Back to the real world

My first day at the new old job was last Friday. So far it’s been a happy start. I’m glad I’m easing back into things with only half a week’s worth of working hours. I’m glad I’m finally going to have an income that – while way below what someone with a university degree should earn, in my opinion – frees my parents of having to financially support me. That is big, you guys. I will barely make it each month; with student loans and health insurance eating up most of my salary, I won’t be able to put anything into savings or splurge on stuff for fun. But I will be off government welfare and off my parents’ backs. I’m working a grown-up job and supporting myself, and it was about time I made it here.

One of my first projects was to write copy for an ad campaign for one of the company’s partners, Deutsche Bahn (Germany’s railway). The ads will be placed on bus and subway stops in Germany’s major cities so I’ll likely be able to see my work realized right here in Cologne soon. I’m grateful that my supervisors have enough confidence in my work to let me dive right back in literally on my first day back. It’s exciting to work on projects like this behind a desk and then to get to see the results out in the world when you leave the office.

Downtown Cologne has me back. The office is just off of the city’s main square. I’ve missed being in the midst of all the noise and the people and the colors; the tourists, the traffic, the neon signs.

The subway has me back. Morning rush hour has me back. Downtown’s lunch places have me back.

The past six months have been such a colossal waste of time that I try not to think about it. I am exactly where I could’ve been last July, and yet I suppose I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.

Gray day


I read “Fall of Giants” until 4am last night. I finished it. The First World War is not an easy subject matter for those early morning hours but I couldn’t put it down. And I really wanted to get started on “Gone Girl”. I’ve been eyeing it, just sitting there on my nightstand. Now I can finally dig in – after wrapping up this post.

The roommate is home sick with a very unkind stomach bug that I’m really, really hoping I won’t catch. It’s been quiet and gloomy around here, each of us holed up in our bedrooms. Not really eating or talking.

So I went for a long walk in the afternoon, to the city park about 5 minutes from our apartment. It’s one of the city’s major recreational areas. Unfortunately, it’s located between two major Autobahnen (Germany’s speedways). The A3 and A4 intersect right at the north-west corner of the city park. And incoming flights to Cologne-Bonn Airport approach landing right above. I love seeing the planes fly so low right above me but- This so-called recreational area is not exactly quiet and idyllic, or really very recreational at all. The air was crisp (albeit polluted, one can safely assume) and dry and there were none of the usual freaks at the park, though, so I was glad I went. Oh, except for the middle-aged dude with the beer belly who jumped up onto tree branches and attempted to do pull-ups. Like: WHAT are you doing, sir? He was a little weird.

Just got back from the city center. It was so crowded and hot and smelly and ugly that I almost lost my mind when yet another homeless guy on the subway begged for money.

This video reminds me why I do love Cologne.