Monday, February 1, 2010

Washington State NOT D.C.

I am on the last day of my first weekend off. I have been staying at my friends', Becky and Alyssa, home in Kandern at the same place I stayed over Christmas break. It's been very relaxing and refreshing. They are both art teachers at BFA. Last night I had the chance to go out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Lorrach (a bigger town nearby) with Becky and some of her and Alyssa's German friends from their church. Thankfully there were a few who spoke English which were the ones I talked the most to. Becky is very good in German so she talks to them in a mixture of German and English. It was, sadly to say, the first time I got to meet and socialize with German peers. It was really fun and I hope to get to hang out with them again on a future weekend or day off.

So, for a funny story...Today I went into Lorrach to get my German driver's license. A lady at the school fills out all of our paperwork for things like this and then we just each had to go and pick up our license's as soon as we got a card in the mail saying they were ready to be picked up. Cara (my Co-RA) thankfully came with me because I wasn't sure where the place was and how it all worked and such. Instead of waiting in a large waiting room and then going up to a window like the licensing places in the States, here you wait in line and then go into someone's office. So Cara and I went into a ladie's office when it was my turn and I told the lady right away (in German) that I don't speak much German. She spoke at least a little English which turned out to be helpful. She plugged some of my information in on the computer and was looking at my Washington driver's license and started making a couple phone calls and then went over to someone else's office. I wasn't sure what was going on because I knew that Washington state has full reciprocity for getting a driver's license over here. She came back into the office with another man and they started to say that I needed to take a test. As we start to talk about this, with basic and slow English, Cara catches on to the fact that they are talking about Washington state vs. D.C. Ever since I've got here I'm always careful to say that I'm from Washington state because I know that they will assume D.C. if I just said Washington. But now the lady is saying that they need proof that it is Washington STATE. I tried to explain that because it's the state's name that the license isn't going to say state on it. She starts making more phone calls, meanwhile Cara is on the phone trying to get someone from BFA to explain in German to these people the difference between state and D.C. The lady leaves the room again and Cara sees the guy who had come in to help Google Washington state with a look of "awww" come over his face when he started to understand. Thankfully, when the lady came back in she said they sent a fax or something over to Washington (not sure if she ment state or D.C.) and they confirmed for her that I was in fact from Washington state not D.C. This was a HUGE relief because they were tring to say I would have to take a test in German, which is very expensive, if I couldn't prove I was from the state. During part of the confusion Cara said to me, "you would come from a confusing state" and I said, "I know, I know." All this to prove that D.C. really has made it quite confusing and hard for us TRUE Washingtonians.