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About ExileAdventure

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  • Located Frankfurt am Main
  • Nationality American
  • Gender Female

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  1. ExileAdventure added a post in a topic: Americans wanting to move to Germany   

    I don't want to rain on your parade, especially if "you've been wanting to move to Germany your whole life", as you - but ... As someone who has lived in many, many different parts of the world, both as a child and as an adult, what first strikes me from your post is the glaring omission of the most basic, and fundamental, part of all:

    * Namely: are you even allowed to live and work in Germany? As an American, you're surely familiar with residence permits (aka, green cards) without which you cannot legally live and work in the US. The situation is not any different in Europe -- you cannot move here simply because you wish to! Do you have a German passport? Or German family?

    * And: obtaining a permit here is not easy, especially given the socio-economic conditions in Europe currently. I work with this stuff, and I see it daily.

    On another note: yes, the language barrier IS an issue - on many levels. If you were, say, an engineer it would most likely be less an issue. Someone working in advertising/marketing, however, obviously very much needs proficient, even excellent language skills - and there is as yet not enough solely English-language work in these areas for you to, with luck, find a full-time permanent position of that kind. I work with the German branches of 2 of the top international media firms and at the very, very least they expect a B2+ level in German - and proven (i.e. test scores).

    As to your hubby: if he has zero German skills, then yes, the situation would likely be dire. He'd have no choice but to learn it from scratch - a tough, slow road to hoe. On the bright side, a Chef might need the language less ... but on the other hand, Germany is not the US and Chefs generally follow a closely-monitored system of study ("Ausbildung") that is expected. Getting a good jon without all that is probably quite tough.

    So good luck, but your goal seems pretty unattainable s you've described it. Best bet: visit the German consulate ASAP.
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  2. ExileAdventure added a post in a topic: Relationship/co-parenting with a narcissist   

    Hi, I just have to add my 2 cents her because this post and entire discussion made me so sad -- as a mother, wife AND chid. Sad for the poster and the baby boy.

    Look, I grew up with not one but two narcissistic parents. Since they are both total narcissists, this made their relationship completely insane and affected everything, our entire family life, which was pretty much a nightmare. For a long, long time they were actually very much in love with one another but in a very Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald or Liz Taylor/Richard Burton kind of way: they fed off each other's narcissism and, when things worked for them, it was always 'them' against 'the world' -- which often included my siblings and I. Topping that, they were (are) extremely charimastic, talented and successful people, each in their own right, and to the outside world they were fascinating, unique and original. Many, many people envied us, my siblings and I, and many from our childhood believe they had reasons to envy us to this date. But it was horrible for us: we were either extensions of themselves or they didn't see us at all. If anything 'bad' happened to any of us, their first reaction was always 'what are you doing to me/us'? They were, simply, the center of the universe.

    Then with time their love-drug relationship deteriorated and around the time I, the eldest, was 23 they finally divorced. I was incredibly happy,and relieved, but, of course, their separation and divorce was also a nightmare, a true War of the Roses, a volcano that sucked in everything and everyone, especially my siblings and I. We're all still dealing with the scars.

    But here's the thing: not only did this do nothing to abate their individual narcissism but, with age, it all actually got worse. To the point that a few years ago I made the painful but necessary decision to simply disconnect myself from my father completely. Why him? For one, because his narcissism was the worst of the two (though my mother's wasn't far behind!). But also because, as often happens with men, it increasingly took on violent form : emotional, psychological and physical. And that's where I completely draw the line, especially now that I'm a parent myself. My moer, for all her quite obvious and noticeable narcissistic characeristics, at least TRIES while my dad is too blinded by his to try at all. So that became my dealbreaker.

    The thing is, I'm a very good mom and people continually comment on that and on my kids and how I manage. My answer is always the same: i've never forgotten the helpless, hopeless powerlessness of being a child with narcissistic parents and so my number one priority is always on the child. They have no voice and yet they have a right to a voice. My own husband is as far removed from narcisisism as you can get and he's a fantastic dad.

    So bottom line: of all psychological dysfunctions, narcissism is probably the one most impossible to 'cure' because it's a Catch-22. In order to change and heal and grow, a person has to first admit there's a problem and then have the humility to accept help for it. But narcissisms by very definition are blind to everything but themselves, so they simply refuse to see the 'me' in the problem and ths reject any kind of true help. Along the way, the people in their lives are relegated to blind spots.

    Get out why you can. You'll be protecting your son, who needs and deserves your protection. You'll also be giving yourself the chance at a real relationship, where two 'egos' have equal space and not just one. This in turn will offer your chance the example of a healthy relationship, which he needs in order to build his own in the future. My siblings and I hd each other: we were great friends as well as co-conspirators, mutually protecting one another from our parents' excesses. This laid the groundwork for our own future relationships and so far, we've been lucky. But everyone needs a model of some kind.

    Lastly, in my case I at least had extremely 'moral' parents. For all their narcissistic craziness, they were, and are, good people in the general sense. Your husband, on the other hand, sounds and behaves like an ass and this whole incest/child porno thing is too much, too wild and dangerous and , frankly, amoral, to accept in any way at all. Think that this is only the beginning. How can something like that end up?
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  3. ExileAdventure added a post in a topic: Why are German children so unhappy?   

    well, I'm a teacher and I work part-time at a semi-private (German bilingual) school with 9 year olds, plus teach workshops for kids from 6 to 13 and have about 10 private Gymnasium students. Because I'm in Frankfurt (perhaps the most diverse of German cities) at leads half, if not more, of these kids are first-borns from various backgrounds--a few Turks, but mostly from Iran, southern Europe and many Eastern European countries, as well as Russia. Their socio-economic background is quite diverse, too. I love kids and my own cultural and familial background is extremely child-centric and family-focused, so I've bonded with most of these kids and I pay a lot of attention to their lives, to how they live and the things they tell me. In the US I worked as a counselor for quite some years, too. And I've worked with kids, still do (summers) in several other countries. My own kids (8 and 10) are at a very progressive German, German-English bilingual school with an in international Abitur, where about 75% of the kids are 'very' German (i.e. no 'mixing') though mostly from the kinds of families actively trying to avoid the traditional German school system.

    So I think I've got a bit of insight into this topic, because it interests me and I work with it and have observed it from the first day we came here.

    This is what I see: the first-born non-traditional kids are quite obviously (for the most part) much looser and freer and 'happier' (however you define that) than the kids from 'traditional' German households, and this difference becomes increasingly ore obvious as the kids get older. Objectively, as many have pointed out, Germany today 'should' be a great place to raise a kid, who 'should' be quite 'happy' - it's clean, orderly, safe, stable, not too expensive, with solid, fresh food, family holidays and quite a bit to do (despite the smallness and awful weather!), and younger kids especially relish all this. Sure, in Houston, Texas, for instance, my kids went swimming virtually every day, we had an incredible (and ridiculously cheap) Children's Museum, Children's Festivals, cowboy ranches and working farms etc full of stuff kids here can't even dream of : it was all simply a lot more 'fun' - but it was countered by constant fear of violence and insecurity and parents scrambling to massively safe for college and parents bogged down by debt and jobs without 30 days mandated vacations. So I guess it's all a balance. On the other hand, what I notice is that despite all Germany may have to offer, as the kids get older and enter the (awful, to my mind) school system, they express more and more stress, less and less freedom and get caught in a sort of robotic and bureaucratic understanding of life where there's no room for just 'being' or experiencing fun. In fact, when I listen to the older Gymnasium kids, even ones close to or doing their Abitur, what always strikes me is how 'dull' their lives are! Both in and outside school. At that point most of them are (inexplicably, to me) learning English through learning about the US - they read American books, some for teens, and about American high schools and American teens' lives and American history, culture etc - I've taught English in many, many countries and have never seen the language taught with such an emphasis on
    another culture! (and yes, I know that in younger years they also get it taught via England, Australia etc) and I sometimes wonder if this strange focus is one of the reasons why, when I get them at, say 20-something, so many express a distinct dislike for or suspicion of English-language countries, especially the US. They've had years of it being rammed down their throats! Why can't they learn English in ways relevant to their own lives, their own culture? Anyway, I digress..

    I guess my point is: being 'unhappy' may be a part of most teens' life, it kind of goes with the territory. You're questioning who you are and your place in the world, a world where peer pressure is huge and where you may fit you don't fit in. So I think a school system so inflexible, so uncreative and so out of touch with the 21st C is bound to simply make that perhaps universal experience that much worse.

    EDIT : German parents don't make it any easier, either. They seem robotically unaware of any of this and simply insist that a '2' isn't good enough! Even at my kids' school we see how at least half the kids' parents 'bribe' them with money, candy or toys to get good grades, then 'reward' them with the same when they have gotten said good grades, and throw a hissy fit when they get bad grades! (these kids are 8!)
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  4. ExileAdventure added a post in a topic: Discrimination for speaking English   

    Ok, I haven't read or posted on TT for quite a long while so I don't know who Ayn is -- however, Ayn: the vitriol in your posts are quite stunning. You really do seem to have a chip on your shoulder about Germany, Germans and the German language. How long have you been here? Better yet: WHAT do you do here?

    Me, I've been here 4 years now, am married to a German (American), have kids in school and also teach English--both children and adults. Plus, I've been teaching close to 20 years and in many, many parts of the world, including ESL back in the US in many different states.

    So here are some thoughts:

    * considering how absolute crap most Americans are and pretty much always have been at learning foreign languages, calling Germans on THEIR supposed English language deficiencies is a total gall: how many languages do you speak, for example? And do you speak all of them very, very well?

    * considering that back in the US some of the best English-language speakers amongst foreign residents were Germans, their supposed deficiency in the language here (as you perceive it) maybe due to the fact that this is their home turf and so they have no pressing need to continually practice it, and--

    * considering that fact that almost all of Europe, Scandinavia notwithstanding (and those are tiny, tiny countries anyway), is obsessed with dubbing - not just Germany - your point here is bull, as well as

    * considering the sheer high number of Germans in high-school exchange programs to the US, and

    * how much many, many Germans clearly enjoy learning and speaking Spanish, French and Italian - since I can speak all three and have family in all these 3 countries, I can legitimately attest to that!

    * As I think Bauel mentioned: Germans do have the right to pick and choose what foreign languages they invest in and it may be that English isn't one of them.

    Now, given that, there's also this:

    * English IS undoubtedly the language of the world -- lingua franca and all that. Nearly all people in the world must at some point communicate in English. It would be idiotic to dispute this. However: why should this mean that every person in every culture is to simply accept it? What if Germans only grudgingly accept it? What if they're proud and fond of their own language - why shouldn't they be, after all? Are you really naive enough to suppose that English became a lingua franca through the sheer gorgeousness of the language and not as a historical and political consequence? Are you aware that not that long ago FRENCH was the world's language? How well did your ancestors speak French? And how happy were they to speak it?

    * I have several group of Gymnasium students on their way to an Englisch Abitur and while, granted, many of them have criticisms for their teachers - bad English isn't one of them.


    I've had and still have many issues with lots of German things. Given that, though, I do find German quite an interesting, at times fascinating language. Only someone uninterested in and ignorant of languages could fail to do so, IMHO.
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  5. ExileAdventure added a post in a topic: Most Germans view Israel as 'aggressive'   

    @Post 4: Maybe many Israelis don't give a flying f*** what Germans think BUT I, and many other people, care very much indeed. An 'eye for an eye' is a shitty and pointless way to relate to anyone anywhere, and Nazism or the Holocaust is no excuse for what Israel is today or for how it behaves, for its continual self-entitled agression. My dad's family is Jewish and each of them believes the same thing. This has nothing to do with Germans or Germany. Maybe it's human nature, but it's sad and embarrasing that a group of people historically treated as the Jews have been then turn around and commit the atrocities they do.
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  6. ExileAdventure added a post in a topic: Homesickness = becoming bipolar?   

    per annek k post...

    this was funny and also made me realize similar situations also happen to me, with the same results. Which makes me think that a great deal of the shock, discomfort and unpleasantness--for many of us--of living in Germany with Germans is that we've not been prepared for how THEY do things and that how they do things is essentially for many of us quite alien, and thus can seem quite threatening.

    Take yesterday morning. I worked from 8 to 11 and then walked back-it was a pretty day--toward a 2nd stop subway instead of my usual one, because I wanted to enjoy the day and also let my mind go, as I've been dealing with a lot of stress lately. Right in front of the UBahn's second stop I saw this new neat little bakery and, on a whim, went in for a French croissant and an Orangina. These are the little treats that remind me of my NYC years and thus sort of soothe me from the current stress in my live, mostly a result of living in Germany (so that it's all tied together, like in a bam-wham Catch-22). I always feel better afterwards and more at peace with everything, which is how I immediatelz felt then.

    So there I was, with my fancy croissant and my fancy drink, munching and drinking in the street with my mind elsewhere as I walked to the subway stop. Which was, as usual in Frankfurt these days, closed, they were fixing the escalators. This always annoys me because it seems to happen every couple of weeks, in the same subway stops and for the same elevators--which begs the question: why can't they fix these things once and for all? Aren't they supposed to be engineers? Don't we al pay a helluva lot of taxes for these situations not to be constantly an inconvenience? Etc, etc, etc... I was starting to go overbaord with all this in my head, as often happens to me in Germany, and thus lose that nice happy feeling from the sunny walk and the good food/drink. Then I crossed the street and approached the other UBhan entrance. And for good measure I took a big bite of my croissant when suddenly these two typically German old ladies almost collided against me, glanced at my open mouth with the croissant, almost got spilled by my Orangina and began a barrage of incomprehensible, to me, German barrage, pointing to my food and drink. I tensed, could feel my back strain, my lips pursed, got ready for a cutting retort (in English!) when suddenly I noticed they were grinning and attempting to gesture between my food/drink and my mouth. Clearly, they thought I was cute/funny with my 'snack", like a little girl hoarding her goods. Clearly, they hadn't been getting themselves ready for a classic full-on onslaught of German self-righteous "Girl, This Is Wrong! Wrong!" They were just being sweet sociable old ladies passing city comments in a city moment, a moment of community, say.

    Things is, not long ago I'd have been so burnt out by it all that I'd not have understood this, I'd have geared myself up for defense attack and given as good as I got...Only sometimes, obviously, there's nothing to get. They're just being nice and friendly, albeit in a manner alien or unknown to many of us!!
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  7. ExileAdventure added a post in a topic: Attacked for riding bike on pavement   

    Berniebird, I found your account fantastic and quite fascinating. You're dead on, too. The way you handled it--especially afterwards, going to the police etc--is awesome too and really inspiring,

    And I totally agree with you. Older Germans (the over 50 crowd, IMHO) are a nightmare, worse than any I've ever seen in any other country (and I've always lived internationally and travel constantly) and a real social problem. I work with much younger Germans, in their 20s or early 30s, and, to me, they seem totally aware of this 'problem'--sometimes apologetic, others embarrassed, a few times defensive.

    Unfortunately, it's a big deal for me personally because they just drive me up the wall. It's something in my own personalty that just doesn't mesh with these people, and I always have to control myself to not lash out. I was always a very rebellious girl growing up but nowhere has that simmered as much as it does here in Germany! They constantly make my blood boil. I'm a very small, slight person but can get royally pissed off anyway, which always seems to surprise them. And in my experience, the women are the worst--but that could just be me.

    The utter worst aspect of this, for me, is the incoherency, inconsistency and hypocresy of their behavior. What I call the 'finger in the air' attitude--they're best, they know best, they'll tell all the rest of us how to be or what to do, whilst they themselves can do and do do whatever the flying f-k they want, with complete arrogance and omnipotence. They seem not to respect universal norms of social behavior.

    One of the most insane experiences I had was only about 2 months after moving here. I was at the supermarket, in the freezer section. I knew zero German and was attempting to figure out what sort of frozen veggies to buy, since more than once I'd taken home the wrong ones by reading the labels wrong. I'd opened the freezer door and left it slightly ajar while puzzlng over the words (for less than a sec, I guess) when suddenly this 70-something women rammed her shopping cart right into me and went off into hysterics, yelling and screaming, her thin squiggly finger up in the air. She violently slammed the freezer door shut, almost cutting my hand off in the process. And never stopped screaming--in a language which, to me, at the time sounded only like angry barks. I told her quite calmly that I spoke no German--ich spreche kein Deutsch--my staple phrase, and without missing a beat she started yelling and screaming in English about the planet, the environment, ecology, wasting energy and 'you people' (who? Americans? Foreigners? Younger women/people?) and how 'we' thought 'we owned the world' (talk about irony!) and came here to destroy everything. Then she reverted to German again and kept om screaming. I'd never felt such fury, such indignation. I felt like a teenager again. I told her as calmly as I could that I'd done nothing wrong and she had no right to talk to me that way, invade my space. This just set off her more. So I told ner to quit yelling in German because I didn't understand it and no amount of yelling woild change that. She kept pokng her ugly little finger up in my face. Then a lost it. I called her a patheitc old bitch and told her to get out of my way, grabbed the veggies and walked off. That's when I realized we'd been observed by at least 3 single (clearly German) guys in their 30s or, looking on sympathetically. But none said or did anything!

    I think if this had been one isolated incident I'd have taken it for bad luck with one crazy old lady. This often happens in cities, after all. I'm a NYC and LA veteran and I've seen plenty. Unfortunately, though, I've encountered so many, and so have my other non-German friends, that it'd be naive not to see tha this culture has a major, maior issue. And like someone else said, even when their hysteria is over something you DID do wrong but that is not, in any way, the end of the world, something you apologize for and in any other place would mean the end of that, each just moving on, here they just ignore your apology--mabe because they themselves are so incapable of saying sorry?--and seem to go even more around the bend.

    What I can't for the life of me figure out os exactly why they are the way they arr. Or if they are at all aware how the rest of us see them, and how hard they are to like! It'd be great to have soe German offer insights as to this--though not sure I'd take their explanations! :)
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  8. ExileAdventure added a post in a topic: So, if you didn't really want to move to Germany..   

    You really are quite despicable. One wonders about people like you.

    OP, my advice: grow a protective shell around yourself, especially from ass-- like this in anonymous public forums. Second advice: when you post, try to control yourself--I know it's hard because I totally relate to your situation--and don't ask anonymous people you know nothing of to please do this or don't do that. Given human nature, this is just askng for trouble. A lot of cyber bullies who seem to relish problems in other people's lives will simply rejoice at just the chance to do exactly what you ask them not to do.

    Also, I totally get where you're coming from. Germany is simply a tough country to like, as simple as that. I've just spent almost 2 months in France, Italy and Spain--places with their own problems, for sure, but where I was full of joy and could breathe. The minute we were back in Germany, I felt suffocated again, first the weather (which, for once, thankfully got better) and then everything else. I know lots of foreigners here and very few who actually 'like' like it. I just don't think it's that kind of place. Few people anywhere one day, say, wake up and think, hey, my life's dream is to move to beauitful, people-friendly Germany! Simply not typical. On the other hand, I've met plenty of foreigners who've been able to make peace with it, build good lives, even have 'some' German friends! (btwn us--not easy!).

    And for this, OP, i do agree it's 'all in the attitude'. What i mean by this, hear me out, is not that your feelngs are wrong or that you're the one to blame for feelng thus or that you should just buck up and deal with it. That's gratuituous, facetious advice that allows nothing for human weakness or emotional need. If you feel the way you do--and I did, for a long, long time, and very often still do--then allow yourself those feelings with total freedom, let them out because bottling them in just makes it worse. That's onlt the first step, though.

    The second step really, really does sound like a cliche but is true: build a life. You simply have to. We all do, even in te toughest circumstances. Not liking a place is no excuse fr not building a life. I also came here unwilingly due to my husband the bread-winner's career and then got stuck in a place I have little fondness of, not much respect and will probably never 'like' like. I spent the first 2 years in utter hell, and unwittingly put my family through hell too because I didn't seek the right help and didn't see what help was offered instead. In hindsight, i wish someone had told me then the things I'm trying to tell you now. As often happens in life, i only 'snapped out' of it when i had no other choice, when some parts of my life collapsed. For the past year I've been working , I really, really like my work, I love having my own activity here,I love contributing financially to our family, I've started to really like the people (lots of Germans!) with whom I work and who have given me a different view on their country, society, culture--not just as an expat attached to a German husband who returned after years abroad and who left Germany in order to escape it to begin with anyway.

    But the point is this: to be fair to and honest with myself, I still don't really like Germany any better than I did before!! I really don't. Most of my first impressions remain the same. I still miss the US terribly, I still wish I could turn back the clock and be back in our US life in a hearbeat, I still wait for each trip we make out of this country, and I still hope the right chance to do so will happen sooner rather than later. But there's a difference: I'm no longer anguished about it. I don't beat myself, or others, because of how I feel. And I try tomae myself feel better with the little things--not many, I confess--that do mae me feel good here: the farmers' markets, my son's lovely schools, the calm and safety when he cycles with the neighborhood kids.

    Try to get yourself to a position like this if you can. I can promise it will help.
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  9. ExileAdventure added a post in a topic: The New EU Treaty: 27 countries agree, not Britain   

    From the New York Times: "German Vision Prevails as Leaders Agree on Fiscal Pact..."

    Because I have family and friends in England (and none are 'Euroskeptic') I've been following these breaking news from yesterday with a great deal of interest. This decision by Cameron seems to be the latest in British steps to move away from Europe--and, interestingly, for the first time Europe seems content to let it be so. Most European newspapers in all countries point out, with sadness and regret but pragmatism, that Britain has never really been 'part of Europe' or shown any real interest in the 'European idea' and that maybe it's time for them to just walk away.

    What do the Brits hear think or feel? Are you pro or against the EU?

    Was Cameron right or wrong to protect 'the City'?

    And what do you think the impact will be in the years to come, as the rest of European countries, including the Nordic bloc, continues to move closer together while the UK stands apart?
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  10. ExileAdventure added a post in a topic: Unmarried Couple coming to Germany for work   

    I have to say I'm incredibly disappointed in you and, as someone with Italian family who is in Italy many, many times during the year, I have to say that some people here are right and you're leaving a terrible impression of Italy, Italians AND the mess Italy is in!

    When I first read your post, I admit that I didn't read a lot of the 'milking the system' tone that others immediately did and, to that end, felt many here had been unduly and automatically harsh on your query. However, since then you've consequently and consistently shored up enough 'proof' that many of these people may be right. Did you really start this thread simply to get info and figure out how to plan your life here--if you do decide to follow your boyfriend--or are you the type who truly believes you deserve to get something for nothing? The truth is, you can't be so ignorant or self-deluded as to not realize that ANY money paid to your or anyone else by the German government is pretty much OUR money (it certainly doesn't come down from the skies or materialize on trees). It's our taxes, which means it belongs to US--not to you or the gov--and it's not owed to you.

    I think moat people on thia forum, as indeed in this country, are of the opinion that paying taxes is the good and right thing to do, it's the result of belonging to a society, and that to use said taxes to support those who are unemployed (involuntarily) or on maternity/paternity leave or ill for a variety of reasons, including those who may not earn enough for a decent living, is all good and proper. But you're in a different situation altogether. Sure, you can't speak German and so may not find a job ASAP. Well, since you are NOT married (therefore the gov does not view you and your partner as a unit) you have only a few choices:

    -make sure if you follow a boyfriend, he makes enough to support both of you
    -save money to use until you can find a job
    -stay in Italy with your own job until either your boyfriend earns enough for the both of you of you've saved enough to do the above...

    This just makes sense.

    That Germany will not 'invest' in you because you are not married, as old-fashioned as it may seem (and it is) actually makes sense: it's all about commitment. Neither you nor your boyfriend have otherwise shown in any way that you're in it together for the long haul, so why invest in someone who could turn around and leave from one day to the next? I'm not saying that marriage is he only commitment around--it is not--but this is how it works, especially here, and accepting reality is a hallmark of maturity.

    I advise you to dig down and figure out just why you want to follow a guy to another country with another language where you know no one.
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  11. ExileAdventure added a post in a topic: Noisy children and sensitive neighbors   

    @ swimmer > "Non-parents are already supporting those families significantly, through taxation."

    You really a very strange person and seem to have a bee in your bonnet about those who work, those who do not work, paying taxes, what taxes are for etc etc etc. Seems like your dream world is populated only by 30, 40 or 5 something single men and women with neat apartments in urbane cities running in and out of offices working at things like banking, finance or accounting! Sometimes when I read your posts I get the feeling I'm in a weird twilight of Huxley's 'Brave New World', a strange existence where some 'choose to reproduce' in the same way they might, say, 'choose' to relieve themselves of sex! What universe do you live on? What on earth has 'taxation' got to do with the very real fact that we're not machines, automatons, robots or beings from outer space--we're all pretty similar human beings, all started off as tiny defenseless, needy and vulnerable babies, all were kids with tantrums of one sort of another. Whether or not you marry, have a family, raise a child or not it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that without SOME OF US doing so, we'd all pretty much cease to exist, period, and that however people like you may choose to view it, raising a child and living surrounded by children remains the natural order of things. Kids are to be viewed with compassion, empathy and sympathy.

    I don't know what the issue is with these parents and this particular kid. I'm a mother, I work with kids and I love kids but I'd still go crazy at the scenario described by the OP. Nonetheless, as others have pointed out, short of moving out you pretty much just have to deal with it, because like it or not the child has priority--over you and over all of us. Sure, the parents could simply be bad parents--there are plenty of those around. But, again unfortunately for you (and I do sympathize--I see these parents at work daily and sometimes just want to kick them!), unless they're actually damaging the child and you can justifiably call the authorities, the truth is that a bad parent with a kid still trumps a neighbor living alone. I think putting your child out in the hallway to scream his head off is simple psychologically cruel and the worst kind of parenting. But it happens, more often that you'd think (i know mothers who leave them out in the balcony!) and mostly due to sheer desperation. In that case, you could talk to the mother and raise the issue, but in terms of it not helping the child rather than on your own comfort, I'm afraid. However, don't be surprised if the mother bites your head off or is mortally offended. Most parents feel insecure at heart about their parenting skills and this might not help at all.

    Another point to consider is that at 3 years old, this child is most likely in a full-blown 'terrible Twos' phase--a phase which in the last 20-odd years actually grips kids around the age of 3 instead of 2, as it used to. Usually it's connected to finally understanding how small and powerless they are in the world, and the frustration at the limits of their own abilities. Want to do a puzzle, for e.g., and can't manage it. Want to ask mom for applesauce but can't say the right words. Feel tired but can't recognize it and instead actually gets more hectic, etc. I see this every day with some of our kids at work. So unless the child is lucky enough to be with adults who both 'get' it and/or have the personal ability to 'deal' with it (and sometimes no one can), most of these kids have no choice but to give their frustration free rein, because it's driving them crazy. Just try to remember that at this age, the child's unaware of those around him and of how his behavior can impact them, has no true idea that he can be disturbing others ( ie you) and usually feels worse than you could.
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  12. ExileAdventure added a post in a topic: Unmarried Couple coming to Germany for work   

    You really need an attitude adjustment.
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  13. ExileAdventure added a post in a topic: Language Schools, and Americans   

    I have my serious doubts that you truly are an "American". If you are, and if it's true that you also teach English at any level, then I'm sorry to say that you shame us by your language skills, your syntax, your grammar, and your bizarre wording.

    I'm an America, though I also lived 6 years in the UK as a child, and I have taught English to both kids and adults for more than 20 years. I don't particularly encounter any of the issues here described, none, and especially not in Frankfurt. Plus, at least 60% of the other teachers or trainers I've come to know are Americans and doing just fine, thank you. None seem to have encountered any of your issues either. Furthermore, most of teach alongside Canadians (not much difference!), Brits, Irish, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans... and we as well as they adapt our individual home country to a more 'standardized' version that suits all. Everyone, including the Germans, is aware that there are some regional differences and so what? You deal.

    As to how Language Schools operate--well, that's the nature of the game. It's always been thus and it is pretty much everywhere in the world. If you don't like it, go get your own clients or build your own school.
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  14. ExileAdventure added a post in a topic: English manners or German directness?   

    OK, here are my two cents to this discussion too because, just like pretty much ANY foreigner I've ever met living in Germany, I've had my own run-ins with German rudeness camouflaged by so-called 'directness'. I've been here 3 years now and I still can't get used to it, or accept it, or swallow it--and I still don't buy the argument that it's not worse, just different, and we should all--all of us outsiders--simply take it because we're here, we're married to Germans, and it's just Their Way after all.

    For me, Germans are a bit autistic. I'm convinced they all have a form of mild Asperger's--and sure, maybe I'm joking but who knows, maybe there IS such a thing as social autism? And when I say this I'm quite serious and don't mean to be rude at all, either to people who really do have Aspergers or to Germans. It's simply an observation because they clearly lack an 'edit' button--that little voice inside your head which tells you 'think before you speak' and 'keep that to yourself, that's none of your business.' I've worked with kids in the high-functioning autism scale for a long time and I always found them quite brilliant, with a heart of gold, but shockingly insensitive to what the rest of us are taught from the cradle up as 'basic niceness'. By now, given a few exceptions (and, mathematically speaking, exceptions only prove the rule), I've come to the conclusions that most Germans I've met and have come to know well are very, very similar. So while I don't get the feeling from most of them that I've gotten many, many times over from Americans, Brits, or other people (the feeling that, maybe, this person's an asshole or that person would slit my throat, socially speaking, if they could) I am ALWAYS shocked by what comes out of their mouths and plenty of times want to kill them for their remarks.

    I'm luckier than Jeremy or others because my German husband didn't grow up here all the time, lived in very international circumstances, and left for good quite young, so he doesn't have a lot of that 'German Thing' and we hardly ever have that problem. Also, few members of his family still live here so we don't have a lot of in-laws interaction (thank god) either. I've certainly had my share of such experiences the few times we do interact, though, and even when obviously living abroad for so long has weakened this German Thing, it's still there in their basic personality make-up and it flares up now and then--to disastrous consequences, not only with me but with their foreign spouses and mostly foreign-bred kids, as well as foreign friends or acquaintances.

    So the point is: Germans and German-defenders (when it comes to this German Thing anyway) can say whatever they want about how it's just their way, they're just being direct, saying it to your face instead of behind your back, and it's 'different, not better or worse', how if we're married to Germans and living in Germany it's our job to put up with it, etc etc etc-- but sorry, I don't buy any of that. I grew up all over the world, never lived in one country for more than a few years and doubt I ever will, have been surrounded by people from different countries, cultures and races my entire life and I was NEVER told to just 'grin and bear it' when I confronted cultural habits that were simply to me quite wrong. I can put up with their tiny spaces and awful stores and other bizarre living conditions and obviously I don't go around with a sign telling them to change all of that because where I come from, we're different. But 'putting up with it' doesn't mean that I have to a) like it or accept it as right or normal. On the other hand, I don't see why, simply because I'm the outsider, I have to put up with behavior from them towards me that I find offensive--in some cultures, for example, it might be okay for someone to slap your face in the street but would YOU just take it? Part and parcel of interaction and an increasingly inter-connected world is a shifting of cultural norms and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, it's the way it should be. I've known plenty of Germans in the US who were shocked and outraged by plenty of US customs they found offensive, and they were as vocal and upset as we are here now. And sure, some Americans would shrug and retort 'if you don't like it, leave' (the standard ignorant response of the idiot) but plenty of others, those of us always keen to see beyond our borders and develop, would show interest and ask the why and how of it.

    That's where Germans rub me the wrong way--sorry, but they ARE arrogant. There's no other way around it. Arrogance is their pill and their downfall--and YES, that IS one reason why (other) people don't like them much. I've not yet figured out if they're arrogant because at heart they're actually insecure, or if it's yet another unpleasant result of Prussianism, or if it's a side effect of their obsessive-compulsive perfectionism (another facet of arrogance, really, omnipotence), or even a way to cover up their constant 'angst' of and for everything. Whatever it is, they come off as finger-up-in-the-air pointing, self-righteous busy bodies running around like clucking hens telling everybody What Is What. Thy simply don't get taught as kids to live and let live--that it is NOT their business (or their right) to go and tell someone else how to do something, or not do it, or who they are. And for me, the worst of is that, as many have observed, they can dish it out but they can't take it. The will with utmost ease and complacency tell you whatever they want to tell you and expect you to sit there dumb and numb (It Is For Your Own Good!!) and yet are flustered beyond belief if you then turn around and do the exact same thing--and I've done it, so I've seen it. They will spend countless hours dissing this and that, saying the US has a crappy health care system for e.g., but if you sit there calmly (sometimes agreeing, why not?) and then when they're finally silent you politely retort that sure, but the German health care is crap too, isn't it, and pretty amoral, etc, they'll go beet-red in the face and fluster off another of my favorite German Things: the always fascinating Rationalization, Justification and/or Explanation. Mm, they're so darn good at this!! Basically, this is how it goes: the entire world is fair game for German Directness but when it comes to Deutschland, EVERYTHING has an explanation and if not, then a rationalization and failing that, at least a justification. Everything. You can never get them to just sit (sit, good doggie, sit) and actually acknowledge a crap about their country or their culture. Never. Why do they have such a crappy education system, you ask them? And the'll hedge and hammer off until they're blue in the face with facts, figures and nonsensical historical 'waffling' as I call it, anything to not face the fact that they DO have a crappy education system- Can't just sit and say 'you're right, we do, and we should do something about it.' Too much for them. Hey, I can't even get them to acknowledge their crappy weather! I've never met a Brit, for e.g., who didn't make fun of their crappy weather... Germans, though? It's always: 'Ah, well, global warming, ya know...' Sure, global warming is why you people have been running off to Italy and Spain for decades in search of the sun. Global warming is the reason why you don't have a decent summer.

    Anyway: back to Jeremy. I've only read a few of his rants about fat Germans and sure, it may be a bit off if you're fat yourself (!) and, also, if you're either a Brit or an American, where I've seen far more fat people than anywhere else in the world, but so what? Jeremy has every right to rant in an online place like Toytown about fat Germans. That's what these sites are for, after all. Maybe, hopefully, after his rant he does NOT go straight to the first fat German he meets and calls out, 'hey, you're fat!' He's not really hurting or offending anyone, however un-PC it may seem, and he's certainly not violating any basic social niceness. The MIL, on the other hand, that's an entirely different thing. First off, I don't see in what alternate universe is it any of her business whether her son in law is fat or fatter at all. His body and his food intake is only his business, and at most also his wife's. Her business ENDS before it gets to his!! How come she wasn't taught that? One of the first lessons from my parents: your rights are not all-encompassing and they end when you reach another person's existence. That's what makes the world go around. Jeremy never chose his MIL and she's only in his life by default--it's her daughter he chose, and this poor woman seems to have confused that fact. Secondly, if by some miracle her remark comes from some genuine concern, then at the very least she could have pulled him to some corner and (actually expressing concern, not Teutonic Fact) made her observation then: 'Jeremy, dear, I'm concerned: you seem to have put on weight. Are you taking care of yourself?' If Jeremy is sensitive about his weight he may still feel the sting, but also her genuine concern and then he may have swallowed the sting and not blown off the way he did. Thirdly, the FIL and Wife's reactions completely amaze me--the FIL behaved in yet another typically German busybody way, but who cares about him anyway. But the wife? Who's side is she on, for crissakes? Who did SHE marry? If she had the independence of mind to marry a non-German why can't she take him as and for what he is? I'd be beyond outraged if my husband took a line like that. Furthermore, if my mother ever said anything that personal to my husband (not that she ever would) I'd simply kill her. He's my partner in life and I love him more than anyone in the world after my sons and I'd never allow anyone, family included, to hurt or offend him--even if THEY don't consider they are hurting or offending. If you marry someone from a totally different culture, say, where it's considered rude to spit at someone when you say hello and yet in your culture they do spit, would you force the person you love to endure the spitting for the sake of family peace? I would not. You may not be able to force the Aldi cashier to be polite and friendly, maybe, but you can certainly force your own intimate family members to show a little consideration to your foreign spouse.
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  15. ExileAdventure added a post in a topic: Moving from public to private health insurance   

    Chris15: you don't know anyone of higher income who's in private health care and dislikes it, regrets it totally? Well, I'm one of those. Our income is prettty high, we have private insurance and have hated every minute of it for the entire 3 years we've experienced it. Give or take a few exceptions, most of the doctos were/are quacks or money-wranglers and most decidedly saw us because we were private. I spent more than a year on what later proved to be useless, pointless 'extra' tests and exams simply so they could make more money. As for the few exceptions, these oret formidable doctors turned out to not only accept as many patients on public insurance, very often more, but later in dialogue turned out to be socially-minded and concerned human beings who dislike Germany's screwed-up, psychotic, contradictory health system as much as we do. That's what a true doctor should be concerned with: aiding people, healing people and saving people. Not making money. Not profits. Not a specific 'lifestyle'. If you go into medicine with the goal of money and a lifestyle, what sort of doctor are you anyway?

    Furthermore, nearly all my German husband's family, friends and acquaintances here have very, very high incomes--higher than us--and most are in the public option and never contemplated anything else. Of course they care about their health, as do we. What idiot would not? But caring for your health is not equal to being a hypochondriach, nursing your health as if it were a 'Ferrari'. If you need to see a dermatologist, for instance, waiting a few weeks for an appointment won't kill you. Healthcare is a prime human need, should be a right, and must not be equated with shopping at a supermarket. Not everything neesa be NOW! Most of our family lives in the UK, with pretty high incomes, and use the NHS exclusively. Sure they gripe about it and often poke fun at it, but none would exchange it for our awful German experiences at all. Sure often when they call a doctor for something they have to wait for an appointment or may be put in a waiting liat--but always for non immediate concerns. When my brother in law, who's very rich, was diagnosed with a rare form of treatable leukemia a few years ago, he didn't even contempkate going to private doctors and the treatment he received in the NHS was first-class, something he always underlines himself--otherwise a prettt conservative guy. Sure the surroundings may be in need of TLC and not resemble a chic Swiss hotel, but who cares? A bedside manner has nothing to do with the sophistication of the patient's bed!

    It's the same in Italy, Spain and France, where we have many friends and relatives. Things may take a while, hospitals may be crowded and devoid of state-of-the-art modern sculptures, you may have to wait for non immediate things: but everyone, regardless of social class or income, sees the same doctors and receives the same care and doctors are trained and expected to see everyone, not those they choose because of money.

    This country has a real, real problem with two fundamentals of modern life: the school system, which is awful, antiquated and fosters class divisions, and its health care system. What little regard and/or respect I had for Germany when I first came has gradually and grimly eroded by lfie experiences here. The best one can hope for right now is for the private health. Are insurnaces to be outlawed or at least heavily regulated but, knowing Germans, I very much doubt that will happen. I believe only the public option should exist for all, a sort of paid universal health care a la Mass, and that young, single, high income people, especially males, should nt be penalized for being young, single and male and thus be able to afford the public option as much as anyone else. Same with young DINKS--this non child-friendly country is heading toward a DINKS manjority anyway, so why penalize them? If these two groups, ostemsibly otherwise paying for other groups, would also be properly welcomed into the public health care system then there wouldn't be many reasons left to even have these awful private insurances--health care and profits don't mix, it's an oxymoron. No one should be making a profit out of someone's illness or suffering. And then, ideally, we wouldn't even have to deal with commission-obsessed brokers such as you! :)
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