The Hives

This is my second concert in Germany. Actually I don’t really familiar with their music. So at first, I am a bit undecided for going. It was my classmate who encourages me to go. He wants to go, and knowing that I am a rock chic, so he asks me to join. Before deciding, I made my own research: browsing into Youtube and Wikipedia to learn about The Hives.

I found out that their songs are pretty easy listening. Not too special, actually. But what makes me interested is that they are a good performer. They are among top live rock performers according to some music magazines. So, it surely worth to watch.

So, that’s how it started. I decided to watch.

The concert was on Friday 28 March 2008 in Pier 2, Bremen. The place is in harbor area, far away from city centre. It looks like a big storage room. The capacity is for 2,000 people. Me and my friend arrives at around 7 PM because it said that the concert will started at 8 PM. But of course we don’t believe that.

After we go inside, I put my jacket in the jacket place. In here, the cost is only €1 although I put 2 pieces of clothes: my sweater & my jacket. There’re some of drink booths inside the arena, so people won’t get thirsty. In Indonesia, mostly drinks are not allowed inside the arena. Well it’s not the drinks that will make problems. It’s the container, like glass or bottle. It could create a plastic bottle or plastic glass wars.

Since the place isn’t so big, the stage also closes to the audiences and not too high. So, although it doesn’t have big screens, I don’t have a problem to watch it. Well, it depends of course. If most of people in front of me are tall, then I am in trouble.

Anyway, before The Hives plays, there’s an opening act for about 40 minutes. And then, at around 9.15 PM, The Hives plays. And just like what people claims, they are surely a good performers!!! Not just they are so crazy in stage, but they surely can make the audiences hysterical. They know how to interact with the audiences and make them scream. For example, they always call ‘Ladies…?!’; so the ladies will scream. And then they call ‘Gentlemen…?!’; so the gentlemen will shout. Or, they ‘threat’ us that they are not gonna sing the next song if we haven’t scream harder enough or until most of the audiences clapping.

The show itself isn’t a type of sing along concert. It becomes a big moshing pit!!! Everybody just dancing, jumping, and pushing everywhere. I don’t know how many times my feet get step on. Once, I get pushed very hard and my head lands on the back of a big guy. That feels really really worst! But surprisingly, no fight among the audiences. If somebody falls down, then people next to him or her will help to make standing up again. Woow, that’s a very nice rock concert attitude. Something that, somehow, is rare to see in Indonesia.

And what makes me more amazed, I bring my small rucksack with me. So I am moshing around with rucksack in my back. And I don’t know how, but my rucksack is opened and my stuffs start falling out! And I don’t realize it at all, until a girl behind me grabs me and tells me. Of course I am so shocked, but apparently she managed to save my stuffs! In the end, I just lost one battery of my camera. My camera falls and opened, Thank God, the card is still intact!!! (Oh God, probably in Indonesia, people will tell me after they steal my camera!!!). I really can’t thank enough about how grateful I am.

The show lasts in 1.5 hours. And like before, it takes me long time to get my jacket back. And the situation isn’t friendly anymore, people just pushing around to get their jackets! I guess I feel more unsafe during this rather than in moshing arena…

Apart from all the bruises and sore body that I got from the concert, I feel so starving. What an exhausted concert! We stop by at Mc Donald’s with new friends that we make during the concert before we go back home.


video

The Hives rocks!

Copy Service

I really miss the copy service in Indonesia. How come I don’t… There, if you want to copy something, you go to the copy shop and just give what you want to copy. There’ll be operator that provides the copy service. You just have to wait until it finished. And if the queuing is too long, you can just drop your document and leave. You can comeback again later when the document is (predictably) copied.

In Germany, dream on! Don’t wish to have that kind of service…! In here, you are expected to master every machine that exists in the world. If you go to a copy shop, they will just direct you to go to available copy machine and then you have to do the copy process by yourself! Each copy machine has its own counter, so you will be charged by the calculation from the counter.

Luckily, I am pretty familiar with copy machine from my previous office; so I can prevent any unnecessary charge in wasting paper to get the exact copy as I want to. I don’t know how it’s gonna be if I need special kind of copy like to enlarge or minimize it because all the instructions are in German.

Now I wonder, how about binding and laminating services, do I also have to do it by myself? Gosh, why should I pay if I have to do it by myself…???

Mensa

Mensa is a food court for student. And as it is for student, the price is surely cheap. The main menu in Mensa is called ‘Essen 1’ and ‘Essen 2’.

Essen 2 costs €1 and Essen 1 costs €2. The cost is covering the carbohydrate part (rice or noodle or potato) and protein part. Usually Essen 2 is a vegetarian menu, but sometime they switched. For Essen 1, the cost will also cover a dessert (yoghurt or fruit or instant pudding) and/or soup.

Other than these main menus, there are also other corners like Salad corner, Pasta corner, Vegetarian corner, Burger corner, etc. But these corners are a bit expensive. So if you in a tight budget, the main menu will be the perfect choice.

German Mating Behavior

Okay, since now I know that German guys only being flirty at certain places, I want to know what they will really do to start it.

My German classmate has given me advice for this kinda behavior and called it as ‘German Mating Behavior’. He said, single and available persons will just dance alone in the dance floor so he or she can be spotted by others. So if you spotted a guy or a girl dancing alone, and you like it, then try to make an eye contact. And the rest will be followed.

So, to test this, I made my own observation. At that time, I dance with my 3 girlfriends. And apparently this is enough to attract single guys surrounding us. They dance around us and try to become part of our circle. I think the next part will be how the girl reacted. The girl has to make ‘clear clue’ that she accepts the guy. At that time, I didn’t find any interesting guy around, so I avoid making an eye contact with them. Oh well, at least now I know how to play the game ;)

Back to Luisental

Luisental is the name of my student apartment.

When finally it’s the time for me to occupy my new room, I am extremely happy. Although my contract is started at March 1st, but since that date is Saturday, I am allowed to move in February 28th.

Yes, yes, yes!!! What I like about my new room is it’s in a second floor so I can open my curtain wide without having a feeling that everybody is watching me. Previously, my room is in the 1st floor, so it seems that everybody that passes in the road is watching through my window. And also, my new room is facing toward East direction. So I can get morning sunlight, something that I can’t get from my old room. Well I think it’s important to get morning sunlight in here cause usually the sunshine only happen before noon. After noon, most of the time, the sun is covered by heavy clouds.

Since my new room is in the same building as my old one, then the design and furniture are all the same. But… there’s a slightly difference. Everything that is in the left side before, now it’s in the right side. For example, in my old room, if I enter the room then the kitchen is on my left side while the bathroom is on the right side. And in my new room, the kitchen is on my right side and the bathroom is on my left side!!! So there I am, spending my first week just to get use to of myself. I keep looking for a light button in the right side or touching the right side of the window for opening it…

This is how my new room looks like.

video

Being Homeless

So there I was, being homeless for about a month. Well okay, half homeless cause I stay at my friend’s room. Nothing to complain cause everything is there. So I don’t have to bring all my stuffs. I just have to bring some of my clothes and my laptop, as I do when traveling. The rest of my stuffs are stay at my old room because my future new room is only upstairs from my old room. So my old and future new room is in the same building, while my temporary room is far away from there.

Although my temporary room is nice, but somehow I don’t feel homey. Maybe because I have to move in and then out again after 3 weeks…. I don’t know. But everyday, I just go outside and spend my time until I feel tired. So I just come back in tired and then sleep. That’s all for 3 weeks!

Sub-renting

I come to Germany before the new study year started. This means, there are many new students and they all look for a place to live. In here, there’re what so called student apartments; or apartment that made for students. However, the student apartments in Bremen are not as many as the number of the students itself. So the competition to get a room is pretty high.

Student apartments are of course relatively cheaper in price compare to general apartment. And what I love the most is the price is for all inclusive, like furniture, energy cost, and internet. So I don’t have to control my water or electricity use. Nice, isn’t it?
To get a single room in student apartment, we have to apply to ‘Studentenwerk’. If there’s an available room, then they will contact us. Although the procedure is very easy, but the waiting list is crazy!

And regarding to that waiting list issue, I can’t have my own room when I came to Germany. A lot of students have submitted their application a year before they study here!!! So, as you can guess, I end up in the waiting list. As a solution, I was offered to subrent a room owned by a student that has to go back to his home country for doing research. This way, I’ll have a room for 6 months. And when the 6 months is over, it is hoped that I can get a room of my own as some other students will graduate and leave their apartment.

So that’s how it works. I live in the student apartment as a subrenter for 6 months. But then when the time is near for me to go out, the Studentenwerk can’t provide me a new room directly. My subrent contract has to be ended at 31st January 2008 and my new room only available at 1st March 2008!!! So… I have to be homeless for the month of February.
The guy that own my room came at February 3rd, and only because of his big heart, I can stay until the 10th cause I have exams in the 8th. After that… homeless! Well this problem is pretty distracting my mind. I have to concentrate on my exams yet I also have to look for a place to stay. After asking here and there to my friends, finally I can occupy my classmate’s room because she will go to her home country after the exams.

Apartment – Introduction

In ‘Arrival’ topic, you can read that I have experience in being stranded once I arrive at Germany. Well, apparently that’s not the only time I experience the ‘homeless’ issue. In this topic, you’ll find why and how.

Cinemaxx Bremen

This is one of the famous cinemas in Bremen, it called Cinemaxx. It consists of 9 theatres. What makes it different with cinema in Indonesia: In Indonesia, 1 theater plays the same movie in one day. But not in Germany. One theatre can play 2 to 3 films in one day, so you really have to pay attention on the schedule.

What I don’t like about this cinema, it doesn’t have a place in the armchair to put your drink. I guess this Cinemaxx should have been renovated cause there’s other cinema in Bremen that has more facilities like drink placer and even sofa size chair.

This is how Cinemaxx looks like.

video

False Alarm

Today I woke up because the sun light strikes through my close curtain. Not just the light, I think I can feel the warmness too. Aaaah… I am so happy, it’s gonna be a bright sunshine day.

But when I open my curtain, this is what I find out:

video

I guess, this is just a false alarm. I don’t think the cold weather is fun anymore. (Well It has never been, actually).

Sport Shower – Another Culture Shock

The culture shock that I experience from sport is the amount of nudity! In the shower place, there’s no divider between one shower to another; as you can see in the picture. In Indonesia, shower place will have dividers, so everybody can has its own private time and place.

I join swimming activity first. There, I can take shower without having to open my swimsuit. So I can survive this part. But when I join badminton activity, then I have no choice, I have to go naked like others!!! Aaah… that’s so embarrassing :(

Social Value in Sport

There’s a different social value of sport activities in Indonesia and Germany. Well at least, that’s what I experience. In Indonesia, before we start the training session then the trainer or at least someone in charge will open the training session. This person will start making small conversation to participants before the training start. And that’s not happening here in Germany. The person in charge is just greeting the participants and that’s all. Nothing more.

Outside the training session itself, no social gathering at all. For example, if the training session hasn’t started yet, then the already-arrived participants don’t mix together. They will wait separately. Also when the training session is over. The participants just go away. So if you are alone in joining the training then probably you will always be alone. I don’t say that you can’t make friend, but probably you’ll just keep having chit chat forever. A very different situation compare to Indonesia. The time before and after trainings are time for social gathering, where people just hang out together and talking. Friendship and probably business can be start from this point. Nobody will be left alone or ignored.

Spring

One way to survive the winter is to keep in mind that after winter is over, then spring time will come. Aaah… spring…! Time where all the trees and flowers bloom, birds are back and sing, the clouds are gone… So when I enter the month of March, I feel optimistic.

And yes, the blunt trees start to have leaf and flower again. The bird’s sing can be heard from early in the morning. The temperature starts to increase slowly. But just when you think that everything is getting better, the weather will let you down!

One time, the sun is shining so bright. The temperature is so warm; it makes you want to go out. So I go out to downtown. But then in the afternoon, it’s slowly getting darker and colder. And finally it’s raining. Even the change of weather is already surprising, cause you have a bright sunny day but then turns into raining. But that’s not the only surprise, the rain is an icy rain!

Other time, I wake up in the morning and open my curtain. I surprise to find out that I see snow covering the whole place!!! When is this snow coming? And then when I feel ready to have a cold day, the sun is coming brightly and melting all the snow…!!! Weird!!!

video

So after those 2 experiences, I am not going to hope too much with all the season here. I don’t care whether there’re 4 seasons or 100. It’s all the same to me. Mostly are cold and unpredictable.

Swimming

In Indonesia, swimming is the only sport that I do, because it won’t make me sweating. Indonesia is so hot, you don’t need to do any sport to get sweat. But in Germany, actually I need to sweat because it’s cold.

However, swimming is the only sport that I am comfortable to do. So I have to continue swimming. Luckily, in here beside summer time, the swimming pool is an indoor one. During summer, only outdoor swimming pools are open.
If there’s anything strange about it, the pool has funny opening time. It opens at 06.30AM until 09.00AM everyday and only in some days has afternoon or evening hours. The reason is, the pool has many various program so the opening hours for public is limited. The program that the pool has is swimming training, senior class, etc.

For this activity, I take the morning time. I go swimming before my class started.

Badminton

As an Indonesian, playing badminton is just like German with football. It’s a common one and people expect you to be good on it just because your country has won many international championship. So, when there’s ‘sport holiday program’ during spring break, I submit myself to badminton. I thought, how hard would that be? I am Indonesian…

But apparently I am being extremely cocky. In the first day, there are 3 girls in the court. And since I come late, so I don’t have a choice; I have to play against a guy. And this guy isn’t just a regular guy. He’s so good at badminton.

I think in less than 30 minutes, I already feel my whole body burning. I am so thirsty, tired, my muscle all sore. Well now I know what’re the different in playing in Indonesia and Europe. In Indonesia, I used to play in the street. This means, the match is mostly disrupted because the ball falls into a gutter or stuck in a tree. And sometime, there’s a car passing by so you have to stop for awhile. So, I think these Europeans are always playing in the proper place: indoor stadium or so. Not to mention about the quality. I think all people who join the badminton program are not beginners. They must have been joining a club before. I think they are not challenged at all whenever they play with me. And if I join a double game, I become the target for the opponent to gain points.

In the end, I feel completely collapsed. My arm, especially my right arm; my back; my hips; my asses; my legs, everything are in pain. Even my palm can’t be opened widely because I grip the racket too long. I need about 3 days to recover.

And I think after playing it in a month, nobody wants to play with me anymore because I am such a baby to them. Once the trainer plays with me, and he doesn't even move a muscle. Me? Oh I am surely having a good sport, running around here and there to chase the ball; while he just standing in the middle of his site the whole time!

Sport – Introduction

To balance my degree of eating with my calorie burning, I do some sports. Well I have to do it or else I’ll end with fat tummy that feels so hurt. Beside, having sports mean I can eat even a lot more… ;)

Tax for TV and Radio

Germany is known as a high tax country. So if you have a high salary, don’t be too excited so fast cause you’ll then pay high amount of tax. But that’s OK maybe, because infrastructure in Germany is very good anyway. At least, we can see that our tax is used for something real.

But what makes me surprise, Germany really make tax out of everything. Even for having TV and radio!!! My German friends say that the tax office will send a letter. If we claim that we don’t have TV or radio, then they might come randomly to check!!!

However, the good thing is, they can’t enter your place if you don’t give any permission. So if there’s a stranger come, don’t let her or him in.

Hmmm… now I remember about the same situation in Indonesia. Before the reformation era, there’s always a lady who come to collect tax for TV. However, I think it’s only my house in the neighborhood that pays the TV’s tax. And after 1998, I never have seen anyone come to collect the tax. Maybe hiring someone to collect costs more than the tax income.

Once, my father wants to register his radio for tax purpose. But then he was asked to give copy of purchase and the series number of the radio. My father was perplexed and his mood was deteriorated. Since then, taxing radio is out of question for him.

For me, I think it’s too much now to tax TV and radio. Imagine, almost every electronic device can have radio or TV on it, like cell phone, internet, or even refrigerator! Do you have to pay for all of those? C’mon! Beside, in Indonesia, even people in remote islands can have those things. If the government can’t even provide teachers or doctors, then don’t ever dream to send tax collector there!

Food Sharing

In Indonesia (I think even in Asia), if we have food and want to eat it in front of friends that don’t have food, then we have to offer our food to them. Eating alone in front of your friends or people that you know is considered as impolite. So if you don’t want to share food, then don’t eat in front of your friends. Of course your friends will most likely reject your offer if they know you only have small portion; but still, you have to offer.

But not in here. If you are talking with your friend and then your friend takes out his or her sandwich and start eating without offering you, that’s okay. Although you may end up with drooling, but if your friend doesn’t offer any, then he doesn’t do anything wrong from etiquette point of view.

Snorting

Surprise… surprise… Snorting, or exhaling the mucus from your nose, in public is acceptable in Germany! So don’t ever surprise if in a quiet classroom or during eating time, somebody just take out his or her tissue and snorting. Although I am not good in manners, but sometime hearing someone snorting is really distracting.

German Etiquette - Introduction

In this part, I’ll elaborate any habit or attitude in Germany that considered as ‘different’ to Indonesian or even Asian.

Hot Chocolate

One of my favorite drinks in Germany is Hot Chocolate. Well I am not much a coffee drinker actually. So hot choco is surely a nice option when I go to a café. Beside, one hot choco is enough to give you calorie and make your body warm. In short, hot choco is the perfect drink in this cold weather.

So, since I crave so much of hot choco, I buy some chocolate (instant) powder to make my own at home. However, my own home-made hot choco never taste as good as the one in the cafes. I don’t understand, what do they put in the hot choco? Why theirs are highly concentrated while mine always diluted? Why? It’s an instant one, it should be just be added by hot water like any other instant drink…

But actually this is the part why I get it wrong. When my German friend looks at my version of hot choco, he tells me that I should pour a milk rather than water!!! Hehehe… nice!! No wonder my hot choco always taste sucks…

Lesson learned: read the instruction carefully and don’t be such a smartass!!!