One of the brilliant ideas Kevin never implemented at Checkpoint/Metropolis (see yesterday) was a column called Sauerkraut, in which some disaffected expat (or, hey, a German: we weren't prejudiced!) could vent on something he or she hated about Germany. You could've let me loose on opening hours (stores back then had to close at 7, but most chose to close at 6 so they'd have time to clean up or something; Saturdays they had to close at 2pm so they closed at one) and I'd have produced a Pulitzer-worthy contribution.
But despite the name of this blog, and despite some of the stuff I've been going through in the past couple of weeks, I don't want this place to become a repository of my personal Sauerkraut. There'll be plenty of it, but after I'd decided to do this, some of the strongest impulses I had to get it going came after long walks in the unemployed afternoon, walks on which I'd discover still more corners of this city I'd never before seen. It's hardly surprising that there are these undiscovered corners, because this place sprawls like L.A., but even so, there are amazing things still to be found even within walking distance of the place I've rented for over seven years.
And now, it's warming up. It's rained off and on since last night, but the sky seems to be clearing, and the current forecast is for days in the high 70s for at least most of the coming week, and I've planted the herb garden (let's welcome our newcomer, all the way from Japan: shiso!) and the Lesbian Threat next door have got their garden going (I'm no fan of flower gardens, but these gals have a real touch with planting successive waves of things that assume different forms and colors as the year goes on), and any day now one of my dwindling band of friends will make the observation that someone makes every year about this being the time that makes living in this hellhole all worth it and they'll be right.
And yes, I don't want this to be Sauerkraut exclusively, because I want to talk about some other stuff, like the psychological effect of expatriation (I'd even like to offer counselling to people seriously considering moving away from the U.S. for whatever reason, because it's not like you think it is), like food (both local and in general), and other general observations.
But don't worry: the way things are going there'll be enough Sauerkraut for even the hungriest Germanophobe.