If you live in MA or ME, today you celebrate Patriot Day. Unfortunately for me, I am not now nor was I ever a MA resident which means I don't celebrate Patriot Day and I don't get a German driving licence (but that's another story). In the spirit of this little known holiday,and because I'm a fan of the New England Partiots, let me know you a story.
Last Friday, I left my office like any other day, happy to be heading home after what felt like the longest short week ever, I called Patrick to gauge his arrival at the apartment. Upon closing my phone, a girl from behind asked "Where are you from?". If you are not German, you should know this NEVER happens, Germans may listen to your conversations but they never ask personal questions on the street (or at the strassenbahn stop) which reference said conversations. For a minute, I almost ignored her, not believing she was talking to me but then I caught on and I like new friends so I answered vaguely by saying, the US. She shot back, "I know that. Where in the US?" Already I didn't like this chick with her attitude and the rest of the conversation went a little something like this:
Me: RI, where are you from?
Rude Chick: I'm American too, California.
Me: Oh, I had to ask since I've met several Canadians in Mannheim (true story).
RC: What are you here for, studying?
Me: Yup, you?
RC: Me too, what are you studying?
RC: That's pretty boring!
Me: What are you studying?
RC: Graphic Design
Me: (realizing the University of Mannheim does not offer Graphic design) where?
RC: at the Fachoschule (kind of like community college/trade school), it's just like a college degree.
::Around this time, I am beyond done with our conversation and thankfully see my train approaching, as I try to politely excuse myself to get the train, I learn she is taking the same train, ugg:::
RC:(after we go about one stop and she tells me how hard German high school is, she asks) Isn't the University in the other direction?
Me: It is actually back by the stop we got on at but I'm not going to the University.
RC: What stop are we at?
Me: ::reads stop off of the train sign::
RC: oh my stop is next.
Me: Thank God!
There was a lot more conversation on the train but mostly her telling me how hard her studies are and how she is doing so well in Germany for the past 5 years and speaking German, etc. I never got her name and hope to never see her again. I went home questioning the American attitude, are we really that obnoxious? Have I been in Germany for too long?
Fast forward to Monday morning.
I walk to my stop on my way to work a bit earlier than normal and sitting on the bench in the stop is a girl who screams AMERICAN. First of all she is wearing a UCONN Hoodie, jeans and sneakers, topped off with a ponytail and rhinestone sunglasses on her head and a mini sport Huskies back pack. She stands out like a sore thumb in my mind but after last week's experience I don't know if I should approach her or even stay anywhere near her in case she catched onto me. For the record, I was blending in rather well with my white pants, black polo, jean jacket and black and white scarf, my hair was in a loose bun with a head band and I was carrying my Longschamp tote. I sat down next to her and took out my keys in the hope that she may notice my Vera Bradley ID holder (only an Amei would recognize a Vera pattern). It didn't work and in an effort to restore my faith in my people, I said excused myself in German and asked her if she was from CT. Apparently she was from MA but went to UCONN and is now in Germany to go to the Music school but it didn't live up to her expectations so she is soon to transfer to Holland, at UCONN she studied accounting and worked as an actuary before deciding to study opera in Europe. Her parents are both opera singers so it is in her blood. Her name is Brittney and we had a short conversation, she was very nice and talked more than I so I kind of know her life story. I guess I just needed a New Englander to restore my faith in Americans abroad. Now I can rest easy once again.