Monday, May 14, 2012

A Few More First Days

So, where was I? Ah, yes, Friday!

I woke up at 6 AM, as usual, and decided that I had plenty of time to explore town before my 11 AM appointment at the bank. I found a T-mobile store (it's actually a German company, it's my service provider at home, in case you didn't know.) I kept walking and found a McDonald's, no actually it found me.. Talk about marketing and advertisements! There were signs up ALL OVER the city pointing you towards it. They had a wireless hot spot (through T-mobile) there but it didn't like my American phone number so I couldn't connect. Sad panda. I guess I underestimated the German's laid-back-ness a bit, because even at 8:30 AM, none of the stores were open. There's an H&M and a few other "big" stores (much better than Houghton's "mall" but no Mall of America.)
here's the link to the image

I headed back to my room and gathered some things and headed to the bank, in the opposite direction from which I came. I wound up being 20 minutes early because I didn't know how long the walk would be but it gave me plenty of time to grab some food and get a coffee. The meeting with Herr Müller went surprisingly well, his English was very good and he set up my account. It would be a few days before I got the account numbers in the mail though and since I didn't have Internet I couldn't set up online banking yet. Not only do I have to wait forever for everything here, I also have a ton of fees. 2,50 euro/month just to have the account, 0,10 euro/online transfer, 5,00 euro/year to have a debit card... At least the first year was waived for the debit card. They don't use checks here, so to pay my rent, I have to do an online transfer. Once I put in the information into the online banking system, they send me an "SMS" or text message (that ones hard to get used to) and it has a number that I then have to input. Everything requires a signature here and that counts as a signature, and costs me 0,10 euro each time.

I found this image here
 While I was in the bank, Patrick called me (he's my second cousin) and he got my address. He used to own a cell phone store here and he would send me a German phone and a SIM card. The phone he sent was one of his old ones and it worked fine but he also bought me a new android phone too and with it, I get free Internet and low cost text's to any phone in Germany and low cost texts to America (well, lower costs than with my mother's plan.) It is a Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini.. And it's totally "mini", about the size of a credit card and a half inch thick maybe.

After I left the bank, Patrick called me again to make sure that my address information was correct. Apparently, the information that my neighbor gave me was incorrect. She gave me the wrong postal code, which means that I gave the bank the wrong one too. Man, I felt stupid. When I went back to the bank to clear it up, they were already on lunch and so, I would have to wait until Monday to fix it.

It was time for me to find where I would be working. And what an adventure it was! I didn't have Internet yet so mom had to look it up for me and text me directions. It sounded REALLY far away. None the less, I started off on the way. Turn by turn directions via text aren't as help as originally thought haha. I was lost, I wound up going nearly a Kilometer too far. I turned around and found the street where I was supposed to turn. It really wasn't that far. Maybe a 25-30 minute walk from my apartment.

I even asked a few women who worked for Benteler where building 14 was and none of them knew, I was worried!When I walked down the street (Kaiser-Heinrich-Straße) I found the building I needed to get to but it was on the other side of the river. I waited a bit and saw a woman walk out of the building and she crossed through an above ground tunnel. I creeped on her the whole way and finally found the door. BUT.. I found where I needed to go on Monday at 9 AM for my first day of work. I had originally found the plant and thought that was where I needed to go, but nope, it was around the corner a ways. Finally found it tucked in a corner and went home.

I spent all of Saturday morning in bed, waiting for my package to come. Finally around 1 PM, I had a text from home saying that the package wouldn't be there until Monday. I was a bit upset that I had waited so long, but oh well, off on another adventure. I walked into town and was surprised to see so many people. There were street vendors and food and stages everywhere. What could this be?! After much walking and exploring, I finally found this sign, it was the "Frühlings Fest", the spring festival. I had a bratwurst and a beer and enjoyed some music. There were a lot of people there but I still felt alone. I really don't like going places like this, well, anywhere alone really.

I kept looking around and even found a Subway restaurant. My brother laughed when I told him that. Before I left Houghton, the gas station I worked at was selling shamrocks for the MDA and having sold so many, I got a $10 Subway gift card. I thought it best to use it while I was still in the US, so Jeff and I went out for lunch and used it. It was fun, and much needed quality time with my big brother!

I began walking back to my room (or apartment I guess) but suddenly my phone was ringing! My Aunt Sarah was calling. Apparently my father had called and told her that I was very lonely and without Internet and that a call from family would help. And boy did it! We didn't talk long, but it was good to have some connection with my loved ones, especially while I was feeling so alone. When I got back to my room, mom called too and we talked but I fell asleep and woke up at 9 PM.

When I woke up, I debated if I should go out wandering more or just stay in. I said "fuck it even it's over, I can find a bar and get a beer" and went out. I'm glad I did too! While I was on my way out, I heard someone else in the kitchen so I went in and introduced myself in German, but this guy didn't speak a lick of it. He's from Sweden and speaks English and Swedish. So we spoke in English. He works for Benteler too, in sales, at the same place but not in the same building as me. He said that five of the people on the floor or more work for Benteler too. On the weekends it is usually just him since everyone goes home but he seemed nice. Albeit a bit stuck-up and very "richy-rich-rich" sounding, he was nice. (He even brought his car here from Sweden!)

Once I got into town, I found out that the festival was all weekend long and it was still going hard. More bands and even more people in downtown Paderborn. I walked around to see if I saw anyone I had met at the B.I.B. (the university) but no luck, so I sat at a booth and had a beer. The music was OK, not as good as I had ever heard, plus there were so many people near the stages that I couldn't really see or her well so I went back home.

I came home and immediately went to bed. Monday was coming fast and I needed sleep to be ready for work! Speaking of which, I need to go to bed. Again, more to come!

No comments:

Post a Comment