Monday, March 8, 2010

die Grünen

[ The Green Party ]

Walking to the office was cold - the temperatures outside are apparently unexpectedly cold for February negative celcius degrees. Maybe it felt a little colder though just because of my nerves. A few months ago, before the rapid weeks of the holidays, program seminars in Cologne and then final semester projects and tests at the university flew by, I had sealed some envelopes with my resume and cover letter in German and with some help from my local area advisor found some offices in the area, mainly political parties, to apply as a Praktikant - an intern. I can only hope that since then my German has become better, but I did manage to pass my semester with all B's [ ok, shame on me for not having perfect scores in my few classes that WERE in English, but I normally wouldn't brag... but wow, I just passed college classes in German?!] so hopefully I am ready to be a proactive assistant in the office.

My first internship experience is with the Green Party - die Grünen - and their office is located right in the middle of Göttingen, walking distance from home. I arrived a bit early, wanting to make sure everything was going to go smoothly, and as I arrived to a greeting handshake from my boss, I was led to the office to complete a few things before I started a normal day. This was my little crash course introduction signaling that this was a German office and my days were going to be auf Deutsch. First I had to sign some simple documents - normal German procedure from what I understood, just the "Datenschutzverpflichtung" and the "Bundesdatenschutzgesetz", - turning out to be documents observing the privacy policies of the office and legal connections to it.

Sure everything was a bit intimidating, however, I have my own desk to work at, and starting off it seems that I will be organizing photos and articles on the website, and also writing small paragraphs about events when I can - I better brush up on my grammar [der, die, das... akusativ, dativ... oof, genativ...]. As I have written earlier this year on my first impressions of the political parties during the election season, die Grünen by namesake is the environmentally oriented political party in German. Their logo is a bright yellow sunflower garnered by a green background, and our small office in Göttingen follows suit.

Namely, the lights are all off, the office seems to function with the hazy overcast winter skies illuminating the rooms with natural light. I also noticed on the papers I signed that the paper had the light off-gray tint of undeniably recycled paper. The rooms are admittedly a bit chilly, but upon observing all of these things, my parents always seemed to be on my case for "reading without a light on" or "why is your window open in the winter!" and I am pretty frugal, even with scraps of paper to jots notes on - so maybe when it comes down to it, the Greens are the right place for me to have an internship. So it is now understood that my hands weren't cold from nerves, however I must say that after Herr Rordorf told me that I was to answer the phone when he wasn't at his desk, my stomach would lurch anytime I herd it ring... saying "Chris Crachiola, Göttingen Grünen" wasn't that bad... but it was all the possibilities after that which could make an intern with low confidence in speaking German on the phone weak at the knees.

This was only day one too, and I have several weeks to go, but I can already tell that I have many learning experiences coming my way - except now this isn't an intensive Deutschkurs, or a regular monday lecture at the Univeristy - this is the real deal, the big leagues, phase-three-work-world auf Deutsch experiences. The real second half of my year is just beginning.

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