Wednesday, February 17, 2010

America's greatest export?

Since we don't have cable or satellite the weekly TV guide usually goes straight to the recycling bin. This week I was thinking about inviting myself over to a friend's house to watch the Olympics so I fished it out of the bin to see what kind of coverage they have here in Germany. As I browsed, many English words caught my eye and I was astounded to see how much of the programming comes directly from the U.S.A. (well, via a dubbing studio, which also means that nothing is from the current season).

At primetime, Germany has the pleasure of viewing such hits as Law and Order, House, Monk, CSI, Desperate Housewives, The Simpsons, 24, Stargate, Big Brother, Crossing Jordan and Heroes. Imagine if all you knew of America were based on these shows- scary!

On daytime and late night TV they can watch such American treasures as Golden Girls, Who's The Boss, Columbo, The Nanny, King of Queens, Two and a Half Men, Gilmore Girls, Malcolm in the Middle, Star Trek and even good ol' Perry Mason. Imagine basing your opinions of our country on these shows- even scarier!

But I am sure that everyone here knows, just as we do in America, that TV life is nothing like real life. Everyone does know that, right? ;)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bread and life

Yesterday I made some whole wheat bread from scratch with flour from the mill pictured here, which is about 2 miles from my house. I like the feeling of knowing where my food comes from in a very concrete way and knowing exactly what is in it because I made it myself.

It is interesting, and sometimes fun, to be living this simple rural life but it doesn't seem like it's really mine. In some ways I feel that when I quit my job and moved to Germany I stepped out of my own life and into someone else's; like trying on new clothes and walking around the store in them to see how they feel. Maybe the pants fit but they're too long or the shirt pulls across the shoulders or the fit is just perfect, except it's just not you. I understand that it is a privilege and a luxury that I do not have to work right now. I certainly have gotten used to some of the perks like- no one is the boss of me, I don't have to be somewhere at 7:30 every morning and I don't have to wear panty hose.

But somehow I cannot reconcile this German Hausfrau with my idea of who I am as a person. This troubles me. I'm not sure if it is a shortcoming on my part or just a result of a life circumstance that just doesn't quite fit me. Much easier to say it is the latter of course. Meanwhile, I cook and I bake and I knit and I hang clothes out to dry and I continue to work at being at peace with where I am and who I am right now. Some days it is easy to find the joy in all the little ups and downs that are the substance of life; some days it's harder.

In another year and a half when I change back into my "old clothes"- reentering my career and life in the States, I have a suspicion that I'll find that they don't quite feel comfortable anymore either. I'm thinking that life is a continual process of changes and adjustments, and maybe there is no "perfect fit."