Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Cold

howdy folks,

It's cold as hell here in Freiburg, probably cold enough to snow but it's merely gray. There were a few snowflakes here and there this morning around 7.20am when I left the house but since then, nothing.

I'm in the middle of a multiple hour break between classes, something that normally used to bother me but which I am reveling in now. I got home around 10am and after a class got cancelled have over 7 hours a home before having to go out again. It's not that bad today, I checked some emails, did a bit of work, a small workout (still trying to get into the ole' workout plan but I did run on Friday), had some lunch and I've been updating my Ipod thingy. It now has over 4000 songs on there, including two full books on cd which is cool. I've probably put 50 cds worth in my computer today and now my laptop has about 15Gig worth of music.

I'm about 2/3 through a book about a trial in Detroit in 1925, when some black men defending their house in an all-white neighborhood, shot and killed a man when a mob was swelling outside their house. The infamous Clarence Darrow, of the infamous Scopes' Monkey trial in Tennessee earlier in the same year (about teaching evolution in school), took the case and now they are getting ready for the actual trial to start. There are some amazing things in this book, namely the KKK's influence as far north as Detroit, where they were running a mayorial candidate even. I didn't really understand how much the Jim Crow laws affected people all over the country more than 60 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. It's amazing how much crazy shit has happened in a country so "young" as the United States.

We are less than a month from going to Turkey for a couple of weeks. We haven't planned that at all yet but there are more important fish to fry, namely my work permit. I received the papers from my mom which amount to Social Security contributions and private pension scheme bank statements and I hope next week to take them to the German Social Security to try and get me out of having to pay back numerous thousands of euro which would effecitively ruin my life here in the best place on earth. If, by the grace of God (and an acquaintance who has been helping me a bit) I actually get the work permit without having to pay thousands of euros, I'm going to do a few things.

First, I'm going to book a trip to Montenegro and the surrounding area (Dubrovnik, Croatia and Sarajevo, Serbia) for the last week in May to celebrate my 33rd birthday. I would have already booked it but I have had to wait to see how this potentially financially devastating problem is going to play out.

Second, I'm going to take my girl out for a nice dinner, for supporting me through this time. I will also invite my acquaintance who shall remain nameless except to tell you he's a judge(!) for a nice schnitzel dinner one night, even if I do have to pay some money. He has helped me sleep at night, just knowing that some other human being is concerned about my problem and is trying to help. He's a good person for that and good people should get free schnitzel, right? :)

Third, I'm going to take an "extra" thousand euro for my savings account, partially for my California pension scheme but also for taxes for this year. I'm going to fill out the forms soon and it appears that after write offs and money that had not been transferred to me before 2006 ran out, I earned approximately 12,000euro and with my insurance write offs, my taxable income for 2006 should run around 10,500, about what it was last year give or take. I don't like paying taxes but I'm "happy" to do it, to show my involvement as a citizen in this country, to show that I can play by the system and all that jazz.

Fourth, I'm going to make sure that the people who helped me and those who definitely did not help me are going to know how my case turned out. I want the people who wrote emails on my behalf to know that their work helped a lot and without them I could not have done it. It's important to tell people thanks. Otherwise they think it was a waste of time. This certainly has not been a waste of time. Well, actually it has been, but I place that blame squarely on the Auslaenderbehoerde, their employees and the Regierungspraesidium. Their obstinance has wasted countless thousands of euro (probably between 1-2000euro?) in taxpayer money to deal with a problem that could have been handled in 10 minutes over 10 months ago. I'm sure that the Auslaenderbehoerde must have bigger fish to fry, don't they? Don't they?

Anyway, much love to ya'll, hope you're enjoying this Tuesday and be sure to be watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Colbert Report and Countdown with Keith Olbermann if you want to "know" what's happening in this country. Cheers!

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