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27th of May, 2024



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Leaving Germany

It’s time. After 7 years, I’m leaving Germany. I’ll be flying to England tomorrow for a new job, a new life, and a whole new type of paperwork. Living in a country, you learn the language, the culture, and the people a bit. In England, I don’t even know what you call the water works. I’m sure I’ll learn, but there’s something daunting about moving somewhere, getting an apartment, a driver’s license, a library card, and all the other little things we take for granted. They don’t even have bakeries over there; what am I going to do for bread?

But what am I doing in Germany, anyway? It’s a fair question. So now, I present a little timeline of my years in Germany:

  • December 1997 - Selling my shit and saying kiss my ass, America, I move to Europe with my girlfriend, a German lassie whom I met in Atlanta.
  • February 1998 - Not speaking the language, not knowing any better, I go for the full-on European experience by buying a Citroen and working as a network support tech for a company in Düsseldorf.
  • May 1998 OK, now I speak the language. Man, do Citroens suck.
  • July 1998 - I decide that Germany was waaay too cold for me, and decided to move back. Also, Citroens suck. Hard.
  • December 1998 - I am convinced by my girlfriend to take a long-term backpacking trip (Weltreise) around Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, and southeast Asia
  • August 1999 - Returned safely from my world trip, I decide to stay in Atlanta and get to know my family again.
  • December 1999 - Having been reminded that my family is a bunch of toothless, moonshine-chugging waterheads, I decide to move back to Germany with my ex-/re-/new-girlfriend
  • New Year 2000 - After celebrating the millennium in Augsburg, we are stalked by a pimply little Italian guy on the way home. My brother, who is visiting, attempts to reason with him, until he pulls out a gun. At which point, my brother takes it out of his hand and beats the fuck out of him with it. The Italian went home with a black eye, a broken foot, and a new respect for Americans. I was, and still am, extremely impressed.
  • April 2000 - I start my first job as an immigrant in Augsburg, Germany. My boss is 6‘2”, has orange-tinted sunglasses, is wearing a pith helmet, and whips out an Apple Newton during our interview. I’m not sure which of these things scares me most.
  • June 2000 Working ‘round the clock in the German countryside, I drink 4 cases of Bavarian beer with my co-workers. As the clock tolls 12 on my 30th birthday, I tell them all that Germany is a banana republic full of Nazis and everybody can kiss my ass. And I’m stoned on my boss’s weed.
  • September 2001 - Sitting in my office, I stare at CNN at 3:00 in the afternoon as the Twin Towers collapse. Everybody in the office avoids me for a week. Especially the little Turkish guy from the graphics department.
  • October, 2001 - My girlfriend walks out after an argument, leaving me alone in a 1200 square foot apartment. I’m not sure if this means I’m supposed to move back home now.
  • November 2001 - Depressed, feeling fat and unattractive, I start my first blog.
  • December 2001 - An attractive young German girl comes home with me after a party, then proceeds to kick my ass at a LAN game of StarCraft and leaves. But first, she drinks all my beer. Love is in the air.
  • February 2002 - Germany switches to the Euro. My company moves from an attractive office space in the middle of Augsburg to a dank old warehouse in the countryside. My blogging reaches an all-time high.
  • June 2002 - I take my first real vacation, alone. I spend a week in Paris in a 1-star hotel; a week in Aachen; a week in Brussels. I come back weighing 140 lbs. Everyone’s worried, but nobody says anything.
  • September 2002 - The company, having shrunk from 40 co-workers to six, is informed that everyone, from the lowest cleaning lady to the highest-paid employee (me), will receive the same monthly wages from this point forward. Rube thinks of the Twentieth Century Motor Corporation.
  • September 2002 - Opening my pay stub, I notice that the boss followed through with his threat/promise. I walk out the door without saying goodbye, and never speak to him again.
  • December 2002 - The attractive German girl throws a snowball against my window at three in the morning. Apparently, this is some sort of traditional Bavarian courting ritual. Love is in the air.
  • March 2003 - I get a roommate, a skinny little architect who rearranges everything in my enormous apartment into perfect little rows.
  • May 2003 - Mom visits and spends a week. The roommate convinces her I’m gay.
  • October 2003 - My grandfather dies. On 12 hours notice, I book a flight and drink an entire bottle of Jack. Granddaddy would’ve wanted it that way.
  • November 2003 - Being the fast-mover that I am, I finally make a formal offer of togetherness to the cute Bavarian girl. Offer accepted; there was much rejoicing.
  • January 2004 - I get tired of looking for work, and become self-employed.
  • March 2004 - Flush with cash from government subsidies, I buy my first Macintosh: A PowerBook G4.
  • June 2004 - First quarter of self-employedness over, I realize that taxes in Germany are in-fucking-sane!
  • November 2004 - The German version of the IRS shuts down all my accounts. My heat gets shut off. I actually use my oven to heat big plates of metal to 250°C, which I stick under my blankets before I go to bed. A low point.
  • December 2004 - Landlady kicks me out of my apartment; I move in with the snowball/starcraft girl. It’s probably more than she bargained for.
  • April 2005 - I bring the StarCraft girl to America, hoping that the land of my provenance will distract her from the fact that we are living together in a 200 sq. ft. studio apartment.
  • April 2005 - I bring the StarCraft girl to the Wreckyll in Jeckyll. Inexplicably, she doesn’t call the police.
  • July 2005 - I find a great customer who’ll give me a steady income. Almost like having a job again.
  • November 2005 - Having lots of money again, we move into a new apartment.
  • December 2005 - Mom visits again. Hopefully, bizarre noises from bedroom help to convince her that architect roommate was full of shit.
  • May 2006 - My visa for Germany expires. I am somewhat lax about renewing it.
  • June 2006 - Acidman dies of internal bleeding due to stomach ulcers. Fuck.
  • October 2006 - My mentor, Ken, dies of internal bleeding from a car accident. Fuck.
  • December 2006 - Large international Linux firm calls from England, and offers me a job.
  • February 2007 - Having decided to take the job, I inform my friends and customers they can, starting 1. April 2007, kiss my ass. I think Ken would be proud.
  • March 2007 - Realizing that I can’t move to England without renewing my German visa, I decide to (finally) do just that.
  • April 2007 - Selling my shit and saying kiss my ass, Germany, I move to England with my girlfriend, a German lassie whom I met in a Dot-Com startup in Augsburg, Germany.

A new phase begins tomorrow. I’m as anxious as anyone to see how it turns out.



... good luck to you and the lassie, big man.... we're going to be in London in May.... we'd love to buy you guys dinner and/or drinks.....

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