Diary of an Expat, Part 73
Snow again for some bloody reason
The light is starting to come back, which is something of a mixed blessing.

I'm not entirely certain what I think about ubiquitous artificial light. The conventional wisdom is that it fucks with our sleep habits something awful; there is nothing particularly useful or logical about trying to be zonked out for eight hours a day, which is why we have so much trouble with it.

In the winter, I could be guaranteed that if I went to sleep at 23, I could sleep until 7, more or less, because it would still be dark for another hour. Now it is getting light again at 630 or so, and it seems to be doing this faster every single day.

I'm going to live with that, though, because I am really, really looking forward to the spring. I love how green Berlin becomes, and I'm looking forward to spending time, at night, wandering through the city's lovely parks.

Right now Berlin does not have any such color. For example, here is what Spain looked like last week:

But oooh! Valenciaaaaaaa


And here is what Berlin looks like right friggin' now:

Berlin refrigerator in full use


In fairness I should say that this is a relatively new change; early in the week it was much warmer, and I started biking to work again. Biking in driving snow, as it happens, is not the most thrilling thing in the world, so I have returned to walking.

My 'learn German' desk calendar's lesson for Friday was "women are always right," because charming vague misogyny is one of the most endearing things about Europe, but my own German seems to have improved without my intending or deliberate involvement in.

It's easier because much of my work involves technical details, and "HDMI" is pretty much the same in both languages. But I was able to persuade the German workermanpeople who came to my apartment complex to work on mine first, because I needed to go back to the office, and either they understood or they took pity on me.

They were coming to investigate my water usage, which they do once a year for the purposes of recalculating my rent. Last year this worked out well for me, because I didn't turn my heater on all that often and also I was never really around my apartment. This year should be more of the same.

Mind you, this is supposed to be for a given calendar year (say, "2012") and they are just now getting around to it in March, which may or may not say something about that legendary German efficiency one always hears about.

This efficiency is also in play when trying to deal with the German office of the bank offering me a corporate credit card, for which so far it has taken three days from "where is the card you said you were sending me" to "we'll get back to you" and eight to "we'll send you a new one :3"

(On the plus side of the customer service world something like @IhateeasyJet started following me on Twitter, so it isn't just me who has problems with these companies)

Anyway that's it. I'm going to go make lunch now, and leave you to whatever else you were doing. Then I'm going to go caper in the snow, because I guess what else can you do?

Oh. I would say "someone remind me," but you can't; anyway, as long as we're here I'd like to remember to take a picture of the Easter displays in German supermarkets. There is something about German Easter rabbits that is far more unsettling than their American counterparts, and I don't know what it is exactly. I think it's a particular mania to their eyes.
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