ab nach amieland!
Nervous energy. Everywhere. Right down to my fingertips. Tomorrow morning I will get on a plane in Frankfurt, and tomorrow afternoon I will get off of a plane in New Jersey. When I think about it even just a little I am still completely astounded by the concept of flying. Every single time.
It has been two years since I last set foot in the U.S.of.A., and I have a poll running: who will be the one with the worst case of culture shock? I’m betting on myself. It’ll be a close win, though, as the Beard has never set one single toe there.
I remember the details, and I explain them to others. “You’re gonna have a hell of a time finding rolling tobacco and papers,” I say. “The beds in America have one big blanket instead of two. And the pillows are rectangular not square,” I say, a side note. “But there’s not going to be any public transportation there,” I explain. But what I don’t really remember is how I feel in America, or what it’s like to speak English every day of the week. The things there will be familiar, yet far-off, intimate memories yet still not daily normalities.
The trip looks something like this: New Jersey, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, Nebraska, Maryland, New York, and finally, back to the arm pit of the earth to fly home again at the end of October. Two months! Two! And yet when I start to list off all of the things we’ll do and all of the places we’ll see, it starts sounding like far too little time.
It is Tuesday morning, and it is my turn to do the dishes. I pour water from the canister next to the stove into a large metal pot, and I light one of the burners on the stove. While the water is heating, I read blogs. What a strange combination of the primitively simple and modern technology…
Once the water is warm I put in a pile of plates and start to wash. Sometimes I use organic biodegradable soap that I can pour on the garden when I’m finished. But the organic biodegradable soap doesn’t cut grease for shit, so I often use poison chemical whatever soap and afterward I pour it in the gutter in the street behind the platz.
The milk and cheese from breakfast are on the table next to my computer: it has gotten cold outside again, and I don’t bother carrying the dairy products to the next refrigerator when I know they’ll be just fine sitting on the table until tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. I revel in not needing a refrigerator, though I hope to find some containers suitable to make a wet-sand cool box thing for next summer.
When all of the dishes are clean and piled in the drying rack, the water is tinted red from last night’s spaghetti.
I have started moving things into my wagon. Euphoria has descended. I have grinned like an idiot. I have sighed like a love-lorn princess. I have hopped up and down while clapping my hands. Pictures have been taken. Objects have been moved from one wagon to another. Exclamation points and cartwheels have been handed out in abundance.
The moving-in chaos:
Now, at the end of this long gauntlet, I find myself reminiscing fondly. “Remember that time it took eights hours to dig out the wheels, and another six to pull it out of that little garden plot??!” Or not so fondly, as the case may be.
Now I lay on my bed and ask myself, can this really be the same structure? Can I really have done all of this work myself? And if I did, are the walls likely to cave in at any second?
More practically, I have also found myself wondering how much money the whole project has cost me. So, for the detail oriented, here’s a breakdown (in euros):
Cost of the wagon: 0
Cost of wagon transport: 75
Hippy insulation (eco hemp insulation): 123.30
Building supplies, tools, and the decadent
light fixture I bought myself for my birthday: 455.84
Building supplies that I probably bought and
then lost the receipts for: 200 (possibly a bit less, at that point I was dirt poor)
What all of this detail mongering means is that I “bought” and completely redid a house for just under 900 euros: a lot considering my dumpster ethic, and nothing at all when I remind myself that I used to pay 300 euros each month in rent on an apartment that was smaller than said “house.” *Opens self-congratulatory bottle of champagne and tips decadently over head.*
people of bingen, cologne, and düsseldorf!
Gorilla songs! Whiskey! Bar fights! Good conversation! Self-produced CDs and cassette tapes! Household appliances turned into instruments!
We (we=Black Diamond Express Train to Hell) are going on an itsy bitsy weekend tour, and I’ve gone and broken out six years’ worth of exclamation points just to tell you about it.
Friday, August 13th: Keine Wut mehr? Festival, JUZ Bingen. One lonesome country blues band in a sea of asi Deutsch punk and sludge and who the hell knows what else. What time will we play? Will we will chased from the building with molitov cocktails? Or will whiskey save strained human relations once again? There’s only one way to find out.
Saturday, August 14th: Venloerstrassenfest II Qlosterstuffe, Cologne. Rumor has it that we’ll be playing at 6 pm sharp.
Sunday, August 15th: Vokü @ the Bauwagenplatz, Düsseldorf. Cheap and delicious vegan food, cheap and delicious country music.
Between shows we’ll be lurking the streets, playing music, and pressing our donation hat in your general direction.
At the end of the month, just before the Beard and I run off to America for a few months, we’ll be playing the Wiesbaden Folklore Festival (August 28th), and if you miss that you’re going to have to wait three whole months before you get another chance to see us play…
my other life
It isn’t that I haven’t been writing lately. Though wagon/trailer/wheeled-house-ship repair has consumed most of my life, I am still out there writing for money two days a week. This is certainly better than not writing, but whether or not it is better than writing more amazing things for no money is up for debate (whatdoya think writer readers?). But I certainly can’t complain. I wanted to be a travel writer and here I am, getting paid to sleep in castles and tour underground tunnels in Berlin. Exclamation points for everyone!
So, in case you’ve been wondering where the hell I’ve been and what I’ve been doing there, here’s a map of my most recent work excursions.
There was a general ode to traveling in Germany: Your Destination Germany.
I went to Berlin, and then I wrote this: Hello, Berlin. (And someday I will remember to tell you all about how, while in Berlin, I also explored an abandoned amusement park. Oh was that creepy and amazing.)
Then I went to Bacharach, stayed in a castle-turned-youth hostel, and I wrote this.
I also convinced a few people to send me free books. There is nothing better than getting a free book, and then getting paid to read it and write about it and/or talk to the author and write about that. I get to read and write and have money for things like hemp insulation, and the authors get publicity. Everybody wins. This time it was Those Crazy Germans and Deutschland Umsonst.
In other news: I am almost finished moving into my wagon, and once the shock of that wears off, I will be here to tell you about it in excrutiating detail. Until then…