Friday, January 12, 2007

Commentary

I started blogging because I like to write, and when we moved to Germany I thought the blog would be a place to share photos and stories about our new life without bombarding my loved ones with email. I kept blogging because it gives me an audience that expects me to write regularly, a practice that felt silly when it was just for me. I still blog for those reasons, and because some days it's the only thing I feel like I've accomplished. Besides hoisting myself out of bed.

Bloggers, like most people, love to hear how great they are, and to see proof that the words they've tossed out into the world are hitting someone. That's part of what De-Lurking Week is about. Thanks for the comments below; they remind me that I should continue using spellcheck since a few people read this thing now and then. I do my best to present a balanced view, to point out what I like about living here, what's admirable about this culture that I see from an outside perspective, and what just makes no sense to me at all. I've stopped trying to hide the difficulties of living outside the familiar, and I don't feel bad about it. I just hope I'm doing it in a way that values what exists here, and makes it clear that the tradeoffs for living far, far away from the nearest Target store can be simultaneously awful and wonderful.

You might have noticed some comments on older posts, all from my old friend Anonymous, that take me firmly to task for my American-ness and my negative thoughts about living in Germany. It's nice that there are readers who love Germany so much that they feel compelled to defend her, but she's no more perfect than the great and terrible USA, or any other country you see as you spin the globe. And, yes, I know I am a culturally insensitive oaf who should learn German because then life would be a hundred times easier. I'll take responsibility for that, though I am tempted to pass the buck to my country's education system and its lack of language training. I really do hope to raise a bilingual child, if that makes you any happier. I delete the trolls (the one that threatened to stage some kind of protest at Jeff's workplace, for example) but it's hard to ignore even those; and it's especially tough to take the ones that say I'm lazy and self-centered and ask why I moved here in the first place. I'm lucky that I don't receive too many of these (a benefit of toiling in obscurity), but the ones that show up still sting. Because on my worst days, I make those accusations of myself.

I'm not going to start hiding out on the rough days, pretending that I understand the burgundy hair dye trend here that persists from the 1980's. When you read those posts, I hope you keep in mind that I also write about beauty and interesting lessons I've learned while living here. Thanks for reading. And keep those comments coming.

7 comments:

ann said...

I comment here on occasion, and figured I would here, in the spirit of de-lurking week, say "hi" and wish you all the best for the arrival of your baby.

If you have to focus your "Germany-positive" engery somewhere, do it in real life, with the neighbors and store clerks. Everyone needs somewhere to whinge and it's probably best to do that online, in a quasi-community of people going through the same thing. At least that's my personal philosophy.

Thanks for writing - and I adore your header image. (My spell-checker is somehow stuck in German, so you'll also see no spelling criticism from me.)

Anne said...

Hi Blythe,

Hang in there. Germany is hard to live in at times. I still get frustrated that I miss out on various things because my German isn't good enough. What has really helped me is that I made a really great German friend who coaches me along and keeps me informed of things. Just this morning she showed me how to use a machine in our German bank that I was unaware of. . .AND we have been here 18 months!

Have a good weekend!!!!!! Enjoy the quiet while you can! Your life is about to become really exciting & LOUD!

Anne
Erlangen

Anonymous said...

The first time that I moved to Germany, I had a job, which made living here much easier. I met my husband, we both got transferred to NYC for five years and he was recently transferred back. As I didn't want to return to the job I had had, we decided I would stay at home.

I had no idea how different the experience would be and how difficult the adjustment. I found myself homesick and, clutching at straws, looked for people who might be going through something similar. I was really happy to stumble upon your blog!

I never post on blogs, being too introverted for my own good, but was touched that you have to endure critics. This is your experience and, unless somebody has left their family and friends, career and country, it's really hard to relate. Having an outlet to express the difficulties is one way to better adapt to them in your actual life.

I wish you all the best with your baby -- that will be our next step, too!

Christina said...

I'm sorry you've had to endure some jerks. It sure takes a lot of guts to anonymously criticize someone you don't even know. I've been pretty lucky in that regard so far. I've only had a couple of ambiguously snarky anonymous comments. *knocks on wood*

kc and my sunshine band said...

Bonjour from the land of fromage! I am thinking of you Blythe as today will certainly go down in history! Congrats and best wishes, Mommy! :) We love YOU and we love your blog, we've just been too lame to post a comment... sorry I missed de-lurking week, been in a sleepless in La Cadiere stupor since the arrival of my little bundle of joy :) Sending lots of love, light, and cozy wishes for a good nights rest to you 3! xoxo kc and co.
p.s. glad you opted against Beckham ;) it better suits a domestic pet.

C N Heidelberg said...

I just got around to reading some more of your blog. It's excellent. I laughed at so many experiences similar to ours, including the FAQ (people asked me if we would have a baby here too...disappointingly for them, I opted for grad school instead...although the story is not all written yet so we will see). You handled your critic very gracefully as well. I probably would have just fed him/her by writing snarky retorts, to no good end...especially since your posts were so balanced as to make his/her comments almost completely related to anything that was actually said.

As an aside, I love the name Theodore - congratulations and good luck.

C N Heidelberg said...

Doh, my previous comment should have said "completely UNrelated", not "completely related". I think it is past my bedtime.