Archive for March, 2006

Smoking in Germany – Oh, how the cigarette rolls.

Before I came to Germany I came to the conclusion that I was going to stop smoking. That didn’t happen. There were a few reasons for this, mainly being so horribly stressed out in regards to my surroundings that I came to the concious decision that it was only going to make thing horribly worse. I have managed to cut down significantly, partially due to the fact that I’m not longer in a constant position in front of an ashtray like I was at work in Tel Aviv, and due to the fact that cigarettes here are just so damned expensive.

Interestingly enough, though, the smoking culture in Germany is vastly different than what I assumed it to be. I was under the impression that Germany, like other EU countries and the US was going to have a sort of “lockdown” on smoking, such as in public places. Not only is this not true, but more people seem to be smoking here than I have every seen anywhere else. Restaurants and cafes rarely have a non-smoking section, there are cigarette machines virtually everywhere (about ever 100 meters or so), about 90% of the people I have met so far have been smokers, every second person who passes by me on the street has a cigarette in his hand and despite all this…

… there are just about no public ashtrays!

With all these in mind, I’m rather proud of myself for being able to cut down the way I did, especially with all the stress and irritation that seems to be randomly being spewed my way (kind of like shit hitting the fan, except that you’re standing right in front of it when it does). The jist of it is, that I have about four weeks of sitting on my hands until the working office decides if they want to let me work in the country or not, I seem to have a bizarre medical condition concerning something on my finger which I haven’t seen a doctor for yet (I will next week), and the state of Israel not letting me vote for the Israeli knesset. The latter really irritates me.

Other than that everything is going great around here. If you haven’t yet, please go check out the photos from last weekend at the port and when I get around to it, I’ll take a few photos of the surrounding area. I live in a wonderful small apartment with my darling boyfriend which is just about in the center of the city, I have most everything I need in walking distance, and there’s a subway station not far away (which I really haven’t had the courage to take alone yet, but I’m sure that I eventually will).

And the really good news? Shampoo and conditioner are so horribly cheap here, it’s painful.

Friday afternoon in Hamburg


We landed on the morning of Monday the 13th at one of Berlin’s airports. I was feeling horrible – the flu I had before flying had managed to make it’s way for a really bad cold, most possibly one of the worst colds I have ever had. The flight was dull and the airline food was spongey, I was actually very pleased to finally land in the -3c weather of Berlin. It had just snowed a few nights before, and the air was fresh and clean.

We spent the afternoon wandering around a bit, and meeting up with Ami and his lovely girlfriend. In the evening we were off for a two-hour drive to Hamburg. This is when I learned my 1st lesson in Being German: drive 140km/ph down the highway and you’re a sitting duck. Drive 190km/ph and you’re a-ok.

The following day in Hamburg amounted to meeting the family, taking a 6-hour afternoon nap and visiting the dungeons of the Waagenbau. The following day was devoted almost entirely for CeBIT in Hannover although I must admit – it wasn’t anything to write home about. Technology has never been so boring. Even the Israeli companies didn’t reprezent (yo).

The following day I spent some time unpacking the rest of my things while Felix was at work, later on we attended a nice Jazz show in the Harburg train station, which is just outside the city. Tonight is a rather large party – Waagenbau is celebrating 3 years and we’re going to be there, I haven’t gone out to a proper party in a long time (including Israel) so tonight should be extra-special.

Hopefully during the weekend I’ll manage to get some photos taken – I haven’t taken any photographs yet and the area around the aparentment is very lovely, the apartment itself is great and I’d love to be able to show you all what things look like from over here. It’s very different from Israel, but so far I have only found these differences to be superficial. I know that as time goes on I will find them lurking in other corners, but as far as everything else is concerned, the differences are only skin-deep enough for me to feel at home right away.

Long, weary, last night in Israel

So it is.

The counter on is now counting into the minus-range. I assumed it would quit counting, but it seems to have it’s own idea of space/time.

Should I be buzzing? Should my heart be beating through my chest? It’s not. I feel as casual as can be (considering I’m sporting a fever and a headache). My computer has been disassembled, all my clothes are packed away, everything is in it’s place and my room is just about bare. It doesn’t look – or feel – like my room anymore. This might take a large part in the fact that I’m not having any squishy feelings about leaving it. Even as I’m sitting here on my brother’s PC and typing away, I don’t feel like I’m going to be leaving my family in a few hours, or anything in particular is about to happen.

Intersting how, the reason for this casual attitude might just be due to the buildup. Nothing was done at the last minute, everything was taken care of, everything’s figured out and hopefully, there are no loose ends. The last thing for now to do is to just take the flight, which doesn’t really complete any kind of circle, seeing as there are another few aluminum spring-loops to jump through when I get to Hamburg.

Actually, I still have some things to take care of and clean up before I hit the sack, so I’m going to forego the entire idea of writing a long, sniveling, drooling blog post. Instead, you get this:

בשנה הב�?ה בירושלי�? בהמבורג!

- Liron in Israel, signing off.

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