Even though most of my courses were in English, the ones that were in German gave me a headache. My family had mostly spoken English to me and even when I went out with Anna I had found most people to speak English, some better than others but they all tried. It seemed like they had all spend more than a couple of weeks abroad. I had hoped that I could just take a beginners German class for a while but when I looked at the curriculum I decided it would be better to take an intensive course at least for the first couple of month. My parents had made sure I didn’t have to work if I didn’t want to, so that I had enough time and money to go learn all the German I wanted.
I found a language school close to my apartment that had good reviews so I scheduled a placing test with the school for the following Monday. I had courses almost every day, but on Monday my day fortunately ended a little earlier so I had plenty of time to get back home from the university. As I strolled towards the school I noticed a stunning long legged woman leaning on an even more stunning car. It was quite cold for April but she was wearing chiffon shorts, expensive looking python heels and a long black cardigan over a sleeveless black see-through blouse. Her legs were bare. She could have easily been a model, especially with that bored look on her face. She had one foot on the curb and one resting against the car, texting someone on the latest iphone model with long and perfectly manicured fingers. I was wondering what else was in that building that such an exotic creature was luring in front of it. I told myself that after the test I would take the time to check out the rest of the neighborhood. As I got closer I could see who she was waiting for. When the door opened and a guy stepped out, she immediately looked up from her phone and a replaced her bored expression with a gorgeous smile. I couldn't see the guy’s face until I was almost at the door. He wasn’t at all what I expected. He was tall and thin. His skin was so pale he looked translucent. And when he turned his face towards me, I could see his eyes. They pierced your soul with one look, and like with Medusa you would probably turn to stone when looking directly at them. It was probably a good thing, that he was looking right through me. I felt an instant discomfort being so close to him. He walked towards the girl who threw her dark red hair back in one swift movement and then right past her, taking the keys from her hands. She must have expected a different kind of greeting because she pouted at him dissatisfied but he didn’t seem to notice. He got into the car and drove off. I hadn’t even talked to either of them but I felt shaken by their presence even after they were long gone
When I went upstairs to the reception desk a middle aged woman with short brown hair greeted me in German. I gave her, what I thought was a winning smile and tried some of my rusty German on her. She smiled politely and continued the conversation in English. „Are you here for the language test?“ „Well, yes I am, I was hoping to get into a more advanced class if possible. I know right now my German doesn’t sound so great but I can understand pretty much everything and I have some time on my hands to really study.“ „We’ll see about that.“ She still smiled saying that but I couldn’t help but flinch at the sort of rude comment. She grabbed some papers from behind her and lead me to a separate room with a big table and 8 chairs around it. She placed the papers in front of me and handed me a pencil. „You have half an hour to complete the test, just come back out whenever you are done with it.“ And with that she turned on her heel and left the room.
The test wasn’t hard but still half an hour wasn’t long enough because I had to read most of the questions twice before really understanding them. Luckily I have the habit of not doubting my answers, so whenever I circled a multiple choice or completed a verb I didn’t think about it twice. I just finished the last answer when the door opened and a young woman came in. She was dressed in jeans and Chucks and she looked really friendly. „I hope everything was all right?“ „Yes, thank you, it was ok. Some of the stuff was a bit hard, but I think I managed.“ „I completely understand, German is a very difficult language to learn.“ She smiled sympathetically. I got up from my chair. „So what happens next? Are you going to grade it now or should I come back?“ „Oh it’ll take like a week and then you’ll come back and we’ll talk about your results and then you will have a sort of oral exam with one of our teachers to see where you stand and then we will determine which course you will be going to.“ She called something to the older woman in German and I could detect and American accent. „Are you American?“ „Yeah I am, from California actually.“ „That’s great, I am glad to meet someone from home here.“ I couldn’t help it, but my throat started closing up and I could feel the tears building in my eyes. I quickly turned my attention to the papers in my hand and handed them over. „I am Megan by the way. It‘s really nice to meet you. I have been here for 10 years now, and I still get homesick, so don’t worry about it.“ „Thanks, I have only been here for a couple of weeks and I like it but it’s still hard.“ „I totally get it, if you want we can grab a cup of coffee sometimes and I’ll tell you all about the weird German habits and stuff, in German of course.“ She laughed. „I’d love that, thanks. So when should I come back for my next test then?“ „Why don’t you stop by next Monday, same time, is that ok for you?“ „Sure that works for me.“ I stood there a little insecure because I really wanted for Megan to show me around the city and have a friend outside of my family but I didn’t want to impose either. „Oh, right, let me give you my number, maybe we can meet up on the weekend.“ She must have heard my relieved sigh because she laughed again as she wrote down her number.
The next day I decided to get off one stop before the university and walk the rest of the way but I somehow confused the exits and got lost on the way. So when I finally got to my class room I was 20 minutes late and tried to enter as quietly as I could and snuck into the back row. The classroom was crowded so I took the closest available seat next to a girl that looked like she was sleeping with her eyes open staring at the professor like he was the love of her life. „Hi.“ I said. „Did I miss anything?“ She really had been sleeping because she seemed to jump out of her skin when she heard the sound of my voice. „Uhm what did you say?“ Her English was good, with a tiny little hint of a German accent. „Did I miss anything important?“ I repeated. „Oh, now, the guy has been boring as usual. I am just glad I can check out his lectures again from home so I can actually understand what he is saying.“ „You can do that?“ „Yeah, they post them on the internet, so you can check them out whenever you want.“ „Why do you come here then?“ „Oh because I am really horrible at this and I thought that I could find someone smart in class to sit next to and ask them about what all of this actually means.“ She giggled. „Are you smart?“ I giggled as well „I can try.“ „I am Lena. Nice to meet you smart girl.“ „I am Emma, we’ll see about how smart I really am.“ It turned out that I actually understood a lot in this class, mostly because the class was in English and the professor was from Texas and most of the students had difficulties understanding his accent. I helped Lena with her notes and took me to lunch in return for my help. We went to a little Asian restaurant close to the university and ordered noodle soup and tea. „So Emma, how long have you been here in Munich?“ „About a month now, how about you? Are you from here?“ „No I moved here to study about 3 years ago, but I really like it.“ „Yeah me too, I am still getting used to the differences but over all I don’t think I could have picked a better city.“ „So why did you pick Munich then?“ „Well my family lives here. Well not all of them, but my aunt and uncle. My mom is German as well but when she met my dad she decided to move with him to the States and she never wanted to come back.“ „Oh I just love America, you are so lucky to be from there. I don’t even understand how anyone could actually want to move away from there. I love everything especially your food.“ I had to smile, I could probably bribe her into becoming my friend just by having my parents sent me all sorts of American crap. „Yeah I know, everybody loves the American food.“ She rambled on about all the things she loved and I realized that I really liked this girl, not because she liked my home country, but because she reminded me of Vicky. She was bubbly and cute and she had the same dark brown eyes that beamed at me from under her bangs. We talked for a while about my boyfriend and her boyfriend who lived in another city in Germany, so she knew all about the problems and challenges of a long distance relationship and about studying in general and our future after the degree and we exchanged phone numbers in the end and decided to do something on the weekend. I loved that i had two dates thins weekend and possibly two new friends after only a couple of weeks on my own.
The weekend was just as much fun as I had hoped it would be and on Sunday night I couldn’t wait for my Skype date with Joey. We had decided to to a dinner/ breakfast date, so we would both be in our PJ’s and enjoy a meal together even if we were thousands of miles apart from one another. I had cooked myself some pasta Alfredo, because I knew Joey would have loved that as well and waited in front of the computer to start. At 6pm sharp I heard the familiar ring and only a couple if seconds later I saw Joey on the screen in his green and white PJ pants and his old College T-shirt. „Hey gorgeous, what are we having for dinner” How I missed him - it was crazy, but each time I saw him on the screen I felt like just crawling in there and laying my head on his chest and listening to his heart beat and his stories about work.“Hey baby, I made Pasta Alfredo, how about you?“ „Oh wow, now I wish I could be there even more. I haven’t been able to get out of bed yet, but I will get myself a bowl of cereal if you wait for me.“ I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t take our date as serious as I did but on the other hand he was never much of a breakfast guy. „Allright, but hurry up babe.“ I saw him get up and go to the kitchen and heard him rummage through his fridge. When he came back he had a tray in front him with a bowl of cereal and a small heart shaped candle any my favorite coffee mug that said „It’s not Mondays that suck, it’s your job“. „Now I am ready“ he smiled. It was a great date and even though we couldn’t touch or hold each other I felt really close to him. It hadn’t always been easy in the past few weeks, when I was still with my aunt and uncle they had always wanted me at dinner or asked me to go shopping with them or Anna was there and we went out and I felt like I didn’t have time to really be with him. He had been a little distant as well and I knew he had a lot to do at work but tonight it was just like old times. After 4 hours I started yawning. „Are you tired baby?“ „A little, but I can stay awake, plus I still have to study a little bit for my German exam tomorrow.“ „ I totally understand, it’s late there and I have to get going as well, I am meeting the guys at the gym. But it was great talking to you and I cannot wait to see you very soon.“ „I know, me too. Have an amazing day, and we’ll talk soon, right?“ „Of course, I will call you tomorrow during my lunch break to see how my little German champ did, allright?“ „Can’t wait. I love you.“ „I love you too, sleep tight.“
I decided to go to the language school a little earlier because I wanted to check out the neighborhood like I had decided last week. When I walked past the old buildings I caught a glimpse of the same car from last week with the same girl in it looking for a parking spot. I pretended to check out the shop windows as she circled the block until finally one of the cars parking in front of the school pulled out and she pulled the car into the empty spot in one swift move. She looked even more stunning than last time, if that was even possible. She had her hair in a tight ballerina knot, her dark red lips accentuated the color of her hair and she was wearing a black dress that ended in the middle of her thighs. It was cut out in the front and she was wearing a fur vest on top of it. Her black ankle boots were covered in what seemed like hundreds of tiny little diamonds. She just looked like she belonged on the cover of a magazine but not front of a language school in the middle of Munich. Just as I expected the guy with the ashy face exited the school building and walked towards her. I was close enough to hear them but I couldn’t understand a word of what they are saying because he talked in a language I had never heard before. It seemed harsh and dark and she seemed upset by whatever he was saying but I couldn’t know for sure. Just like last time he just took the keys out of her hands and she followed him into the car like a lost puppy. I walked a little faster to catch a glimpse at her face as he drove of. I couldn’t understand how something so beautiful and perfect could look so broken.
I still had a couple of minutes to kill before my interview so I decided I would get a coffee for Megan and chat with her a little. She seemed happy to see me and was grateful for the coffee. „You wouldn’t believe my day today. One would think that working at a language school, where people chose to study would be smooth sailing but there are some really fucked up people here. Sorry, I shouldn’t be talking like that to you, after all you still plan on going here.“ I couldn’t help but wonder if her horrible day had something to do with the guy that just left but I didn’t ask. „So are you ready for you big interview?“ „Well I think so, I did study a little last night and the pointers you gave me on the weekend helped as well, plus I have really been trying...“ „Hey,“ she interrupted „I am just messing with you, it’s no big deal really. We are all really nice here and all they want to know is how good your conversation skills are compared to your written knowledge and to place you in the right group. You really can’t make any major mistakes here.“ She maneuvered herself around the reception desk and squeezed my shoulder. „Come on, let’s talk about your results first, and then one of our teachers will have a chat with you.“ It felt weird doing this with Meg, sort of like defending your dissertation in front of your friends instead of your teachers but I tried to relax. We went over to the same room that I took the last test and sat down. „So, it was all pretty good, based on the written test we are going to place you in a more advanced group. So basically everyone will know the rules, a little vocabulary, how to introduce themselves and so on. It is a group that already exists, but don’t worry, you’ll fit in fine and I am sure you’ll make friends there in a second.“ She smiled her big and generous smile. „The conversational part is just to make sure, that we really made the right choice but from what I have heard on the weekend you will be totally fine. Plus we will just practice more when we go out next weekend, right?“ „Right.“ I was pretty content, as long as I wasn’t with the total beginners it was ok with me. And I didn’t care if the group already existed, they were probably still all strangers in this city and it should be easy to find some new people there. I felt a lot calmer when Megan gut up to get my teacher, a kind looking older lady who looked a lot more German than anyone else here. We spoke about my parents and what I did in Germany, about my boyfriend and my hobbies and what I had seen of Munich so far and it was over before I knew it. She thanked me in German and told me she was going to get Meg who came in with a big smile and some papers. „See I told you, you would great. So you’ll be in the group I told you about. It’s you and 5 others in the group, so it won’t be too many people. You’ll have class Mondays at 4 so a little earlier than you came in today and also Wednesday and Friday in the evening. Is that going to work out with your studies?“ „Yeah Monday and Friday is perfect, and the class is when on Wednesday?“ „At 5.“ „That should work as well. Thank you so much for your help Meg, i am so glad you work here.“ „Yeah me too, most of the time. So let’s get all the financial stuff out of the way so you can start having some fun.“ I signed the paperwork and gave her my new German banking information so that they could just deduct the monthly fees from it „Welcome to your amazing German experience. You are going to learn a lot here“ Megan laughed. She clearly couldn’t have known the life lesson that was awaiting me.