Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mean people just suck!

Yesterday I picked up a package from my In-laws at the German Customs office. I think randomly they decide to hold a package for delivery and you must go there and be grilled. It's kinda scary, well lets just say I'm a wimp. First of all this place is far from where I live and past the SBahn line. It's a nondescript building, you enter a room with seats and must wait your turn. So you sit there and you have no idea how they know you are there....but they do! Someone comes out you get to go in.You hand over your first born proper forms and identification.

There was some one sided German conversation in which I listened and nodded to, but responding beyond Ja ( yes) was not the right answer! Oops! SORRY!  So I did my, "Sprechen Sie Englisch? Ja I speak he said....gut so what is you need? And I'm all I have a package to pick up! He gets it and places on counter like it is a bomb or a pile of poop. He says What is this? How many guesses do I get, is what I wanted to say! But this guy had not a shredded of humor or wit about him, imagine Colonial Klink but meaner.

So anyways, I said it's a present from my In laws. He stares at me for what felt like hours...okay a few scary minutes! Hands me a knife box cutter and says OPEN IT ( in a really mean German scary voice)!! So I do and the box is full of those Styrofoam worms, they go everywhere....I was nervous, I might of spilled a few on accident! I take out two wrap gifts and a plastic bag full of Altoid tins. He looks at the Custom Form and says "What is it?" and I'm thinking dude they are wrapped WTH! But I said the form says one is a sweater and the other is a watch/bracelet set. He looks at the bigger of the two and says unwrap that one! I do and hold it up for approval that infact it is a sweather! Than  he holds up the bag with Altoids and says WAS ist Das?
Great so we are back to the whole conversation in German are we? I said they are mints for your breath....and I'm thinking please don't take them I  really need a breath mint right now!! He looks at me in disgust and says okay you can go!
I do my best German Danke Shoen (thank you) and tschuss! (bye) he rolls his eyes and shakes his head like oh now you are going to speak German.

That was the third experience that day of trying and failing and annoying Germans with my lack of language skills. I felt pretty beat up...on my lonely walk back to the SBahn sucking on an Altoid I thought I may never speak German again....better yet other than Starbucks I may never leave my house again!

Everyone always says if you at least try they will appreciate it. Well guess what those people don't exist in my neck of the woods! So until my bruises heal I'm only talking to the Starbucks Barista and my friend the DHL driver. Oh! and the guy at the ice cream store too!


25 comments:

Deidra said...

A woman really doesn't need more than the Starbucks barista, the DHL guy and the ice cream guy. So it sounds as if you've got it made. I have to say I admire you for living in a strange land where few people speak the same language. I'm not sure how I'd handle that. But if I know you, you won't let it get you down. Tomorrow is another day!

Expats Again said...

Oh, dear...I think you may have just summarized the quintessential
expat experience! Add in a dose of intrigue, fear, and loathing and you just described so many of our apprehensions. I can so relate to your wanting to cocoon yourself in the safety of Starbucks, your delivery guy, and your ice cream shop. But, brave it out, my friend, for all of us expats who suffer the same fears! "Yes! We Can!"

Ann said...

Wow that sounds so stressful! Hope your day gets better. And if you have to celebrate Christmas in the customs office, I hope they at least give you a cup of mulled wine to enjoy while you open all your gifts!!

Menopausal New Mom said...

Oh, that sounds awful! Like being on trial or something. One thing you are taught by lawyers is not to volunteer any information, answer only what you are asked with the fewest words possible. I think I would probably go into that mode in your shoes. What a terrible way to start your day. Glad you and your altoids got through it!

Debra said...

Geeez... kind of makes you dread holiday gifts arriving doesn't it?
When going through customs I always feel guilty for no reason. Like you're doomed before it even gets started.

The Preppy Princess said...

For heaven's sake, this sounds like a most un-fun experience! And methinks Debra is spot-on with the observation about the presumption of guilt, it always does feel that way! But it is wonderful you received a package!

Have a grand week,
tp

KT said...

WOW. Forget about ever being surprised by a gift if they make you tear it open on the spot! geesh! I get annoyed enough when leave slips and I have to go to the local post office to get stuff but that place sounds scary! Good thing we are going home for Christmas because it sounds hard to receive gifts here!

About the Shred video...I know amazon has it, so you could probably order it on amazon.de. They have a free trial of amazon prime which offers free next day shipping so you could get it more quickly (but if you opt for that make sure you cancel the trial before the month is up bc they will automatically charge your card). I don't know of any other place that would have it here....


Katie

Ina in Alaska said...

Oh that sounds worse than going to the DMV here in the good old USA!! YIKES how intrusive to have to open gifts given with love under rude and critical scrutiny! I wonder if he liked anything you got. Treat yourself to an extra scoop of ice cream today. We love you........ xoxoxo

Sheryl said...

I'm so proud of you for taking on the adventure of living in another country - not know the language very well.

Besides do you really need more then starbucks and ice cream anyway :)

Kwana said...

I'm so sorry. What a stinkin meanie!

Ronda said...

Oh wow! That is awful!! I'm sorry you had to go through that! I hope your day gets much better!
XOXO

Joyce said...

My hat is off to you for trying to speak the language just sorry the guy wouldn't let you open your bday gift in a more pleasant space like your home. xoxo

K said...

Oh no! Mean people do suck.

Dealing with stuff like that is hard enough when you're speaking your native language.

Slices of Beauty... said...

Ha, Ja!
But you did get your french fries.
Enjoy.

Beth Adamson said...

I wont lie on my customs forms when I send stuff to you. Scary. I am glad the DHL guy brought my package last time. I am proud of you for going there. Did you know it was from the In-laws? Have a double scoop and relax. Love ya,

Diva Ma @ Mommy Fabulous said...

If nothing else, I remember how rude Germans can seem. But I'd still love to go back now that I'm older and not just being detached from my parents!

Grand Pooba said...

Geez, it was like an interogation! Scary!

Unknown Mami said...

Terrifying!

Joanna Jenkins said...

That is so not cool. I always wonder why goons like that "in authority" feel the need to be jerks.

Hang in there.

xo

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

So what would've happened if you had told him that you didn't want to spoil the surprise by opening the packages? Party pooper. He just wanted to be nosy. I bet he expected you to offer him some altoids too. If he says he spoke English, then he spoke it. He was just trying to ruffle you up a bit.

Bobbi said...

The Germans are scary! Just the way they talk is threatening enough, it sounds like they're yelling all the time!

Kudos to you for braving mean Sprockets man!

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

Oh virtual hugs to you! We all have days like this--expats or no--but it certainly is harder when it's in a different language :-(

Feeling for you here in the Netherlands XO

Summer said...

I am an American living in Germany, too! I swear this same thing has happened to me innumerable times! Keep your head up and keep on spreading your American cheer! I know I do!

Cathee said...

I say you protest indefinitely and never speak German again. . . to anyone!:)

Shelle said...

I found it doesn't get much better. I think deep down a lot of the older Germans do not like Americans. I had a couple of awful experiences there. Not criticizing the people, but it's not easy being a foreigner.