Thursday, April 28, 2005

Homesickness cure

I've spent the last 2 days reading Bill Bryson's Down Under, which sent me into fits of giggles at inopportune moments (ie. on trains)(Have you ever made a socially unacceptable noise (eg. giggling uncontrollably) while seated in a compartment with Germans? You'd swear I'd just threatened to eat their first born children, they could not have been more horrified).
Anyway I finished it this morning over breakfast and it launched me into one of the wonderful homesickness slides which are the bane of expats everywhere. Usually all you can do is ride it out, wait until the desperate urge to jump on the next plane passes, and spend hours telling yourself "No, it is really not THAT bad here. You want to be here, you want to be here. Say it together now - you WANT to be here".
But as I arrived at work this morning, slowly pushing the pedals of my bike (not required as it's a downhill run, but at least it made me feel as if I was half-heartedly attempting to get there), the incredible happened. A fellow Aussie cured me of my homesickness.
Now I didn't think it was possible. Normally expats just stick together in these moments of depression and sympathise, but he actually stopped it altogether with a rather unorthodox, if not somewhat cruel, technique.
He showed me a recent newspaper article.
Apparently, not far from where we work, Hamburg toads are exploding. Yep, exploding. They are swelling up to 3 times there size at night and then popping, letting their entrails fly up to a metre away. The location of the "Pond of Death" where this is occuring wasn't clearly stated, and apparently has been fenced off for people's security, but I'm planning on putting together an expedition to hunt for it and observe this phenomenon. It seems that noone knows why it's happening - could be a strange virus brought in by South American horses, and noone knows if it may affect humans, so there is included an element of thrill and danger which you rarely find in suburban Hamburg.
But in the face of such news how could I stay homesick? I mean, Australia may have all my family, my oldest and most trusted friends, friendliness, space, good weather and a wide selection of affordable seafood, but Hamburg has exploding toads.
What more could you want?

Friday, April 08, 2005

Insert scary music here

The other night I was sitting innocently watching television a the telephone began to rang. Unaware that answering this would catapult me back to a time of, yes, fear, I unwittingly pressed talk and put it to my ear. And on the other end a voice from the past, it was....

Gretel The Psycho

Several years ago I shared a flat with GTP, having been convinced in our first meeting that she was a young upstanding woman with only a slight case of social inadaquacies. However, as time went on, more and more of her oddities came to light until I no longer felt happy or even safe in this flat and moved out as quickly as I could.
To share a bit of what occured, I'll briefly mentionsome of her highlights.

Never cooking, simply walking into the kitchen as I was serving up my meal, grab a fork and start helping herself.
Turning up to a small party I was having with several friends PRETENDING to be drunk after 10 minutes. She then proceeded to fall all over my boyfriend, flash her tits and DRY HUMP MY COUCH.
She would sit in my room talking nonstop unitl the wee hours despite the hints of "I'm going to bed now, oh, look, I've put my pajamas on. GO TO BED". After I utilised a brief toilet trip of hers to turn out the light and get into bed, she walked back in, said "oh, you've turned out the light", sat down and continued talking.
And finally, the scariest moment, the moment I knew I had to leave.

I woke up in the middle of the night to find her standing at the end of my bed in the darkness.

Ohhh yes. Following that evening I began locking my door at all times, but I would still wake up in the middle of the night to hear her rattling the doorknob, even when my boyfriend was there. She even had the audacity to ask me why I locked it, thereby pointing out that she had infact attempted to enter my room in the middle of the night.

So she managed to track me down again. I knew it was a mistake letting Dr H stay in the same old flat. Luckily she is employed in the US and seems to have no inclination to leave otherwise I may be tempted to change my name.