Saturday, August 05, 2006

Return from the Big D

Today I arrived back in New York after nine days in Germany. I spent half my time in Mainz and the Rhine River Valley region and then I traveled to Cologne, Muenster and Hamburg and back again in four days. I spent a lot of time with my German friends and a lot of time by myself reading novels in train stations and sleeping and drooling on grandmas sitting next to me on Deutsche Bahn Trains. It was a great vacation.

I get a lot of satisfaction from traveling around Germany. Every leg of a trip completed, every conversation carried out in another language, every minor transaction, feels like a major accomplishment. Traveling back to New York felt tedious and annoying. I took an awful taxi ride from JFK to my apartment. The BQE was even more backed up than usual so my cab driver decided to come all the way up Flatbush. I couldn't help but compare North Flatbush to some of the small, shimmering Rhinegau towns I had just recently left behind. There are a lot of words to describe Brooklyn, but gemuetlich isn't one of them.

When I finally got to my place, I didn't feel any accomplishment or even any relief. I think the only thing I felt was, 'boy, it's stuffy in here.' My first days in Germany I was damn near dumbfounded that there was no air-conditioning or fans to be found anywhere. Anywhere. But I soon got used to the three showers a day, the constant mineral water drinking and the fresh air/open window cooling policies. [But I still think offices should have AC, especially our home office, a giant glass building that the sun beats down on like a light bulb in a Tasty Bake Oven]. So when I stepped into my hot, stuffy Brooklyn apartment I made to open the window before I remembered where I was. I never open windows here. For starters, I only have two and one looks out onto an air shaft. My main window cannot be opened without first rearranging some furniture so I can open the interior metal gate that is there for my protection. I looked at the diamond shaped bar pattern and blinked. Then I went to my kitchen and turned on my Air Conditioner.

I think we can all see where this is going.

Although I asked the post office to hold my mail, a few days worth had been delivered. I picked up two credit card bills, my Internet bill and my student loan bill but I wisely did not open them. Instead I flipped through an old issue of JANE magazine but first I put on a Biore Clean Pore Strip. I had forgotten to pack some of those and after nine days, the junk that had taken up residence in my face were starting to develop faces of their own. I also have a big blister on my left foot that a few days ago was red and pulsing but today is just yellow brown and fetid looking.

I called my brother's cell phone. Our whole family was having our big annual party on the beach in Rhode Island and I could hear everyone around him. I wished I could be in Rhode Island and back in Germany simultaneously. It's like being home sick for two different places, neither of which is currently my home. So, after cathing up on voicemail and email there's not much to do but shuffle around the apartment. I keep hearing crunching noises under my flip flops, but when I look down nothing is there. I tried to use the Dust Buster to clean up the phantom crumbs, but the battery is dead. The battery is always dead. Now I am just trying to stay awake for two more hours to get back on New York time.

I will be posting photos from my trip over the next couple of days, if you can stand the excitement.

9 comments:

MCMCMCLY said...

Welcome home Cupcake. It sounds like Germany was refreshing in the most positive way possible. Did you have any Before Sunrise moments? Maybe you could write a book about them. Or you could borrow my new toy and record a piece for NPR.

Happy to have you back - you're the only person who ever comments on my blog! :)

Cupcake Queen said...

Cupcake: I second that emotion...I was so excited to see you had posted...Germany sounds rejuvenating for you...it sounds like it gave you something you needed...hang on to it!

Kari said...

I'm glad you're home. And that you posted.

Beta said...

Yay Deutschland! I'm jealous. I think I dreamt that I was back there last night. Also, I spent a good 20 minutes in the REI book section reading the Lonely Planet's humungous Europe book - I only read the section on Germany :)
Glad you had a great time.

Cupcake said...

Thanks guys. I missed you all. It's nice to be back taking up space in the blogosphere. No Before Sunrise moments besides being hit on at a party by a truly weird little guy with a very pathetic hobby....

drew said...

Just to make things clear.
I was in colorado the whole time.

Policate said...

What a great way to start a week, with a post from you! Totally made my day to hear that you are doing well.If a Chugger is a charity mugger, is there a clever word for the guys who return cans and bottles for a living, other than can bums which isn't catchy at all!

Joshua said...

Wilkommen home!

Cupcake said...

It's true. I am 90% sure that Belstock was not the drunk guy hitting on me at the party in a church basement in Emmelshausen.

If there is not yet a word for a guy who makes a living by returning bottles for the deposit, one should be coined and then announced to your local dictionary representative. They love that stuff. Trust me.