learning german

What’s My Scene

And another thing, I’ve been wondering lately

Am I crazy

To believe in ideals?

I’m a betting man, but it’s getting damn lonely

Oh honey, if only

I was sure what I feel…


I spent half of the afternoon putting away old, non-maternity clothes. They seem like outfits from another life. Much of it is office wear. I don’t know if I’ll ever put those things on again. Some of it is clothes I bought in Australia more than eight years ago. Is it time to let that stuff go too? For good?

Since coming back from London 2 days ago, I’ve felt unfortunately adrift. I don’t know what I’m doing here – I’ve got no connection to this country with its foreign language I might not ever properly learn. We are trying to potty-train P and I don’t even know how to have the conversation with his Swiss-German carers at the kinderkrippe. Then there’s the stupid heath insurance (don’t get me started), the crazy-expensive everything. The slightly different culture that, while it doesn’t exactly grate, just rubs, giving a slight feel of unease, creating sore spots in unexpected places.

I read an article about Peaches Geldof’s death from a heroin overdose and it was upsetting. Maybe it was an accidental OD. But if two little children and all the trappings of a “very nice life” could not keep her tethered to it, could not solve the emptiness inside, the destructive urge for Something to fill that hole in the soul… Poor Peaches. I sort of understand, you see? And that’s worrying.

There was a lot of talk among my friends in London about the demise of the goth/alternative scene. A festival got cancelled and it seems to have been the catalyst for several people to say ‘over and out’ on the whole shebang. I “retired” as a goth several years back now but it still makes me a bit sad. One less thing to return to, to be involved with, albeit marginally.

I also read about funding being cut for women’s refuges in the UK, and I know similar is happening back in Australia. Along with a raft of other benefits cuts, the way the First World is treating refugees etc, that’s more upsetting. These are people that really need help – people without anything like the resources of those such as myself and Peaches bloody Geldof. What is the world coming to when we are edging the most vulnerable people in our societies ever closer to misery, destitution and even, in extreme cases, death?

Before I moved here, I was very concerned about feeling lonely, isolated, and poor, with a lack of occupation. And all those things have come to pass. I thought I’d shored up some safeguards against it, mainly to do with indulging my creativity. But I’ve found I feel too empty to write much. And I still don’t have that One Great Idea to spark into a novel. So I’m stuck tapping out the occasional blog and spending too much time on Facebook. It doesn’t feel like there’s any place for me right now. What’s my scene?




So long slackers!

My homemade cupcakes

Today was the last lesson in my “slacker” German class before Sommerferien (Summer Hols). I was planning to write a short profile of my fellow students anyway, and today we had a little farewell party where we brought food and sat around chatting. I found out more about most of them than I had in the previous six months!

I think I’ve mentioned what an international group it is. We started off with about 18 students but have dwindled to about ten… so, not meaning to be offensive in any way… here goes!

Ms Bulgaria – Looks like a cliche “eastern European” with stripper shoes, tight sparkly jeans, loads of makeup, big hair, fake nails with designs and diamantes (I’m jealous), possibly a boob job. I actually wondered if she was a prostitute for a while, but I don’t think that now. She is a singer – not sure if professionally or not (must look out for her on future Eurovisions!). Speaks v decent English and is pretty diligent with the German. Not a slacker.

Ms Croatia – Sits next to me. Scrappy and a bit tough. A real talker, if not much of a written-word sort of lady. She reminds me of some people I’ve known through the years, seems like she’d be fun to get drunk with. Has a son around P’s age and another one who’s much older (in his teens). Works in a shop I think. I like her. Although she sometimes seems slightly insane and Ms Somalia inferred/asked me once if I thought Ms Croatia had a drinking problem?! A bit of a slacker.

Ms England – Nice girl from Nottingham. She rides horses and is quite sporty with pilates classes, walking up mountains etc. on weekends. Works as a nanny for a Swiss family with two girls aged 6 and 8 (who she says “hate her speaking German” and ask her not to do it in front of their friends because it’s so embarrassing!) I targeted her early as a native English speaker and we exchange homework/notes if one of us misses class. Not a slacker.

Ms Algeria – I always thought she was a bit snippy. She’s one of the younger ones in the class (22?) and doesn’t speak English, which must be a bit difficult (she speaks good French and Arabic). But today she said her husband has told her “no babies until you learn Deutsch!” which made me angry and sorry for her. Also that she’s doing school/uni here studying mathematics and all sorts, which is impressive. Not a slacker.

Ms Sri Lanka – This lady is really lovely. And pretty good at German. She has young kids and wears a headscarf. I asked her if she was not eating today for Ramadan but she said there’s no fasting when you’re menstrurating. Good timing! Not a slacker.

Ms India – Don’t know much about her, she’s pretty good at the Deutsch. Is Hindu so doesn’t eat meat (Ms Sri Lanka made vegi samosas for this reason, sweet). She said she’s not continuing the class because she’s going back to Bangalore for 2 months for her brother’s wedding and then her husband says no more classes. Didn’t quite get the full story on this – if it’s financial, or he doesn’t want her to study, or to learn elsewhere or what. Not a slacker.

Ms Eritrea – I really like this girl. She’s also pretty young – early 20s I would say – and has children (one at least, more? not sure). She’s savvy and a bit gangsta in that she wears mull-leaf leggings, Lady Gaga T-shirts and a leather jacket (fake, I think, but who am I to talk with my Topshop model?!) I thought she was one of the queen slackers, but today she revealed that her husband laughs at her whenever she attempts to speak German or even gets out her homework book at home so she “gets nervous” and doesn’t do it. Fucking hell. What’s with these husbands?! A slacker, but with extenuating circumstances.

Ms Somalia – Sits near me. Didn’t know how to tell time on an analogue watch/clock – I said “dude, you’re in Switzerland!” Next class, she had a watch and asked me to set it for her and show her the ropes. She also took great interest in my German-English dictionary. Surely she has seen a dictionary before? I dunno. Plus there’s a funny relationship going on between her and Ms Croatia that I can’t quite work out. Not quite sure what to make of her. A bit of a slacker.

Ms Switzerland (the teacher) – She’s a funny lady with a somewhat whiney tone of voice that does her no favours. She is actually quite nice and friendly but I find her a bit small minded somehow. Eg: she gives us these needlessly fiddly little games to play, that I’m not sure really help us learn. Oh well…

Ms Australia – That’s me.

Absent today:

Ms Turkey – Reserved mum of three (or was it four?!). I don’t know her that well. One class she had to bring her 4 year old son and he was quite sweet. Might be a slacker, more likely just a busy parent.

Ms Indonesia – Tiny powerhouse with 2 kids who completely mangles all German words when she speaks. It can’t be easy – there’s surely no correlation between Deutsch and Indonesian (Portugese?!) at all. She has perfect English though. Might be a slacker.

Ms Peru – Used to sit next to me but hasn’t been seen for a while. I think she’s pregnant. Really struggled with the Deutsch. I think it’s a much bigger leap from Spanish to German than English to German. Plus most of us speak some English and can discuss/explain stuff to each other so she was pretty isolated. A slacker due to circmustance.

Ms Cuba – I almost wasn’t going to mention her as I think she’s attended about 7 classes in total. Was very friendly and smiley and always made an effort to chat for a while to Ms Peru. Slacker? Or is she doing another class? Very odd…

Ms Nigeria – Sits on my row. I’ve had some good convos with her in the breaks. She’s got 2 kids similar age to P. Has been in Switzerland 3 years and bought a house here (points! She said it was difficult because it’s difficult AND because having dark skin). She is a beautiful lady with a large diamond ring. She wants to go back to work (in HR) but says it’s nigh impossible with the language barrier and skin colour a bit too (her words). She’s a slacker, but blames the class.

I was thinking that now I’ve started my new faster-paced German classes that I might not go back to finish the module in the slacker class (we have 5 weeks off, then another 3 weeks to finish up). But actually I’ve grown quite fond of these women, although I don’t know if I’d quite call them “friends”. And now I’ve written all this, I realise most of them aren’t really slackers after all. Funny how your assumptions catch you out sometimes.

PS: My cupcakes were a roaring success, even the Ramadan-ers took one home for later 🙂