The elegance of Merc , the beauty of BMW and the style of Audi!
Ahhh! I am too much in the German cars' mode right now. This is what happens to the freshly arrived, you simply can't stop being bitten and smitten by German cars. Sounds tempting isn't it?? Let me give you an insight about the life and times in Germany from my own experiences as an outsider.
Growing up in a small Indian town, I had little idea my story would become so comically freakish one day, when I would in reality be visiting all those picturesque locales shown on celluloid which then looked a distant dream to me. A small world with small desires with an unprecedented imagination of far Europe, a continent I was destined to well explore. From India to Ireland to Dubai and now Germany, journeying around the globe has become the epicentre of my life. All I can say, it's a wondrous adventure, enthralling and exciting in its own way.
Every successful nation has its own tale of struggle and survival behind it. The will to rise and shine after every slump is the attribute of the strong and so has Germany risen to its current stature. Here, I wish to acquaint those interested in coming to Germany with all that I have observed and faced as a new arrival....neither lament nor exaggerate!! It all began when my Husband decided to quit working in a company in Dubai due to the financial crisis and instability looming over it globally. His present company in Germany was hiring IT professionals, luck favoured us and thus began our odyssey. My journey from Dubai to Germany has been quite challenging and interesting, otherwise I would not have chosen to share my experiences with you all. As much as I am fond of travelling, I hate shifting from one country to another, it gives me sleepless nights and to top my misery I came to know, I had to clear A1 level German language exam, nothing could be as damn! It was a pre-requisite to get a spouse visa then.
Confused and reluctant, my brain was surrounded by a whole question bank. I had been to Düsseldorf before and I knew, if I planned to live here, I had to bid adieu to English....What! No way, no how!...was my first reaction. But things had to be decided and done fast. No matter how much I grudged, eventually I had to relent to the fact, I am going to a land alien to English, where I would feel so out of place.
It's amusing how back home rumours without an iota of truth, get cooked and spread like wild fire. My friends' reaction was...(after a long pause) “Germany?? Germans don't smile and have sombre faces.” My already low spirits sank an inch deeper hearing these claptraps. However, somewhere in my heart, I had a vague feeling, Germany won't disappoint me. After all, I had lived in Ireland before and quite liked it. Europe is more or less the same everywhere. But then, wasn't it an English speaking country? I was clueless about how I would adjust in a strange land? Well! any non English speaking country looked weird to me then.
Soon my private German language tutorials began. I was taught by a German teacher in Dubai. It's funny the way us Indians are used to being taught, we are not too comfy with straightforward and focussed teaching style. C'mon! as a teacher you need to set the mood first, at least crack a joke, talk some nonsense and then begin the lessons...That's how I have been taught. Besides, my latest experience in education was in Ireland, Irish are known for their incessant talks so I was expecting a similar teaching form here as well. The first day, my German teacher rang the door bell, I rushed excitedly to open the door. I looked at her ….I gasped, oh boy!! hadn't my friends warned me before,Germans don't smile!! I offered my Indian hospitality to her and tried to create the mood. 'Coffee or tea?' I asked, to which she replied “let's straight away get to business (books), shall we?” All my smiles faded away and we did only business each day for 2 hours. 'God! This way I won't ever clear my A1, I need a friendly teacher', was my constant complaint to my husband. But I somehow managed to clear my A1 exam, thanks to my no nonsense teacher, finally she did smile seeing my pass certificate, and we shared a hearty chat over coffee too. Bingo! I had hit the bull's eye. I wonder whether I was more happy to have cleared the language test or to see her smiling? A very typical Indian mindset! Cheerful gossiping is our requirement to living a healthier life.
I applied for my visa in Dubai but since I was married in India, I was told to wait patiently for the marriage verification before my German visa gets stamped. I headed back to India followed by endless waiting days as my husband had to leave for Germany to join his new job. Marriage verification proved to be a Herculean task, the wait seemed endless and my frustration grew with each passing day. I still fail to understand why it took ages for the German Embassy in India to get my verification done? It did happen finally, I thought I was the only one who faced this hurdle, but I came to hear many more similar stories from fellow Indians working in Germany.
With my bag and baggage I arrived in Germany this July. At the airport, I was struggling with my luggage and found it hard to carry all by myself. 'Hell! I don't have a euro coin to get the trolley' I uttered in dismay. Seeing me struggle a German chap offered me help. I was so grateful to him and look! he too smiled. (Was I keeping a tab on Germans who smile?) That was my 'It' moment, which totally transformed all the preconceived notions I had formed all due to those silly stories back home.
It's almost been 5 months now, I feel so lucky to have come to Germany. Apart from discovering a wonderful land, I have also discovered the quintessential attributes that make Germans, a class apart and unbeatable. As an unbiased explorer I firmly believe, there is no match to German efficiency, it's a systematic and process driven society. When they work, they work, when they party, they just party...that's the German spirit, truly laudable! It's so admirable the way they are possessive about their language and culture, surely we Indians need to learn a lesson or two from this race. Instead of imitating US and UK, we should take pride in the richness of our Indian culture and preserve our vernaculars, the way Germans have done.
Furthermore, the Govt's immigration policies are attracting more and more people from across the world. It's becoming increasingly multicultural and emerging as a popular pick among students and IT professionals. A Big Cheers to the Blue Karte! now the spouses won't have to gaze out the windows, temptingly looking at the working crowd, hoping if only they too could work. With the introduction of Blue Card, you don't require to clear A1 level for a spouse visa. But, it's still advisable to learn basic German before coming here, it always proves to be handy. Germany knows well how to strengthen its paradigm of economic productivity and well being by bringing about timely immigration reforms.
And yes! When you start queuing up, when you begin differentiating between what goes in Green, Yellow and Black bags, you indeed have got the German exposure, likewise when you start lifting your window shutters from 6 am....Have they all coordinated their morning alarms too? Well! I guess I am too new to figure it out. Undoubtedly, Germany has become a Talisman for me, I would forever look upto it. We are managing to pick up German language, and I hope to speak it confidently someday and not start blabbering English every time I see a German.