Thursday, June 29, 2006

Wednesday :)

Yesterday evening was perfect... we had Bible Study at my place, which is the normal Wednesday evening occurence. As I was observing everyone and taking in the conversation, I realized how blessed I am to have such wonderful people in my life. I'm truly thankful for each and and every one of them, their friendship and their encouragement.

At one point, I had to laugh a little, as everyone was behaving in such a stereotypical manner - typical to their own personalities, that is. Bizarro Mom and Helmut were in a semi-heated discussion (man, those two can talk!), which ended with Helmut breaking out into a random song and Bizarro rolling her eyes. Beatrice was sitting peacefully on the couch, taking it all in... she's always been very calm, steady and patient. Neal was staring off into space... and I couldn't tell if he was analyzing the conversation, looking at the map on the wall, or maybe even thinking about a completely different topic. Hmm. Sydney was fixated on the the lava lamp, which was hilarious. I unfortunately allowed him to turn it on last evening, despite the fact that it's proved to be quite a distraction in the past. Leo, who can be rather shy around people, was hiding under my coffee table, doing absolutely nothing, as usual.

Somehow, we not only made it through Eccelsiastes Chapter 6, but pulled out some great truths and applications as well.

Aww, I love our quirky little group.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Driving Issues Limericks

And, as before, limericks to make a sickeningly frustrating situation a little lighter and more manageable.

In Moers is a driving instructor,
A delinquent quite unlike another.
He'll kill with his words
And run over birds*
And project all his misery on others.

Along came a young Austin girl
Whose goal was avoiding a war.**
With each hour of driving,
The tension was rising...
Until she could stand it no more.

When he noticed his horrid mistake,
The tables had turned; 'twas too late.
This mad Austinite
Will now put up a fight.
In her once-gentle hands rests his fate.


To be continued...

*pidgeons, specifically
**a driving war with her instructor, that is.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Age is weird and relative (like time)

Age, maturity and grown-up-ness have been recurring thought themes recently... and this is something I'm unfortunately unable to figure out. On the one hand, I'd consider myself a grown-up. I do grown-up things such as work, earn a salary, pay the bills, deal with Biomüll, take care of the appartment, etc. And sometimes I'll even wear my fancy-schmancy high-heels and classy professional black jacket to work. Look out!! :)

In cases such as this, people usually over-estimate my age; they think I'm in my late twenties. And I've noticed that in general, people think I'm older than I am. *shrugs her shoulders*

But then there are times where my own immaturity surprises me. For example, I'll sometimes goof off with some of the teens at the church. A couple of weeks ago, I ended up being dragged kicking and screaming across the lawn and being soaked by the baby pool after shoving the Little Rascal (he deserved it - he'd been splashing me and everyone else the entire afternoon!) in. I can't even remember the last time I got into a "physical fight." Assuming such a thing has even occurred!

And then there's the fact that I can become rather *ahem* dependent on and attached to certain people... but that's a topic for another day.

So... the clincher question, as phrased by a curious twelve-year old kiddo the other day:

Kid: "Are you a grown-up?"
Mary: *ponders a moment* "Yes..."
Kid: "Oh. Well, why do you look so young?"
Mary: "It's the anti-aging cream."
(I actually didn't say this)

Actually, I don't know if I'm a grown-up. On the one hand, yes. But on the other hand, there's definitely room for improvement. So, I guess the answer would be "kind of; it's situation-dependent."

Which leads us to another question... am I a healthy balance of professional-responsible-adult and fun-goof-off-kid, or should I see a shrink to be tested for dissociative identity disorder?

Lyric of the day: We'd gather around all in a room, fasten our belts, engage in dialogue. We'd all slow down, rest without guilt, not lie without fear, disagree sans judgement..." (Thanks to Alanis)


I wish changing certain things in life were as easy as changing the blog template/format. Though HTML can be rather complicated at times.

Life is not a valley of misery; it's a mountaintop of sunshine-y bliss.


Thursday, June 22, 2006


Over the past several weeks I've gathered some helpful advice and thought I'd share it with you all. If you're not sure who some of the people listed below are, then look here.

Determine your priorities and make decisions accordingly. (Thanks, Dad)

The more you take on past your capacity, the fewer things you'll do well. (Thanks, Dad)

Sometimes you just have to say "no." (Thanks, Kat)

You can't do everything; choose carefully. (Thanks, Dad)

Don't be sad!! (Thanks, Eve)

Most problems are psychological; they're in your head. You make a huge deal out of nothing. (Thanks, Teddy)

Whining and complaining is ungratefulness. Life is not a valley of misery; you don't even know what that means. (Thanks, Bizarro Mom)

Being positive is a decision. (Thanks, Beatrice)

Be thankful!! (Thanks, Bizarro Mom)

Sometimes, when you're having a hard time, you just have to be patient and wait it out. (Thanks, Fränzchen)


On a lighter note, I have a "project", and maybe you can help me. I'm looking for positive sayings*, in both English and German. I've come up with a couple English ones and even one German one, but I'm not going to post them just yet. First I'd like some feedback from you guys. :)

*such as... "there's always a light at the end of the tunnel"

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Köln (Cologne) Pictures

And the Köln pictures... :)

The first thing we did was take a boat down and across the Rhine River. Scott is on the left, and on the right are Syd and Mr. P.

Here are Dee and I on the boat...

Here you can see me, Dee, Scott and Syd in front of the Cathedral in Köln.

This was taken inside the Cathedral... with Scott and his tour brochure, we didn't even need a tour guide. :)

After climbing 509 steps we were at the top of the Cathedral, wich a (caged in) view of the city. It was a slightly freaky, but definitely worth it.

This was taken from the top of the Cathedral... hopefully you can get an idea of how high we were. The huge groups of people down below are soccer fans.

And a nice walking-through-the-town picture...

'Twas a great day, eh?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Work, Schmork. Soccer's way more important.

Today is a classic example of why I would much rather work in the German business world as opposed to the American one.

The Germany vs. Ecuador soccer game starts at four o'clock today, so half the office is leaving around two or three o'clock. It's great. And it's expected. I think I'll leave early too.


Oh, and Candians use the word "soccer", not "football."

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Canadian (and encouraging!) Weekend

This weekend was so perfect! Sydney actually spent last year studying in Canada, and two Canadian friends (they're the cutest couple! - they got married last summer after knowing eachother for a mere nine months, and Syd played the piano for the wedding) visited him and the family this past long weekend.

So much happened, and I'm not even sure where and how to start writing... so... it's time for another High-light-list. *takes a deep breath* Here goes:

1. clicking right away with Dee*, the crazy Canadian. It was so nice to have a girl my own age to talk with... and in English. My goodness! And we even had some nice girl-talks. :)

2. going on a Cologne Excursion with Syd, Dee, Scott and Mr. P** (Bizarro's husband aka Syd's dad aka one of the most calm, controlled and peaceful people I've met... except when it comes to wrestling with the other guys on the kitchen floor when Bizarro and I are trying to do the dishes).

3. riding a boat up and down the Rhine River and taking in the fresh air and the sights

4. walking up approximately 509 steps to the top of the Cathedral in Cologne

5. seeing the Silver Man again!

6. watching Dee's reaction to things I've come to accept as normal... such as driving 180 on the Autobahn and drinking beer in public places

7. watching Mr. P and Syd analyze every technical occurrence. The minute something moves, creaks or makes a noise, the two of them are right in the middle figuring it out. It's great. :)

8. singing God of Wonders (in English!) Sunday morning

9. spending Sunday afternoon at Bizarro's with the Candians and half the church (grill party!)

10. speaking a strange mixture of German and English with everyone...

Mary: "Yada yada yada."
Eleanor: "Blah blah blah."
Mary: "Wait... were we just speaking in English?"
Eleanor: "I think so..."
Mary: "Why?"
Eleanor: "Good question..."

Language is so weird sometimes.

11. looking at family photo albums

12. being extremely immature... which resulted in me getting drenched by the baby pool. I think I was more mature (or maybe I just didn't know how to let loose and goof off) in high school than I am now. Yikes.

13. going on a tractor ride

14. simply being with everyone... Bizarro invited half the church over Sunday afternoon, and we really have a wonderful group... I'm always amazed. They're seriously one of the most warm, welcoming, comfortable groups of people.

And the list comes to an end...

Scott and Dee's visit was a huge encouragement and blessing. In the past month or so I've worked myself into a sort of rut that I can't seem to get out of. But things are looking brighter now for various reasons, and their visit is one of them. Everyone and everything was just very positive and encouraging.

When I upload pictures of our excursions I'll post some... wanted to do that tonight, but decided to bake brownies for our Choir summer party tomorrow instead. :) Mmm...

Oh, and it's true that Canadians say "eh?" a lot. Hehe.

Lyric of the day: "God of wonders beyond our galaxy... You are holy, holy. The Universe declares Your majesty... You are holy, holy..."

*name unchanged and privacy unfortunately unprotected

**name slightly changed to protect privacy

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Soccer vs. Football (or, Arguments with Internal Communication)

Well, I just "lost" an argument with the Internal Communication folks at work, but I still stand by my original point, darn it.

As almost everyone knows, the Soccer World Cup is taking place right here, right now in Germany. Naturally, there's a ton of hype about it everywhere, including in our company intranet and internal mailings. The problem? In all Internal Communication, the word "football" is used instead of "soccer." Each time I read the word football, I cringe, as the World Cup is about soccer. Not that I care that much about the sport itself - it's the language and mis-translation that irks me. So, I decided to write a nice little note to Internal Communication.

Von: Mary Barber
Gesendet: Donnerstag, 8. Juni 2006 13:24
An: Intranet BenQMobile
Betreff: Recurring mistranslation regarding Soccer World Championship

To Whom it may concern,

As an American employee of BenQ, I've noticed that the word "football" is used for all internal communication in regards to the upcoming World Championship. The correct translation for the German word "Fußball", however, is "soccer." Football and soccer are two completely different sports, and the sport that will be played throughout Germany in the coming weeks is

As a native English speaker, I thought I'd make you aware of this recurring translation mistake. Hopefully someone can use the correct term ("soccer") in the future.

Thanks for your time.
Best Regards,

Mary Barber
BenQ Mobile GmbH & Co. OHG

And the response I received...

Von: Oliver Kahn*
Gesendet: Dienstag, 13. Juni 2006 16:53
An: Mary Barber
Betreff: AW: Recurring mistranslation regarding Soccer World Championship

Dear Mary**

thank you for your comment. However, it's only a strong minority - namely the United States - that use the word "soccer" instead of football. In Europe and the rest of the world, football is the most common name for the game.

Quote Wikipedia:
"The sport is known by many names throughout the English-speaking world, although football is the most common. Other names, such as association football and soccer, are often used to distinguish the game from other codes of football, since the word football may refer to several quite different games." See also the British "Football Association", "Asian Football Confederation"

Best regards,

Oliver Kahn
Internal Communication
BenQ Mobile GmbH & Co. OHG

Umm. *scratches her head*

First of all, he oughtn't call the US a "strong minority." Sure, the US might be the minority in the sense that it's the only country to refer to soccer as "soccer"... but there are more native English speakers in the US than in all other English-speaking countries combined. That's no minority, thankyouverymuch.

The US has a population of nearly 300 million... and other than the non-English-speaking Mexicans sneaking across the southern borders, I'd estimate that nearly every person in the US speaks English. Which means about 300 million people refer to soccer as "soccer."

Now let's look at other English-speaking countries. And I'm only going to inlude countries where English is the mother tongue and official language. English has quickly become the international language, which means it's the second language for people throughout the entire globe. But there's a difference between using a language as a communication tool and having that language as your mother tongue. There's a certain relationship between a person and their mother language that non-native speakers will never achieve.

Great Britain, for example, has a population of about 60 million. Which means that about 60 million people incorrectly refer to soccer as "football."

There's a population of about 32 million in Canada... and if we factor in the fact that French is the second official language, we have about 22 million people with English as their mother tongue.

Australia has a populuation of about 20 million. Sure, certain Australian Aboriginal languages are still spoken, but most speak Australian English.

English is also spoken to a certain extent in South Africa, which has a population of about 47 million. English isn't the only official language (Afrikaans, Zulu and a myriad of other African languages are also spoken)... so... let's make a rough and generous estimate and say that about 30 million people in South Africa incorrectly refer to soccer as "football."

English is also one of two (Maori being the second) primary languages of New Zealand... but with a population of only 4 million, eh, let's say there are 3 million English speakers.

Ok, now we have to add it all up:
60 million for Great Britain +
22 million for Canada +
20 million for Australia +
30 million for South Africa +
3 million for New Zealand =
135 million.

What does this number tell us? Approximately 135 million native English speakers throughout the globe refer to soccer as "football." Sure, that's a decent number, but it doesn't even come close to the 300 million people in the States referring to soccer as "soccer." Sure, there are more countries who use the word "football", but if you count the actual number of English speakers, the word "soccer" wins, hands-down. TAKE THAT, INTERNAL COMMUNICATION! MUAH!

And as for the "Asian Football Confederation"? Please. Don't even use that in your argument. I've read enough contracts, letters, claim reports, presentations and e-mails from Asians to know that they're notorious for butchering the language and even creating new non-English-yet-English-sounding words. That's a soapbox I'm going to avoid today.

Lyric of the day: "You say 'potato', I say 'patattah'; you say 'tomato', I say 'tomatah'... oh, let's call the whole thing off!" (Thanks to When Harry met Sally)

*name changed to protect privacy

**you can always tell when a non-German responds because a German would never call me by my first name; they'd say "Frau Barber"

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Should I turn my driving instructor in...?

Today, Teddy told me that I have deep psychological issues with my driving instructor, and I think he might be right.

Had another driving hour yesterday... and there were two rather interesting occurences:

1. My instructor was pretty snarky towards the two other students... which is comforting, in a way (Schadenfreude!) because now I know I'm not the only one who gets yelled at and scolded.

2. He chatted on his cell phone practically the entire time, which at first was no problem; he does it all the time. Interestingly, when he realized there was a police car right behind us, he quickly hung up. I naturally asked if he was allowed to speak on the phone, and he admitted that he isn't. *scratches her head* Hmm... so... I get screamed at for driving too slow, for not looking in the mirrors enough and for breaking to avoid hitting pidgeons, but he chats illegally on his phone???


Ok, time for a poll:

Should Mary call the police department and turn her driving instructor in to the authorities?
(a.) YES! Because revenge is sickeningly sweet, baby!
(b.) Yes, because what he did was illegal. It's my moral duty to turn him in.
(c.) Yes, why the heck not?
(d.) No, because he might have dirt on me...
(e.) No, leave the poor man alone.
(f.) NO! Why would you do such a horrible thing? It was a stupid harmless conversation!
(g.) Other: ________________________.

Please return this questionnaire directly to me, along with any personal assistant applications, which I'm still (unfortunately) accepting.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Germany is like an abusive boyfriend.*

Not that I've had an abusive boyfriend (unless we count mental and psychological manipulation as abuse), or even an official boyfriend for that matter... but I know how to observe and read.

At this point, I feel like I'm in an abusive and unstable love-hate relationship with the entire country. Certain formalities, rules and language barriers are terribly frustrating. But the people here and my church are wonderful, as is the general lifestyle.

Lately I've taken several hits... yet I'm still here, and continue to push forward, hoping things will somehow get better. And, unlike crappy situations created by crappy boyfriends, things will eventually improve. Right? Right...?

Yes, of course.

Delinquent boyfriends also tend to be controlling... and let me tell you: in Germany, everything is controlled. Geregelt. And if you step outside (or drive over) the lines, you're OUT. *Boom* Just like that.

Maybe we should break up.

Then again, it's more complicated to break up with a country (i.e., make an international move) than it is with a guy. But you get the point.

You know, though... I've always wanted to be back here, and now that I've decided to live here and play the Adult Game, there are simply certain consequences to be dealt with. There's no way around it.

Most gals with destructive boyfriends would rather have a miscreant boyfriend than no boyfriend at all. In my case, I'd rather be in an abusive European country than no European country at all. So, instead of leaving and giving up, I'm going to continue. Despite the abuse.

Jammer, jammer** :)

And maybe I'll sue the Straßenverkehrsamt*** for causing emotional turmoil. Feel free to make prank calls and to send hate-mail and spam.

Lyrics of the day: "The only way out is through; the faster we're in the better; the only way out is through ultimately..." (Thanks to Alanis)

*please don't take anything written here overly seriously.

**the 'j' here is pronounced like the 'y' in 'Yuletide' or 'Yukon.' And 'jammern' means to complain.

***the Bureau that takes care of all things having to do with traffic and transportation

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Mission Sunday Piano Playing: Part II

As Syd was wandering about and camping out under the open sky this weekend, Helmut and I undertook the task of leading the music again this Sunday morning.

When it comes to the Sunday morning music, everyone here is so laid-back and last-minute. My goodness. Here's how the preparation and such looked this past week:

Monday: received a "furchtbar direkte" e-mail from Bizarro asking if I'd play

Wednesday: received some song suggestions from Eleanor

Thursday: practiced with Helmut for the first time

Saturday: practiced with Helmut for the second time; realized the transparency for a certain song was missing/non-existent; determined a back-up song; decided to play a sweet and simple Chopin piece for the prelude

Sunday, 9:35 am: Neal shows up with his flute and says he'll accompany us; looked around for Helmut

Sunday, 9:40 am: chose a new Prelude (a.) so Neal can play along and (b.) so I didn't have to play alone; kept looking for Helmut

Sunday, 9:45 am: practiced all the songs again, this time with Neal; wondered where the heck Helmut is

Sunday, 9:50 am: told the Moderator that we were going to play our back-up song due to the missing/non-existent transparency; wondered if Helmut had fled the country

Sunday, 9:55 am: Helmut waltzes in

Sunday, 10:00 am: and the service began...

... and throughout the entire process, I didn't even freak out. Even though I had to change a song in the last minute, change the Prelude in the last minute, wait for Helmut, and play with Neal for the first time, I stayed calm and collected. It was weird, but in a very good way.

Deciding the Sunday songs the Wednesday before is actually progress, believe it or not... here's a typical example of Syd's schedule:

Saturday evening: receives a list of songs

Saturday night: practices the songs

Sunday: and los gehts. And action.

Yup, that's right, folks. One day beforehand.


Lyric of the day: "Ob es der Frühling ist, ob Herbst, ob Winter, ob ich den Sommer sehe in seiner Pracht. Du hast die Welt Dir geschaffen zum Zeugnis, Dir nur zum Ruhm und zum Preis Deiner Macht." (thanks to the lovely classic hymn, "Great is Thy Faithfulness" in German)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Flachsmarkt and Music

Last Monday I went to a Flachsmarkt, which is similar to a Reinaissance Festival, with Biff*, a friend from choir... it was quite interesting.

With this post, I hereby officially retract my erstwhile proposal of quitting work and starting a band. Instead, I'd like to quit work (and driving school!) and study the Drehleier (English: Hurdy-Durdy) for 18 semesters. A quick nine year break to study an ancient musical instrument is somehow appealing at this point.

The Drehleier** is a fascinating instrument... it looks like a mixture of an accordian and a violin, but with guitar strings. By adjusting the strings you can create different sounds: violin, cello, and bagpipes, for example. Instead of plucking the strings or playing with a bow, there's a miniature keyboard (think: accordian)... and while playing, you must continually turn a handle which turns a wheel which strums the the strings.

Biff had evidently seen the man who played the Drehleier play before, so he asked him to play a demo for us. Not only were we given a mini-concert, but a complete history! As he told us the history, he played musical pieces from different Eras, which was great. First we heard something Baroque-ish: a piece from Vivaldi's Four Seasons. He also played an Irish-sounding piece and various classical pieces.

This is hilarious... the whole time he was playing, I was spinning the idea around in my head of whether it'd be appropriate or not to ask him if he could play a Beatles song.

Mary: "Sure, I realize that you're one of only two people in the world who can play the Four Seasons on the Drehleier... but I'd rather hear Love me do."

Somehow I couldn't bring myself to ask him.

When he came to the modern musical era, though, guess what he played... Yellow Submarine! By the Beatles!!! And I didn't even have to ask! It was perfect.

Only 15-20 people in Europe play the Drehleier technically correct, and to study it, you must attend a special school for 18 semesters. I wonder if this is really necessary, and if it's really this complicated and time-consuming. But then again, Germans have a bent towards unnecessary complication. Or maybe it's "geregelt" somewhere that Drehleier-learning requires nine years.

The other high-light of the day was an open-air piano concert. I'd actually told Helmut and Syd about Victor Borge last Sunday... and the man playing the piano was a young, slightly calmer, modern-day, European Mr. Borge; it was fabulous. He had a gorgeous white grand piano (it said "Berlin" on it - is that a manufacturer?) which he set up in the middle of the lawn under a tent. His playing was beautiful (everything from Mozart to Lizst to Gerschwinn), and he simultaneously told jokes and stories, took requests, involved the audience, and sang/screamed. Very creative.

The only disappointment is that he didn't dramatically tople off the piano bench while playing.

Lyric of the day: "So we sailed up to the sun 'till we found a sea of green. And we lived beneath the waves in our yellow submarine. We all live in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine..." (Thanks to the Beatles!)

* name changed to protect privacy

** "Hurdy-Durdy" sounds stupid, so I decided to proceed using the German word.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Biking to work...but only 'cause I have to.

Today I biked to work and felt like a real German. Well, a really dumb German who's unqualified for her driver's license... but a German nonetheless.

And it was uphill and against the wind both ways.

Whine, gripe, moan, complain, jammer, whimper, grumble, yada yada yada.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Life is a...


You, my dear reader, may fill in the blank as you like. :)

This was seriously one of the roughest weeks I've had here in Germany thus far. You name it, it went wrong: messed up reports and numbers as work, frustration with some of what's going on (or not going on) with certain people back in Texas, driver's license drama, too many decisions and open issues, and a general bleak view.

Do you ever have days where you think that it would've been better if you'd simply stayed in bed? Where you reflect at the end of the day and realize you've actually done more harm than good? That's how this entire week was. I was thinking last night, and I realized I would have accomplished more had I simply stayed in bed from about Tuesday afternoon until Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, you only hit such realizations post-facto. And, unfortunately, life has no "undo" or "rueckgaengig" button.

Everything kind of built up throughout the week and blew up Saturday, which is when I finally decided to call Bizarro to see if they were going to be in Neukirchen (my city) on Saturday, because I, um, kind of needed a hug. We talked for a while, and I cried and was pathetic*... but felt better afterwards. Later that evening, Eve called and we talked for a while as well, which was also encouraging.

Today was much better... after church I talked about some of the recent drama with her and with Syd (we both agree that life is a valley of misery), and then spent the afternoon at their place goofing off. It's always fun, relaxing and therapeutic there. :) Here are some pictures...

The main event of the day was motorcycle-riding. Here's Bizarro's husband giving two of the cousins a ride.

Here they are again... the building in the background is their factory.

Here I am on the motorcycle with Syd... for some strange reason, I didn't feel like driving anything today.

Bizarro Mom! 'Nuff said.

Music must run in their family, as Syd's cousin plays the piano beautifully as well. The little one was pretend-playing the guitar along with her, which was adorable. :) Rock-star-in-the-making.

Helmut came by later in the afternoon - he's on the right. And yes, Bizarro and I are wearing the genuine Texas (made in Mexico) cowboy hats.

Instead of using an actual grill, they grilled everything over an open fire... I've noticed that quite a few people here do that... even though there are currently approximately 25 different types of grills at Obi.**

Quote of the day: "Das Leben ist ein Jammertal... kaum sind wir auf Erden, und dann schon wieder sterben, und zu Erde werden."*** (thanks to Syd quoting obscure poets)

*and later learned that I'd been on the loud-speaker. Augh!! Oh well.

**the German version of Home Depot

***to my German readers: please feel free to correct this; I think I have the gist of it, but I'm sure I've left out or added some words... :)

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Driving Instructor: "Frau Barber! Didn't you see the Stop Sign?"
Mary: "Yes! Which is why I stopped*!!"
DI: "Please... that was not a complete stop."
Mary: "SORRY!"
DI: "I know you have stop signs in America. You have no excuse."
Mary: "I KNOW!!!!!!! I said I was sorry!"

DI: "Frau Barber! You have your license! You should know how to drive backwards!"
Mary: "Of course I know how to! I just don't know why or how far or at what speed! When I drive alone, I tend to drive forwards."
DI: "Frau Barber!!"

DI: "FRAU BARBER! Look at your speedometer! You're driving 20 under the speed limit!"
Mary: "But there are pedestrians and bikers everywhere! And these awful German streets are way too narrow!"
DI: "You're ruining the traffic flow!"
Mary: "There aren't any cars behind me! Who cares??"

DI: "Why are you stopping???"
Mary: "There was a freaking pidgeon in the middle of the road and I didn't want to kill it!"
DI: "Frau Barber! It'll fly away... plus, it's only one pidgeon!"
Mary: "AUGHHHHH!!!!!!"

I kind of want to swerve the car and fake-peg a pedestrian just to test his reaction time.

Or drive the wrong way into a one-way-street just to see him freak out and scream "Frau Barber" for the thousandth time.

As the "Student", am I responsible for my actions, or is the instructor?

If I were to trash the car, would I have to pay for it, or would the driving school? Hmm...

It was interesting... the longer I drove with him yesterday, the more ticked off I became... which had an interesting effect: the initial nervousness was replaced with anger, which resulted in more agressive, more confident, and faster driving. I was suddenly driving the speed limit, making quicker, more confident turns and decisions, and firmly gripping the steering wheel with both hands (I usually drive with one hand, but the instructor requires that I use both... and when I'm angry, it happens naturally).

On the day of the test, I think I'll listen to head-banging rock music. And deliberately get in a fight with someone. And read old love-letters. And slam my fingers in my car door. And drop my favourite ring in a gutter.

Hey, you've gotta do what you've gotta do.

Quote of the day: "Das war doch ein Stopschild! Verdammte Scheisse, jetzt finge ich an zu fluchen!" (thanks to my driving instructor)

*rolled through