Wanted: Eurojob for schlagfertige Dame

Thought of the day: it’s an oddly refreshing feeling when the contents of your life fit into a three-piece luggage set.

Only three days of Fulbright ETA work left, most of which will be spent celebrating the end of the school year. If there’s one thing to learn about Germans it’s that they (like my fellow Badgers) have a strict “work hard/play really, really hard” mentality. Once tasks are checked off the to-do list, it’s time to party!

After Kyra, Rick and I held a good-bye party this past Saturday I was left feeling a little peculiar as I’m the one “staying behind”. Having to repeat the fact that no, I’m not flying back to the states just yet, and yes, I do want to live in Europe for at least another year (or two…or three) made me start honing my plans for the next few months. Here’s the run-down of my itinerary as I have it planned so far:

June 19-July 8: trip through Spain and some of western France. Tentative destinations: Madrid, Sevilla, Algeciras, Gibraltar, Tangier, Granada, Valencia, Barcelona, Carcassonne, Toulouse, Bordeaux, La Rochelle.

July 8-August 30: au pair work in Frankfurt

August 30-October 28: trip to Indochina, i.e. Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam (and Malaysia as well, theoretically).

October 29-? Mystery.

During the summer I’ll have time to find a job that ideally will start in November of this year. I can easily see myself working as a representative for an international company in ______ (insert any large European city in English/German/French-speaking Europe).

Achtung, Achtung. Here comes the part where I ask for your help…

My experience includes public relations, communications, sales, language education, event planning, travel writing, translation and more — I’m now looking for anything that will keep me working in direct contact with people and not sitting mindlessly at a computer for 40 hours a week. Ah yes, and voilà,

my CV/resumé in both English and Deutsch.

If you or someone you know has a job/internship/project/idea that you know I could rock the socks off of, please leave a comment or send me an email (kern.ginger[at]gmail.com).

With that, I’ll just leave you with a substantial “thank you in advance!” and a note that the next blog post will probably be one of those sappy, all-good-things-come-to-an-end sob fests. You have been warned…

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“A city of free will and dreamers”

…Berlin, as described by a beautiful Dutch-Indonesian woman with spiky, red hair as she cut my lion’s mane last weekend. The Fulbright Program invites its grantees to a four-day conference once a year and pulls out all the stops when it comes to hospitality. Most of the speeches and panels took place in the Park Inn Hotel on Alexanderplatz in the heart of Berlin (though Berlin has many “hearts”, Alex is one closest to many of the famous sights and museums), and also happened to be where I enjoyed the comforts of a hotel room for the first time in years.  Side note: I still can’t say I prefer hotels and hostels to Couchsurfing, especially when the shower is simply a modern-looking glass box in full view of anyone in the room, while the toilet has “artistically” frosted walls that allow anyone in the shower – and therefore, in the rest of the room – to see a fuzzy form of you doing whatever you happen to be doing in there. Give me a cushy couch and a blanket any day and let me be low-maintenance, thanks.

That’s not to say that the accommodation was uncomfortable or that conference was anything other than spectacular; the four days were jam-packed with a tour of Berlin’s Şehitlik mosque, lectures, discussions, networking and partying. I personally spoke with U.S. Ambassador Philip D. Murphy, author Josef Braml and posed a question (in German) to Ingeborg Junge-Reyer, Berlin’s senator for urban development regarding the untimely death of Berlin’s beloved polar bear, Knut. To avoid going into detail regarding the individual speeches, the overarching themes of the conference were simply “change is the constant” and “network, network, network”. More than anything, the few days in Berlin filled me with an immense amount of pride for being a Fulbrighter.

As such, it’s time for a much-needed plug for the Fulbright program. If you’re reading this blog, you likely have some interest in international happenings or, at the very least, you have an inkling of the fact that the world is a lot smaller than it seems. This awareness alone should make you consider applying for a Fulbright grant. Want my help? Whether it’s for an English Teaching Assistantship in any number of countries, or for a research grant for a project of your design, just email me/leave a comment and I’ll have you send your application to me for a thorough read-over. Questions about the Fulbright Program in general? Just read their FAQ page.

The most enlightening part of the conference was prompted by the electric atmosphere created by having so many bright, talented, idealistic people in a small space. I was surrounded by people who simultaneously outshone me in both number and impact of their countless successes and yet made me fiercely proud to be counted among them. I realized that I need to be more ambitious. To learn more, to use my time more efficiently, to dream bigger, and to implement the steps necessary to reach higher goals. I have the drive, and I have ideas, but I must develop the ability to be thrilled with implementing some of them that make me stand out from a crowd.

Right, enough of the diary entry. On to the weekend! I couchsurfed with an eccentric guy who sells books at a flea market for a living and knows more obscure English words than any non-native speaker I’ve ever met (what other German knows what topsy-turvy is)? Having been in Berlin before, I kept my sightseeing to a minimum, but lucked out with some beautiful weather to accompany what I did wander to.  Some of the other Fulbrighters stuck around for a few extra days, and I’ll just leave you with a sampling of the texts I received from a few of them as the weekend progressed to give you an idea of the craziness that ensued…

Thursday, 01:52 – “I’m in Busche. Come with a girl/lesbian. Bring no one else.”
Friday, 21:50 – “Oh my god Ginger, I think this is a sex party! He’s laying condoms, Crisco, gloves, and drugs all over the place! Ah!”
Saturday, 23:11 – “I need to catch my second wind. Looks like a dance/strip club? I might be able to throw on something snappy and boogie tonight.”

…A city of free will, that’s for sure…