Heather v. Germany, Round 6

So I was going to refrain from writing anything crazy lately, just haven’t felt up to it, but then two incidents this week have already set me off and now I’m really to fight people.  The Germans.  All of them if they want to.  It’s been so bad lately with a few select Germans that currently  I want to light my landlord on fire and make the Stuttgart Customs Office at STR cry like little girls.  Yes, I am hateful.

Let’s start with the more comical and typical incident of the two–an incident I just had at the Stuttgart Customs Office on my arrival home from a trip to Amsterdam.  I’ll try to be somewhat fair about this, but really, it’s just my luck to get strip searched at an airport.  Ah, yes, I said strip searched, as in down to my goodies. 

So there I was, coming off this trip to Amsterdam, walking down the ramp to baggage claim to retrieve my belongings, as this carry on idea is obviously too complex for me.  I cannot figure out what  100 ml  is and I was not about to get my lotions and such dumped in the trash twice in one weekend.  So into baggage it went and now I was there to retrieve it. 

So like I said, I’m in baggage and it’s late and the only people there were on my flight.  My bag is obviously last and so as I’m waiting, I’m listening to my iPod and checking my phone and then as I retrieve the very last bag I remember that I should probably try to use the facilities and so off I go to the bathroom.  Now, here’s where the fun starts.  Upon exiting the bathroom, I see four guards lined up in front of the door.  And when I say see, I mean kinda notice, but not really, because usually I insist on walking around like a 5-year-old oblivious child, and so I am unaware that they are waiting for me. 

(insert terrible German accent and lots of seemingly serious talk they are trying to make clear to me)  I don’t even bother with pleasantries. 

“English.”  I say nothing more.  I am not impressed with them waiting for me outside the bathroom and  they get the point.  I’m tired and I want them to leave me alone.

“We need you to come with us.”  I wonder if I’m in the next Bourne movie.

“Why,” I ask flatly.  I am still unimpressed and really, really tired. 

“We need to search you,” they said as they led me to a room by the arm.

“For what?” I ask as I take my Ifuckinghatewhenpeopleinvademypersonalspace ARM BACK, thankful that this is the one trip in the past year that I don’t have 4 random bottles of foreign booze and boxes of fancy chocolate in my bag, all that would typically go undeclared.

“Drugs.”   Oh good god.  But then I realize that they’re serious, and they’re pissed and they’re looking at me like I’m Claire Danes from Brokedown Palace.  I want to assure them some dashing foreign national has not charmed me with his accent in Amsterdam, bedding me by night and tricking me into transporting heroin or pot or shrooms or dildos across the border by sunrise.  I imagine they haven’t seen this movie, though, and won’t be amused or interested.  (in googling “heroine drug smuggling, I came across this fancy little comic that I got a kick out of. http://pixton.com/comic/j5fuut5w )

The room they bring me in is blinding and white and has no windows.  It has cold, steel tables, a few chairs, 5 German soldiers, none of which have a vagina (this will be important in a few minutes) and one of those slinky ass German shepherds.  That dog is so slinky.  It just creeps around all sketchy like typically, but right now, this particular one is near the table I know I’m to sit at and he’s alert and looking at me like he would just love to sniff me.  I think back to the last time I was told what to do if a police dog attacks you and I can’t remember what the correct behavior is.  Cry, I think.

So they empty my bag and take my passport from me, questioning me as to why I’m here and where do I live and where do I work and why and they seem disturbed that I travel every 6 weeks and so then they want to know about each spot I’ve been, especially Costa Rica, and so I tell them it’s lovely there, especially in Tamarindo, which is really pretty affordable too, but they cut me off and I suppose it’s best to not offer such fuckbags travel suggestions anyway.  Now all of my belongings are everywhere and they’re even running their fingers over my change and examining the dirt, dust and filth that has collected at the bottom of my bag, which isn’t pot, if that’s what they were thinking. 

“We’ll be back.”  They went to make a phone call and left only two of the guards and the dog with me.  I think this is the point where they were trying to break me.  I can’t imagine who they’d be calling.  Maybe the Embassy…oooh, I hoped so.  It’d be nice to have a suit in navy come breezing in with a briefcase and a smart pair of glasses, demanding this U.S. citizen (me, the damsel in distress) be let go and shame on you terrible Germans for wasting both of our time.  Or maybe they were doing nothing, just making me nervous, because at this point, I was beginning to convince myself I was smuggling drugs.  I started to hope there wasn’t a bag of coke in my makeup or a few joints stuck in a pack of smokes.  I didn’t need an endless supply of ecstasy mixed with my advil and I tried frantically to think of if some stranger offered to hold my bag for me at the airport.  Oh jesus, I had drugs in my bag.  I was going to German jail for sure.

They came back. 

“We need to test you.”  Cute.  Out came a kit of med supplies.  “Stick out your hands and your tongue.”  They swabbed my mouth and soaked my hands with solution.  Oh good god, what if I touched a cup that someone drank out of after a few bong hits.  I am so fucked.  The swabs didn’t change.  I was drug free!  Hurray!

“We’re going to need you to take off your clothes.”  Typically I like this kind of thing but right now, I didn’t want to strip for anyone. 

“I’m pretty sure you can’t search me without a female guard here.”  I have watched the fuck out of Law and Order and I would Jack McCoy them if I had to.  I crossed my arms and stared at them.  They stared back.  They spoke to each other in German.  GodDAMNIT I didn’t need another reason to hate myself for not knowing Deutsch.  Shit.

“There is no female officer until tomorrow.  You can wait for her until then.”  Oh good fucking christ I did not have a heroine balloon up my ass or joints in my skivs so I said fuck it and took my clothes off.  Shit, shit, shit, I thought.  My knees started to shake together and my hands were sweating and as I considered the horrors involved with a cavity search.  What if they stuck a mirror, like the little circle ones on a stick like they use at the dentist–what if they stuck one of those up my jage??  Shit, can they do that?  I didn’t bother asking, feeling it would only encourage them.  I was trying not to cry but it was cold and too bright and I was almost naked in front of the Stuttgart Customs Office and I really hoped they were amused because I was not.  Fuckers.  They’d pay for this one, with interest.

“Turn around.”  I heard twirl.  At least my underwear were acceptable, for once.  I was pissed.  How could they tell what I had smuggled up in my jage if I was just twirling?  Idiots.  I hated them.

“Ok, we’re done here.  You can put your clothes on.”  They jammed everything back in my bag. 

“Oh, you’re done now?  I can go?”  They nodded.  At least I had escaped the dental mirror trick up the jage.  That would have been awkward.

And now I’m fired up again.  I’ll save the light my landlords on fire story for tomorrow…..

And in closing, here are my six words of the day:  Doesn’t look both ways when crossing.

Coug central.

I am having a girl’s night with Tracy and Laura tonight and I am excited.  We are not only seeing  the late night showing of Twilight, Eclipse, but we are doing dinner and drinks.  Woo hoo.  I haven’t been to the movies OR had a girl’s night in the Stu in a while–should be fantastic. 

This is very fitting that I am going this evening as I was just trying to convince my sister to watch the other two Twilight movies.  She claimed they were for teenage girls or weirdos and I said, yes, that is exactly what I thought as well but I was wrong and so are you.  She still doesn’t seem convinced.  Like I told her, I am obsessed with Twilight and more obsessed with Rob Pattinson and so like a pack of cougars, we’re going to watch topless and blood thirsty vampires under the age of 22. 

Today Tracy and I were chatting on the phone, pondering why these movies never existed when we were kids.  The only two movies I can remember being in love with were License to Drive and Can’t Buy Me Love.  And while both were obviously awesome, they weren’t there to sell sex, more so just about getting the girl, or maybe I was too naive.  Furthermore, when I was 12-14, there never seemed to be a movie that showcased one particular boy’s abs, or were there, and I just wasn’t interested? When we were 12 and were watching any movie that had a cute boy in it, what were we thinking?  Certainly not, I want to take his pants off and teach him a lesson.  Ugh, I’m terrible, but at least they’re legal.

Oh but wait, they’re not.  That kid that plays Jacob is really only 17?  Oh good god, of course he’s only 17, look at his baby face.  Shit.  I should go wash my soul clean, I am a terrible person.  I looked up his wiki page just to be sure and ohmygoodgod, he was born in 1992.  I don’t know anyone born in ’92 and I certainly have never thought cougar thoughts before.  I don’t have cougar tendencies like some of my friends do. (You know who you are, Queen of all Cougars KM) I like men older than me.  I have no time for mommy issues and things of the immature nature and I don’t give a rats ass how much energy a 22-year-old has because it’s not going to do me a lick of good if he doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing.

But jesus, that kid Taylor is 17 and my luscious little Rob is 22.  I am a dirty, old woman.

So that’ll be tonight…me and two other 30-year-old cougars in a sea of 12-year-old girls.  We’ll probably be the ones drunk off wine, giggling and pointing and saying things inappropriate enough to get us kicked out. 

Looking forward to it.

Guess who’s coming to dinner?

No, I am not having a real dinner party, just a fake one.  It’s too hot for a real one.  You need proof?  Here is a pic tonight of my sleeping area in the living room.  I can’t even sleep in my bed on the third floor it’s so choke you in your sleep with dehydration uncomfortable.  And so TA DAAAAAAAA, my living quarters for the week— a camp ground, if you will….kinda like camping in house, but not breezy, no campfire, no marshmallows, no bag made for 1 1/2 meaning 2, no fireflies, no stars above….just air that is 12 degrees colder than the air on the third floor, which is where that sleigh ride to hell bed is. 

And so I sleep on the floor as I wait for Stuttgart to sell fans or for me to figure out how to install an AC unit.  AC.  How I would love AC but instead my house rules are stated almost daily–If it’s too hot, take off more clothes or spray yourself with the hose, Heather.  If it’s too cold, put more clothes on or get the spare blankets.  No one in my house cares if my hair frizzes like lightning came through or if my inner thighs are sweating unprovoked, or if I balloon up like a fat woman with child in the humidity and certainly no one cares in the winter if my nose drips and freezes as my fingers almost break off from frostbite.  That thermostat is not meant to be moved.

And I’m an awful person when I’m too hot.  The other night I was dying in the heat and needed everyone to know about my misery.  Announcing my discomfort has always been key in making me feel better and so the other night, when it was at least 103 degrees in my house, I expressed this in a number of ways to really highlight my point.  I rolled around with my arms flailing about, eyes rolling back in my skull in dramatic fashion, topless on the couch, sighing loudly like a sweaty troll, elevating my ankles that were attempting to turn into tree trunks, horrified the heat was giving me cankle disease.  Then I’d switch positions and hang upside-down off the couch, one leg over my head asking no one in particular how hot it was, and whining that the whole free world was allowed to have AC but me.  Even Moxie agreed, as we almost blacked out in the living room.  I pout when I am sticky and I want to live in the shower and I don’t want anyone talking to me when it’s above 90 degrees.  And no touching me.  I will slap you.  So, yeah, I’m a lot like a 5-year-old child when I’m hot, lots of FUN. 

The good part about sleeping downstairs, though, is that I can watch TV until I fall asleep every night, or while more likely while I sweat until sunrise.  Anyway, so I’ve been banging through episodes of Master Chef, an Australian cooking competition show that’s awesome for primarily because each show is just filled with fancy declarations like buggar! butchered! gutted! rippaaaa! (ripper, I think) cracka! –all delivered in a great, Aussie accent.  One day I will tape me doing my favorite words in various accents and post it because I am so tired of my accent.  I want to trade it in for a new one.

Anyway, on the show, the contestants occasionally get to cook with their mentors–famous chefs and restaurant owners and whatever the name of that job is when you’re an expert on wine that doesn’t sound like alcoholic.  So anyway, there’s this one contestant Jonathan that is completely gay for this one famous chef, Heston Blumenthal, and so he meets him and seriously loses his shit.  He’s smiling like a creep and giddy like a school girl and when Heston tries to talk to him he stutters and can’t form words and turns red and you just watch him expecting him to turn into the 10-year-old girl he’s behaving like and hopscotch off the set.  It was more than uncomfortable, especially when they did a few confessionals where Jonathan gets all I love Blumenthal cock and is just talking about him like he’s a real dreamboat and it’s all very cute and very stalkerish.  Seriously, his life was made. 

So that got me thinking.  Who would I want in a room if I got to have them all at one time?  Who are my Leave Me Speechlesses?  And so I spent part of the rest of the night planning my fake dinner party.  Here’s who would come and why.

David Sedaris:  So I already feel like David Sedaris and I are best friends and if I had more time to holiday, I’d be over in France stalking him.  David would be the guest of honor and I’d make him a crown and he’d sit at the head of the table.   He is hands down, my most favorite author and I would give up milk for a year to be able to meet him.  (seriously, I love milk)  He is one of the funniest people on Earth and I cannot get enough of his writing.  He does something I haven’t mastered yet…He writes about his friends and family like they are dead.  As in the truth.  I’m still holding out on unveiling how nuts everyone in my family is until at least a few more die so they can’t turn on me with group mentality at Christmastime.  Anyway, here is one of my most favorite stories, “Let it Snow,” which is actually a chapter in my most favorite book of his, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.  http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/12/22/031222fa_fact3 

My most favorite part?

 “Amy, in turn, pushed it off on Tiffany, who was the youngest and had no concept of death. “It’s like sleeping,” we told her. “Only you get a canopy bed.”

Sedaris is pee your pants awesome and he is always welcome at my dinner table. 

Gary Gulman:  I saw Gary Gulman perform back in 2001 maybe in Boston with Dane Cook, before he got all one million friends on FB and became all douchebag famous. (Not Gary, Dane)  And it was this, his bit on cookies, that got me all wet in the pants and made me heart him in a bad way.  Then he was on Last Comic Standing and I felt like I could claim him.  He was MY discovery and he would be famous, traveling the country in a van meant for comics, trying out material on each other in-between having ridiculously tall guy/small girl sex.  We would trade tips on hair gel for those blessed with curls and it would be amazing.  Then I saw him in Virginia and I heckled some annoying couple in the front row and he made the mistake of saying, “Hey mouth, quiet down,” which would normally turned me on but I was sensitive that day and so he was banned.   I’d still invite him to dinner, though.  Funny, funny guy.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI7FNAWXAL0

Anne Lamott:  I love Ms. Lamott’s style of writing and she is ruthlessly hysterical.  Her book, Bird by Bird, is inspirational and when you want to write and you’re in a slump, it works.  She’s honest and unpredictable and blunt and reading her books is therapeutic and thought-provoking.  She’s a badass hippie and I want her at my table.

Jon Favreau:  Mr. Favreau is Obama’s speech writer.  He wrote his inaugural address and I want to shake his hand.  It’s not because I voted for Obama and he won and it was OUR speech, or something weird and psychotic like that. It has nothing to do with the party.  Yes, I love politics.  Yes, I love speech writing.  And yes, I loved that address, but it had more to do with what the speech made me feel, which was happiness and hope and pride.  As I stood on the National Mall that freezing cold day, I listened to the President speak and felt goosebumps slowly take over my entire body.  I was tingling with excitement, electric even, and I couldn’t talk or swallow due to throat emotional overload at its finest.  My most favorite part was his, “Your people will judge you on what you build, not what you destroy.”  The crowd was either dead silent or you couldn’t hear yourself think roaring with approval.  That is fantastic speech writing. 

Becks:  Eye candy.  Plain and simple.  Dinner conversation and someone to picture screwing naked while eating dinner?  Yep.  And no, I don’t care if I sound like an animal.  Pants off, British wonder.

So that should do it for my first dinner party.  Idol and author, comedian, spiritual and inspirational mentor, political hero of the year and something to drool over.  Dinner party indeed.

And lastly, here is my six word memoir for today. 

She seeks neither permission nor forgiveness.

Scent of the Germans and six, tiny words

Last night was a lazy night in alone for me and consisted of a lot of story writing, Top Chef, and a few movies that fall under our “Drama”  section of our movie collection–the least watched collection of movies in our house, as I think they are only viewed by me, because I am the only person in this house that loves dramatic movies and actually doesn’t think sobbing through a movie is a bad thing.  Last night I didn’t sob, though.

I was too busy considering the ways I may be forced to fight crime in my neighborhood.  So there I was sometime around midnight, multitasking between Scent of  Woman and keeping my right eye on my front yard, where the motion sensor light kept going off and giving me a heart attack, because yes, I am 30 and afraid of the dark and kidnapping, German, knife toting intruders, surely the only thing that sets off motion sensors.   So first it was the light, then it was shrieking and then it was gunfire and by gunfire, I mean fireworks.  Then more shrieking and then my bushes started to move and jesus fuckme christ, I knew what was going on.  Those goddamned kids that spend their days smacking tennis balls off walls in front of my house were trying to blow up my mailbox again with fireworks.  I flew off the couch and quickly considered grabbing something scary looking off the knife rack but instead let the two killers out the front door and just yelled loudly, hoping no one actually jumped back at me from the bushes.

No intruder.  Just rowdy, loud kids, yelling obscenities at me that I don’t understand, running away fast as the sidewalk pop, pop, popped with little fireworks they had dropped to the ground.  I wanted to assault them.  I considered chasing them for two seconds but then remembered I hate running and it’s really not worth chasing a bunch of 16 year olds hopped up on German adrenaline from their big, 3rd place win.  Congrats, Germany.  You’re not number one, but at least you’re something.

So there was that.  I also did some writing and browsed a bunch of blogs to see what other people were writing about.  In stalking other bloggers, I cam across this website and it fascinated me.

Smith Magazine, some online magazine I had never heard of, is featuring this brilliant concept of  creating your own six word memoir.  As memoir’s biggest fan, I am in love.  I could read these forever.   It’s fascinating to read how people wish for the world to see them, or maybe just how they see themselves.   http://www.smithmag.net/sixwords This is jump up and down on the couch with happiness good stuff.

And so for today,  I am:  “Because it’s better to be memorable.”

Germanizing the office

Today I went to a German antique store with Tracy and it was a success.  It’s actually a shop that sells the estates of Germans of the deceased variety and it is FABULOUS.  I have never seen such great stuff–elaborate steins for 1euro, pewter plates from every village in the country, salt pottery with bright blue flowers, tables made of marble and granite, hand carved walking sticks, wein glasses of every color, lights, fur coats, purses smelling of rich leather and hard cover books in every language, all smelling fantastically of dust and mold.  I’m told the new shipments come in every Monday.  I figure by Wednesday the goods will be set out and so I have found my new lunchtime spot.  

Here are the fantastic things I bought today:

My very own Mercedes Prima typewriter, circa 1934.  Comes in a fancy black box with a tiny key.  Tonight or tomorrow I’m going to clean it with qtips and then maybe order a ribbon for myself.  It’d be nice to type a book first draft on a typewriter…but for now, it’s going to be showcased on my table in my office.  I LOVE this.  AND, guess how much??  TWENTY TWO  euro.  No kidding.

Next thing I bought is my new, wooden chest.  It’s my second hope chest and I’m thinking of starting a collection of them while abroad.  I think hope chests are a beautiful way to collect memories and I have plenty of things to store–things from my childhood, the quilt my 90 year old Meme made me by hand, things of my father’s, pieces I write, pictures of old friends, letters and trinkets and charms from around the world.   Maybe  I could find a chest in every country I travel to.  That’d be amazing.  This one was TWENTY euro.  Woooo hooooo.

Lastly, I came across a pile of different stationery sets, which was so exciting because while in Paris last month, I finally found a paper shop that sold the most beautiful and vibrant stationery with envelopes and actual paper, ribbons and seals and stamps, notebooks and pens and ink of every color of the rainbow.  I spent 100 euro on paper alone and figured I’d justify it by adding it to the list of things I collect–journals, stationary and globes, all displayed in the office.  And now hope chests.  I figure you can collect 5 things in life without becoming a crazy packrat and I’m only at 4 now and technically three of my collectables can fit in the fourth so it’s reasonable.  (this is in case I am told, You don’t NEED that stuff, Heather, which I am told from time to time.  Of course I don’t need it but c’mon, it’s pretty badass stuff)  Anyway, my new stationery sets come from a number of countries, it’s all old paper that sat on someone else’s desk but never made it out to the poste.  I will be happy to write letters on my thick and grainy and slightly off color paper, especially the set that is all GREEN!  Ah, I love, love, love stationary.  And yes, the more I type, the more I realize that I am such. a. geek.  I know this. 

And so my first trip to the estate market was a success.  If all goes well, by next month, four more trips, I will have filled my office and officially Germanized it.

Full-time resident of Deustchland and summertime goals

So I have officially lived in Germany for a FULL YEAR!  Wooo hooo, I made it!  Not that I had any concerns about my survival in the land of bier, brats, brot and hags, but you never know what could happen when you move across the world. 

So I figure I’m almost officially European at this point, which is great in a, I might get the EU flag tattooed on myself somewhere, type way.  I just love it here.  If it were up to me, I’d probably never move home, just stay here, country hopping for life.  Granted, I’d vacation more back in the States, but I heart Europe.  People are happier.  The land is cleaner.  The jobs are great and in a weekend, I can go to France, Austria AND Switzerland if I wanted to.  Sooo, we are here for five years and I not so secretly want to be a lifer.  True story.

I do want to note that though I have lived here a year, the only communication I can do still is at pub or maybe to a dog and I know, that isn’t impressive at all, I know.  I’m pretty ashamed but really, with all the work travel I do, I just can’t take a class right now…Maybe in October.  Besides, I do know some things.  I can ask for beer, a taxi, lemons, garlic, explain how I want my pizza made.  I know how are you, good night, I love you, a few swears.  I know how to say scholar and pine cone and I’m well aware that shower is douche, due to that whole hospital incident where I used the janitor’s closet to wash myself.  I think that’s about it, as the German doesn’t just grow on you and I am still considering taking up French.  Such a pretty language.  Or Serbia Croatian, which will come in handy when I move there next.  (Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, who knows)  Anyway….

So we’re right smack in the middle of July and the summer is just flying by and I realize I had not made or announced my summertime goals.  Goal making is like my love of list making.  I can make lists about lists and goal lists are my favorite, unless it’s New Years and then I’m not the biggest fan because of the pressure behind it all.  However, summertime goals are FUN.   Now, these are not my goals in life.  Let’s just clear that up.  They are my goals, though.  I just wouldn’t want anyone to think that if completed, life is complete because, well jesus, I do have some ambition.  So here are a few.

1. Make wicked mojitos for my next cookout.  I have no idea what the sugar to mint to booze ratio should be and I doubt the Walton-Kanes are going to give me their secret recipe and so I have decided that by end of summer, I am going to master my own mojito adventure. Nothing says summer like a nice, cold mojito down the throat.


So this should pretty much explain it.  Leg. Over. Head.  It’s not like I want to be one of those carny contortionists, though they are my favorite act in Cirque.  The contortionists always take it too far, like in that move where they’re lying on their own chin and both legs are bent over their head and it looks like their jage is going to snap straight in half.  Eh. Painful.  I don’t want that.  I just want to be able to pull my leg over my head and stand there.  I should mention my fascination with this move stems from that hideous film The Descent I was once made to watch.  The only good part about it was that husband stealing athlete stretching her leg over her head at the log cabin. I don’t know if I was in awe or having a lesbian moment but either way, it was inspirational and I think I can master this one by the first of September.  I’m pretty flexible as it is.  No balance, but flexible.

And no, it’s not to be used in a sex trick, either. 

3.  I need to use my dusty food processor and I want to figure out how to make the world’s best guac.  I’ve never even bought an avocado but I feel like if I made something in the food processor, it’d be good practice for using the fantastic mixer I got at my shower last week.  Yesssssssss, I got the pistachio colored mixer.  I imagine there is no end to what I can make with this mixer.  Maybe even this guac.  I think it’s just avocado, lemon, garlic, oil and tomato.  Can’t be that hard.   And just look at it.  I could eat BUCKETS of this stuff.

So there.  Three simple goals of the summer–one drink related, one recipe and one trick to master by fall that could potentially put me in the hospital.

Now, a blast from the past, my summer goal for the past two years:

THE FREEZE.  Fucking awesome.  I said to my friend Peter today, how fucking awesome is this and explained my desire to be able to drop the freeze anywhere I so desire.  He looked at me like I was a moron and said,

On a scale of 1-?

Yes, on a scale. 

a 4 for awesomeness so not that awesome, really. 

Then he looked at me like I was mental and went back to talking on the phone. 

His lack of enthusiasm will not stop me, though.  It is clear to me that I could win ANY and all dance-offs with this one simple move and that is very important to me.

So, add the FREEZE back to my list.  I’ll build up these biceps if it kills me.  I told him I’ll be able to do it by September, with the hopes that I’ll probably perform it at some country celebration.  Awesome INDEED.

And lastly, I am sad for the Germans today.  The game last night was terrible and boring and disappointing and we’ve considered driving to Spain to watch the game but ugh, I just don’t know if I can do the 12 hour drive.  Actually with no loyalty to either team, lots of work to do and the pool calling, I have decided.  There will be no Spain for me….

Until later.

This American girl….

Is proud to be an American….

So, in celebration of being free and living in one of the best countries in the world, oh and also beating the British, not having a queen, and in celebration of being independent, all day, every day, we are going to go over a few of the many reasons, serious and not so serious, that I love being an American gal. Let’s do this Tom Petty…


Small pleasures in life easily taken for granted, part one.

I can mow my yard and vacuum my floors on a Sunday and there’s not one thing anyone can do about it.  I could do it in my underwear if I wanted, and if you look in my yard, it’s your own fault, mind your business.  I can also have a family of garden gnomes and and Christmas lights and a Santa in my yard year round and no one can fine me.  Not that I would, as those garden gnomes are creepy and a Santa on your yard and unexplained Christmas lights during summer typically means you’re lazy or white trash, but still, I could if I wanted to and that’s great.

When you’re six, you can dream of being President, a dentist, a teacher, a race car driver, a football player or a pole dancer and no one can take that away from you. Though my dreams in life seemed to change with no rhyme or reason, they were mine and all mine to fulfill.  In fifth grade I wanted to be  President.  In seventh, an Olympic Diver, in tenth an English teacher.  In college, a sports broadcaster, an Arabic translator and Ambassador to somewhere colorful in the world.  Twenty years from wanting to be President, I just want to write.  In America you can change your mind a million times and there’s no such thing as too late to start a career.  Just the other day one of our parents declared, “I think we’ll just quit our jobs and work at Home Goods or Home Depot.  Less stress and shopping discounts.”  They are retiring and seeking a new life filled with garden mulch and fluffy comforters, the true pleasures in life when you’ve had enough of corporate America.  I think it’s amusing…

Point is, in the U.S., no one decides what you’ll be when you’re older, no one chooses what school to send you to and no one decides what color collar you’ll be by the age of ten and if you don’t become what you want to be, it is no one’s fault but your own.  I live in a country where hard work and determination are the keys to success and where an honest days work is something to feel proud of.  You are the master of your own destiny and that’s pretty powerful, too.  Well, I was born in a country where these things are true, or should be, but I don’t know how many people believe in all that anymore.  Hard telling sometimes.

So you’d like to be an ass all your life?  Sure, most of New York  chooses to be, and we all still love New York, don’t we?  Here are some fun things you can do and get away with it in the U.S.:  You can give the finger to some assclown in traffic and not worrying about getting fined later. (you cannot do this in the current country I live in, remember)  You can also call people a variety of colorful adjectives to their face and if done carefully in print– asshole, doucehbag, moron, cunt or dick and no one can do a thing about it, except your mother, maybe, if she does that mouth and soap thing still…..Now for those of you reading this NOT from America, let’s clarify…this behavior is prodiminently from the New York/Philadelphia/Jersey region, exemplified by the worst of all worst football (the sport played using a brown, almond shaped ball)   fans, and it’s not classy, true…but if you want to act like a douchebag to someone else, you can.  No one said you have to act civilized…isn’t that for the British?

Our cheese makes the best damned grilled cheese in the world.  I’m saying it now and standing by my opinion:  Cheese toast be damned.  And, I don’t care if American cheese is the most processed cheese in the world.  If you don’t believe me about the way it melts and goos in two pieces of bread, I will make you a grilled cheese with Kraft and you will be a believer, I. promise.

Religion.  I don’t have to believe in your God or any God or I can believe in unicorns and pixie dust and magic or worship a starfish if I want and no one can beat me, kill me, shun me from society or tell me what I believe in or don’t believe in is wrong.  You can be bat ass crazy, waving your hands over your head, speaking in tongues, crying yourself a river over your savior, saying Praiiiiiiise Jeeeeeeesus all you until you pass out.  You can form a cult and drink your kool-aid.  You can love Alla and Jehovah and spend your days knocking on doors and pushing your pamphlets, wearing your crosses or burning them to ash. Glue a fish to your car,  near drown your child in a pool full of umm, normal water, Monk it with your vow of silence, starve yourself into hallucination to purify yourself and rid your spirit of the badness, light a cat on fire for Lucifer, tie a red string on your wrist and call it a day.   I don’t care and neither does anyone else. 

More fun with freedom!  I can read every book on the world-wide banned list and I can burn them when I’m done.  You can pledge allegiance or not, fight a war, go to college or sit on the beach drinking beer and smoking weed for a decade, up to you.  Another fun hobby you can partake in?  Being a redneck, whether as a hobby or as a lifestyle, depends really on how much you love camo, hunting season and four wheeling, and on whether or not you live in the appropriate region. You can ride around in your truck with a shotgun in the back window, chewing tobacco and hitting up a drive-through that serves Jim Beam. Now granted, that last scenario described is typically done in Texas which could really be its own country, but in a sense it’s pretty bad ass and though  I’ve never done such, you can if you want to.  Freedom, freedom, freedom.  Where else in the world does that seem normal?

Now, mastering laziness and maximizing holidays. Though we have the least amount of paid time off, and therefore (I think) the largest number of insane people on Earth, we do know how to relax when given the opportunity.  The Americans have the art of bbqing and lazy Sundays down to a science.  I know the art of grilling meat, marinating meat, having a solid condiment selection, a good playlist, ample alcohol selection, a bonfire, and when it is appropriate and not appropriate to launch off fireworks from your backyard while sitting in the pool.  I am a master of backyard hammock napping, sprinkler hopping, ice cream truck chasing summer fun. 

Now, on a more serious note, voting. This is one American freedom with a value I may never be able to quantify.   I can vote in any election in my country with no fear of being persecuted or judged or killed.  My opinion matters and it’s powerful to know that I can make a difference.  In one election, I can vote for a conservative Republican and in the next, I can vote for a progressive Democrat.  I can vote by the issues and not for a party and I can sit in public with my friends and color the states as they turn red or blue on Election Night.  

And two last things that are most important to me.  I can run this big mouth of mine until I’m blue and no one can silence me.  I know most of what I say is random and useless and somewhat outrageous and I’m fine with that.  That’s me.   And last, last, lastly, in Heather terms, I am the boss of me, no one owns me, no one will ever change me, and I will always be what I choose to be—the good, the bad and all the in-between.  And in life, really, what else matters?

Now, all the fun and somewhat serious reasons I’m proud to be an American aside, I think it’s important we all remember one thing today while we eat hot dogs, drink lemonade and eat the hell out of some apple pie.  Some people in this world could never write half of what I just did or say any of the outrageous things that come out of my mouth, because the First Amendment is something they will never know.  Some people in this world will never get the chance to be annoyed that they had to wait an hour in the rain to vote for someone they’re not sure will do the job because they don’t even have the opportunity to stand in that line in the first place.  Some people give their life to have their voice heard.  Some people fight a life long war because they don’t have a choice and some people live in world where destruction and poverty and struggle is all they may ever know.  And so without getting too crazy serious, I think today if I am going to celebrate one thing, it’s the fact that as an American, I have the luxury sometimes of taking this thing called freedom for granted.  But not today.  Today I will be grateful and proud.  🙂

Now, let’s leave this post on a high note and rock out with The Boss and “Born in the USA”.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIekamBDiAw&feature=related

Nothing like a little Boss to kick off your Fourth of July celebration.  Happy 4th to all my friends and family back home!

Germany v. Argentina: It’s gametime, bitches

So normally I can get behind the home team easily.  And since my team is out of the World Cup, second choice would naturally be to support zi Germans, right?  Mmmm, on the fence. 

It’s not like they don’t deserve it.  They have one of the best (and youngest) football teams in the world.  Captain Obvious, I know.  It’s just that sometimes I find it hard to get behind the Germans.  Not only is this team kind of unattractive, which is unfortunately important to me in a very shallow, I like watching men in short shorts run fast, type way, but also, when the Germans gather in groups, I find it hard not to consider and evaluate the level of evil I could be dealing with.  I mean to be honest, if we were dealing with a bunch of German women kicking balls in a group, I would not even consider supporting them, those nasty, nosey, judgmental hags.  But the German men, I can’t decide.

But is it smart to cheer on Argentina at a German biergarten?  Um, no.  It’s probably about as smart as filling your windows with menorahs in December.  And the biergarten we’re going to in Stuttgart is going to be insane and full of drunk Germans.  Now the typical drunk German is usually pretty happy, but there’s no telling what could happen if I painted the Argentinian flag on my face.  And I do love a little face paint.

Now, we could choose which team based just on flags, that’s a fun game.  Isn’t the Argentina flag pretty?  What a  nice little flag they’ve got themselves.  And the German flag, it’s a strong flag, but black, really?  Black as your first color, most likely meaning evil.  I don’t understand and if I had time I’d look up the symbolism but for the most part, we’ll just hate on zi Germans because that’s easy and no one is really going to make me explain myself.  So if it were by flags, I’d be cheering for Argentina.

So Argentina has better looking men, a prettier flag and are favored to win. 

And so I will choose Germany, for three reasons.  1.  I like to pick the underdog.  2.  I do live here and it wouldn’t be right not to cheer for them.  3.  I would  just fear for my own life at a biergarten if they were to lose.

So at 4pm my time today, I will be in a biergarten filled with probably 1,000 Germans, in 95 degree heat and sun, near heat exhaustion, drunk, drunk, drunk on Pils and screaming my little face painted face off. 


Gypsies, Oregon Trail and when kidnapping is acceptable

Ok, ok, so it’s probably never really acceptable and for the most part I’d never kidnap a child, I’m usually all too happy to give them back–with a few exceptions.  But there are some kids, of the gypsy variety, that I want to snatch from the streets and take home with me.  Part of this stems from me wanting to save things, I know this, I don’t need a therapist, Moxie is enough proof.  The other part of this realistically has to do with my liquor intake in Eastern Europe and how it always leads to me being overly sensitive and overly dramatic about saving the world.

Then there’s this third element that I blame on my fourth grade teacher Mrs. Mitchell.  That woman knew how to keep kids occupied for hours at a time with this little invention called The Oregon Trail, good god how I love that game and in my adult life I’ve googled it at least 90 times, looking for the updated version that I could waste countless late night hours on.  I figure at the age of 30 I could figure out how not to get dysentery in Kansas (which jesus christ, can you imagine? to die in a wooden cart of a shitting disease?? My god, that’s so primitive awful I can’t even imagine) or drop a cart full of wax candles and churned butter into a stream.  AnyfuckingIhaveADDway, the point of this is that 1. There will never be a game better than Oregon Trail, EVER and 2.  The Oregon Trail is probably the first thing that made me think I wanted to be a gypsy in life, but the American pioneer version, which yes, I am aware has nothing to do with actual gypsies but jesus, this is my story and this is how my mind works. Welcome to crazytown.  Sooo, when I was nine I wanted to be a pioneer-turned-gypsy-because-they-wear-bracelets-that-jinglejangle (I was NINE) and now I want to save them.  Point of ramble.

I never wanted to snatch American homeless kids off the streets primarily because I never saw any (I lived in MAINE until I was 22) and maybe because the gypsy kids over here run a better game.  They really know how to make you feel awful and honestly, they seem happy with the smallest amounts of change and yes, I am a sucker.  Strike that, a humanitarian, a giver.

Meet my newest gypsy friend.  I don’t remember her name but I met her and her older and more aggressive brother, who I was not a fan of and I was not interested in kidnapping him.  I met her on the streets of Montenegro my first night there, a quiet night of mojitos before the rest of the conference arrived.  She was  a hugger and she has a smile that can warm the coldest of hearts, I can attest to this.  And she’s the most successful four year old businesswoman in Budva.

It was like a love story with my little buddy, and yeah, I’m aware that if it was a love story, then that little hussy was cheating on me all around town.  But really, her smile could charm you into ANYTHING and I fell hard.  She grabbed my hand the first time she saw me and swung it around like she wanted to skip down the street.  That didn’t last long, though, because then she was doing the thing where she rubs her hands together and makes an unattractive kissy face noise that I thought only Jersey hookers did.  (what’s up dirty Jerz?)  Anyway, I told her to cut it out and she put her hands on her hips and smiled and then ran away.

But she came back.  She always did.  The next time I saw her was the following night.  I was back at Grecco drinking mojitos and she found me, as I think that was her block.  This time, though, when she saw me, she came running at me and right before she knocked me over, she bounced, leaped and I found her wrapped around me in a big hug. (Think Patrick Swayze catching Baby in Dirty Dancing, only not sexy, just, well I don’t know, you get the point)  Well, this little move made me 1. love her and 2. wonder how she could pounce and leap like a gazelle when my vertical leap has only ever been two inches, awkward, I know.

Well this time I couldn’t get her off me.  She sat on my lap and didn’t want to leave and yes, I know she was also working the crowd but she was just so cute and I hated to think that she had to go home to somewhere terrible and so I let her stay and bounced her around, tickled her and bartered with her about what she could have from me and what she could not.  First thing she demanded in her very bossy beggarish manner was my engagement ring.  Smart kid.  I told her she couldn’t have it but we made a deal–she could wear it for three minutes (while we held her by the feet and made sure she didn’t shove it in her mouth, she was a sneaky one) and she could have my cheap silver earrings I got for $5.  I put the earrings on her, hugged her and let her go with 5euro.  She had a long night of begging ahead of her.  I really just wanted to bring her back to my hotel, shower her, let her wear my tee shirts, get her some hot chocolate and have her watch a Disney movie…Sometimes I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

The rest of the week continued on like that.  I saw her every night.  She always hugged me.  I always gave her something and there were nights when my friends had to pry her off me and tell her to go home and leave us alone.  Oh, and I cried but that was a night where I think I was drinking gin, tequilla AND mojitos so of course I was going to cry and say something dramatic like, “but I just want to take her hoooooooome with me.”  Jesus.  I’m a gem.

And while these late night blackberry pictures are shit, I love them anyway.  Them and my little gypsy friend.

Last thing–this song of the day is killing me for some reason.  “Dog Days Are Over,” Florence and the Machine.

I just want to dance, dance, dance in place to this song all night….maybe I just will. 🙂  Happy long weekend, everyone!