of which there will be pictures soon. I finally have a semi-permanent place to live. It’s really nice – I’m glad the people I’ve met here have almost universally been welcoming, helpful, and friendly. So that was week two of work.