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About alderhill

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  • Location Niedersachsen
  • Nationality Canadian
  • Gender Male
  • Year of birth

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  1. Scary letter from Staatsanwaltschaft

    Not sure why you didn't lawyer up the first time your spidey senses tingled that something was amiss. Not sure why you are still asking here for advice and not lawyering up. Lawyer up already! Pay the darn costs and get a nicely worded letter from a lawyer to send back at the Staatsanwalt.   Germany is a democratic state with a free press, there is no penalty for going to the press (as long as you don't libel, slander, etc. but even that has some wiggleroom at times). The police or public prosecuter's office will not show up in the middle of the night with a gang of goons to mess up your apartment, threaten your family and point laser rifles at your chest. Quite why the Staatsanwalt is being so obstinate here is a mystery (or perhaps I underestimate German obstinacy, to a degree even I thought not possible!). If the Arbeitsamt and your employer agree there was no fraud and never was, and you have the paperwork, that should really be the end of it.    I would agree with the advice to not pay (further) until a lawyer has advised you and this has passed through the courts. Indeed, you will not go to prison for 3500€ baselessly (incorrectly) fined against you.    I wonder what is missing from the puzzle here..
  2. Fuhrerschein experiences

      Of course, absolutely they do. They see each other on a weekly basis. Long story, but I had to do my license from scratch here. (I did it entirely in German, because I could I guess, and I found the English translations truly horrible to the point of confusion and unclear meanings.) I failed my first drive test, even though I already had over a decade driving experience. Well, after the guy failed me, my instructor said wait a minute and went over to talk to the TÜV tester guy. They spoke for several minutes, and I could see lots of hand-waving and gesturing on the part of my instructor. He came back and sighed and said I really should not have failed, everything was just fine except a couple minor points, but I got unlucky because Herr Solala is the strictest tester they have. He tried to convince him to change his verdict, but no dice.    I passed the next time. My instructor and the tester also chit-chatted, talking about their wives at one point, so they obviously know each other. Not friends exactly, but clearly friendly.    OP, If you have passed the theory test, you have the paperwork. Get a record of what you have done with the driving school so far, driving hours, with all the boxes you have to tick, night/tunnel/autobahn, etc. They have to provide them. Then just switch driving schools for the final test. I'd tell him straight up you aren't happy with your current person, who is too non-chalant, etc. etc. Maybe pay for a practice lesson or three to sweeten the deal for the instructor, gain some confidence. It'll be the same TÜV people testing you, but at least you can maybe find an instructor who gives half a shit.
  3. Higher rent because of home office?!!

    How is your German?    As your sense of German legality is low, I'm guessing the landlord can smell "naive" all over you. And yes, there are no shortage of slimy landlords who will rip you off, lie, cheat, stall, stonewall, mislead, casually omit information, or wiggle out of responsibilities (assuming they even understand or care about those), all the more so when they sense Johnny Ausländer doesn't know any better. Been there myself, thankfully now many years ago.   I currently know a friend of a coworker who is new-ish to Germany and being hosed, strung along and lied to by his landlord, re: malfunctioning gas heater that apparently hasn't been serviced in years (very illegal). Other electrics (plugs, switches) were not working when he moved in, and the landlord managed to convince him that he had to pay for both parts and labour to get them fixed. (I advised how he was being hosed, steps he should take, etc. but you just can't convince some people.)   So yes, Mietverein first of all. Second, don't be so quick to pull out your six-shooter and shout laywer, because that only results in yet another gun draw on the other side of the saloon. Of course, threatening to charge you more for "commercial" because you have two screens is hilarious. He can't. He's trying to spook you out. Frankly, rather than a senseless legal battle, I'd just look for a new flat/room that's not rented out by a sleazy douchebag. If this is the beginning, what else do you think is waiting for you? Save yourself the aggro and move on.
  4. Cyclists are 3rd class in Germany

    I certainly remember when e-bikes were not common. On the one hand, I suppose it's good more are out and about in places, getting some of that good ol' fresh air and exercise they might not otherwise. But the downside is lots of people who very obviously haven't sat on a bike in 40 years are now doing so. Too many do not seem to have a "cyclist mentality", much less etiquette. But they are also pretty handy sometimes, I've rented them on holidays.   The grey-haired ebike gangs are a real thing (with no disrespect to any grey-haired cyclists here). Worse are those who travel at top speed in all situations and expect everyone to instantly make way, as if they were on Autobahn left lane. I have a child seat on my bike, and my son often in it, and still I have been ding-ding-dinged with classic German impatience by some (usually!) old fart directly behind me, even at points where the bike path narrows due to trees, driveways, fences, etc.    Some neighbours in our building recently bought new expensive e-bikes (€5000 range when I googled the brand/model -- they already had a pair from a couple years prior that were still fairly new-looking IMO). Thicker-than-average frames, thicker-than-average wheels. I've had to scoot my bike around them in the bike shed, moving their bikes an inch here and there, and they are bloody heavy. There's no way you're going very far without the e-motor, nor pushing them. They use them on the occasional nice weekend Ausflug (loading them on to the car), or sunny weekday task, but not on any regular basis as far as I can tell. The husband does bike to work sometimes on a standard bike, in fair weather... but really, these expensive things basically just sit there unused 90% of the time. They recently bought a second car, too. What pandemic economy, right?     Some years back, on a morning cycle to work, late summer, I passed by a residential intersection and saw a little boy of about 4 years old (seemingly alone, no parent) bawling and wailing on the sidewalk corner, with a face full of blood, and soaked all over his shirt. A gash on the forehead, and probably bashed up mouth, as I clearly remember his totally reddened teeth. Pacing sheepishly nearby (not helping!) was a pot-bellied man in his 50s or so, with his e-bike propped against a fence. I didn't witness it, but from the scene, with hedges and fences as they were, there would be no visibility round the corner. So I assume the e-biker took the corner at speed (on the sidewalk!) and hit the kid who was playing. The kid had some sort of toy truck or tractor on the grass (and I assume lived just there, there was a short driveway and house just behind him -- maybe the parents ran inside, I still wonder at that...).   It must have happened just a minute or two before. I stopped for a moment, but two other adults also did just before me, and one said she was calling an ambulance, and the other took out some kind of cloth to hold to the kid's face. I wanted to help and felt angry too, but rode on as I had a meeting to get to, and there wasn't much more to do just then. It's pretty ghastly seeing a small child's face literally covered in blood, but from a glance the cut did not seem large or deep... just an unlucky spot.
  5. What's the issue with dual nationality?

      Ah, there's your classic xenophobic take. If you live somewhere long enough (for Germany: 8ish years give or take) and jumped through all the hoops so that you acquire citizenship, why is your prior (and still-held) citizenship any special limit on your ability to understand and make decisions on local matters? It isn't. Locals don't always agree on things, and don't always make "the best" informed decisions either (plenty of evidence there). I don't see why those born outside should be arbitrarily excluded (after a long enough waiting period, some proof of understanding language, civics, etc.). You can't really express any other reason either, from what I've read, apart from literal xenophobia, Blut und Boden.   
  6. Ausbildung als Erzieher/in - anyone done this?!

    In my opinion, they should all (Krippe and Kita workers) receive a permanent salary/wage top-up from the federal government. 1. They need and deserve it. 2. It's affordable (if priorities are set!)  3. It will make the profession just a little more attractive, and help staff retention and improve adult-to-kid ratios. 4. Related to point 3, it will hopefully spur more realistic operating hours (for Kita at least) that will allow Germany to finally move its concept of "appropriate" working hours for mothers out of the 1950s. And maybe it will stabilize the plummeting birth rate and allow women to both follow their career aspirations and be mothers. (In whatever permutation and combination suits a particular family best.)   On point 2., let's explore it. There are apparently 442,387 (year 2020) "Erzieherinnen und Erzieher in Kindertageseinrichtungen beschäftigt" (pasted wiki link kept in for your convenience). I suppose some Krippe/Kita staff, perhaps directors or senior 'queen bees', may do 40ish hours a week. But, IME that is not the norm. Let's assume 30 hour work week for all, which is certainly inflated because not all those 443 000 (rounding that up for fun too) in the profession work that much on average. At least, I think it's less but let's go with 30 for the sake of argument. And finally let's then propose a modest 3 euro per person top-up on their current hourly wages.    443 000 * (30 * 3) = 39 870 000, or a €39.8 million top-up. But gasp! you say, how ever will the country afford that! Well for a country like Germany running surpluses in the double-digit billions for a while now, that really is chump change in budget terms.   Let's also take that the average wage (google told me) is currently €21 per hour. So let's make it €24 now. (24*30) * 4 weeks = 2880 brutto. Using and plugging in some average values for tax class, let's say 1 child, no church tax, you get €1940 netto. Which is still a bit below the average in Germany , but much more comfortable than 1200 (as written above). (I know, calculating this with average wage is a bit faulty, as many make more or less, but you get my point I hope in that it's a modest but fair increase).   Play with the numbers as you like. I'm no mathematician, so this is just back of a napkin stuff.    Anyway, it's fun to think about although I know this will never happen. Why not? Because let's be real: it's "women's work" and it's not taken that seriously. Germany will drive off the cliff before it releases its death grip over its attitudes on this...
  7. What's the issue with dual nationality?

      Freudian slip? lol, but I like it too! Actually, even more shameful to admit... I am so used to using a German layout keyboard for work that when I switch back to a proper corn-fed American one, my umlaut keystroke game is off.
  8. What's the issue with dual nationality?

      Not true, as @engelchen says.   I knew an ex-German citizen who had 'fled' (GDR) just as the wall was coming down. He was a fresh teenage sailor, and this was his freighter's first trip outside Eastern Bloc borders. He fled at the first opportunity, got asylum. Travelled all over, lived in a few countries, never returning to Germany, and eventually ended up in Canada. Lived there for the next 15 years or so, and acquired Canadian citizenship. He never told the German side, and once his passport expired, he by then had Canadian passport, so didn't bother to renew the German either.    Later, he took a volunteer job in Brazil, ended up living there for a couple years. Met a local lady, had a child, and thought to introduce them to the aging German grandparents. Went in to the German embassy to get a new German passport, and they discovered his black, wicked truth: that he was Canadian too!! On the spot, they asked him to decide, and he chose Canadian (which he said he never wanted to give up), so they served him "you are no longer a citizen!" papers.   When I met him here in Germany, he was now living here, and had a temporary work visa on his Canadian passport and had to go through the Aliens line at the airport, deal with the Ausländerbehürde, etc. which was a bit of a mindfuck for all involved, but he loved telling stories of flabbergasted German bureaucrats. He could probably get his German citizenship back if he wanted, but that's a process to, and not without losing Canadian again.
  9. Obituary thread of notable or obscure folk: Ronnie Spector

      Likewise. Everyone has their tastes and all, but his oddball, meandering, deadpan delivery (of sometimes intentionally corny jokes) was, for me, hilarious. There are few comedians who could roast and cut to the bone like him. His appearances on Letterman and Conan were always highlights, and I generally followed his podcast and Netflix stuff too (now I will finish them!). I don't care about celebrity much, but Norm MacDonald's death is a big hit. RIP.   There are endless clips to reminisce with, but here he is, earnestly discussing his take on disease publicity -- at a time when was deep into his cancer:
  10. God and the German School

      Many years back, I was travelling with a good friend of mine. He is Indian (india) background, but Christian. In fact, his family have been purely Catholic for 400 years or so, from Portuguese influence and intermarriage (Goa and a few other places). They all have Portuguese last names, and some of his relatives (I've met a bunch) have quite light skin, and blue or green eyes are not unheard of either. (I'm technically Catholic and had to go every Sunday, no missing, till I was about 18, but just about fully lapsed these days.)   So we were in Istanbul. I'd never go to a Mass/service by my choice, much less on holiday, but my friend was back then kinda semi-religious. We figured we could check out on old (Roman) Catholic church that is otherwise not open for tourism, the icons and frescoes and what not, so eh, fine. I normally made a point of not taking communion even if I were dragged into Church (yes, my parents hated this when I was a teen, lol). My friend nudges me into taking communion so he didn't have to go up alone. So, our turn. In goes the body of Christ. Next my friend... but the priest hesitates and shakes his head. My friend has brown skin, and many people in Turkey assumed he was a Gulf Arab. Well my friend is just kind of waiting, awkwardly, and then nods. The priest again is hesitant and after a few more seconds makes a sign of the cross and a questioning kind of gesture with his hands, also glancing at me, as by then I had stopped to the side too. My friends nods and says 'yes yes Christian' and signs the cross too. The Priest is still hesitating, and then whisper-asks very unsure, 'Christian??'. My friend nods again and finally gets his communion, though the priest looked very unconvinced. We laughed about it after.
  11. When did German TV decline?

    I barely watch TV, except for news or a docu or (passively) little kid cartoons. Most of what I want I find on youtube, when I have time. Yes, there is loads of crap on YT, but also plenty of high-quality niche programming... outdoors stuff, DIY, travel, science, etc. I have found it a lot more rewarding and informative than the paint-by-numbers watered down versions of everything on the classic 'terrestrial' broadcasters. Even on my actual TV screen, I 90% of the time watch youtube channels.    There are a few gems from German producers now and then, and I also liked Deutschland '83 (though I think it followed in the coat tails of The Americans). But German TV never does anything out of the mold IMO, it's only ever following the main trends. I know that is an accusation that all advertisement-pushing mainstream broadcasters can take, but with German TV, it's especially so IMO.