A Hasty Retreat

You might have noticed the lack of new content here (all three of you). It is not the usual loss of interest that comes so often after the initial rush of writing your own blog has faded. It’s because I had to leave the US of A on a pretty short notice. Like a four-day-notice. Contradictory to popular belief I wasn’t kicked out by the authorities after they have found about my “secret hobby”*. I got sick, my condition worsened and I wanted to get home to receive the treatment I needed, in the environment that I felt comfortable in. Besides that, as I mentioned here, I didn’t want to single-handedly bring down my insurance company with outrageous bills. It’s been a couple of very rough months, not only for me but also for the people around me. Some folks claim it’s because of Saturn being in the house of Ariel the Mermaid or something but I don’t believe in that sort of stuff. Also, Nasa has declined my wish to nuke that f*cker. So there is that.

During the last 180 days I learned a lot about me and — I guess — life. I learned that sometimes you have to ask for help and I am still deeply grateful to the nice girl working for Global Medical Management that listened to me and calmed me down when I was freaking out. I learned a lot about being homesick, too. I found new friends, realized the importance of old ones and will emerge a different, more mature person than I was before.

I also learned that our educational system has some blind spots of its own. For example let’s say you are a good student and almost done with your thesis but you somehow managed to fall ever so slightly behind the “Regulstudienzeit” — the number of semester you should need to complete your studies if you were Sheldon Cooper — you are no longer eligible for “Bafög” — the nicer form of student loans without interest. But you need to stay enrolled in order to write your thesis. Now imagine you get sick and are unable to work to support your extravagant lifestyle. Or maybe you cannot work because writing your thesis consumes ALL your time and energy and also you are on a deadline. You could go and ask for welfare — or “Harz IV” as we poetically call it. But that would mean you have to drop out of university. Without a degree you would then be able to pick up one the paid retraining programs that are offered by the government to learn a job where you end up less qualified and therefor less likely to earn as much as you could have if you had just finished your studies which in return means you can pay less taxes to support other poor bastards in the same situation. Also it takes much longer and costs more money. If you trust the credibility of the “Statistische Bundesamt” (federal bureau for statistics I guess) not even 40% of students complete their studies within the given time window. Why it is still called “regular time” and not “exceptional time” is beyond me. This shows that I am not the exception to the rule but the rule and that I have to get by just like the other 60%: By relying on friends and family. And that feels so good at the age of 34.

Anyway, I am back. I will have to rethink what I am going to do with this blog but I’ll figure something out.

*Please, that is just a joke. Don’t look into it! I am making it look worse by the minute, don’t I? It’s Guantanamo isn’t it? I knew it…

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