In the last year, I’ve learnt a lot about Germany through the Bundesliga. I have experienced what people become before matches and I’ve seen trains and platforms secured by policemen to ensure that no fan fight turns ugly. This isn’t between countries, no. It’s between clubs. Just finding a place to stand on a train when there is a Bremen vs. Hamburg match is almost impossible.
My experience for this kind of passion in sport has been somewhat different. Cricket is big in India. I’ve been to a match and I’ve seen what it does the fans there but it’s so vastly different when compared to here- my husband plans his day around the match schedule. I was shocked and fascinated in equal measure.
With ten months of practice (and Heiko’s constant reminder and excitement), the Euro Cup was finally underway. I liked football but never followed it so religiously. Now, I have little choice. On his way back home, Heiko once told me that the digital boards that usually show train numbers and arrival time changed to display the score in the tram station during Germany’s first Euro Cup match last month. Uff!
Through this tournament, I have become a follower, learning names of important players and watching almost every match since the quarter finals. I have found love for the Iceland team, as did many of you who watched I imagine- incredible team spirit, incredible skill and incredible support! (Which also made me feel like France stealing Iceland’s fan cheering was kind of ridiculous!)
I joined Heiko in yelling at the idiot box, staying up way past my bedtime and later attempting to fall asleep amidst car-honking and cheers from post match celebrations. Of course, this was at its peak after the Germany-Italy match and non-existent when Germany later failed to beat France to reach the finals. Heiko and I sat in disbelief and later decided to support France. That didn’t work out so well now, did it? Damn you, Portugal!
But nearing the end of the Euro Cup, I came to realise how much I have adapted to German life-
- I watch football now because I want to.
- During half-time, I love that feeling of calming satisfaction when the news (Tagesthemen) starts on the fifth second. Every. Single. Time.
- I love me some chilled beer on warm, Chennai-like humid days. (I am not a fan of beer usually.)
- I have days when I crave for Currywurst.
- I love my toasted bread with Mett (raw minced pork with onions). I love having bread with the multitude of yummies that can be had with it. The variety is mind boggling.
- I have to make plans super ahead of time. Even if it means doing something spontaneously- the spontaneity has to be planned.
- I have ceased to refer to time in multiples of ten. Earlier, 9:07 used to be 9:10 for example. Now, it is 9:07.
- I complain about the weather all the time- too cold or too sunny, too rainy or too humid. Never perfect even when it really is.
- I get mildly irritated when someone doesn’t walk on the right side of the footpath or the train platform, or anywhere.
I’m sure there are more, but I’ll end with this:
One of the best (and kind of cruel) advantage of not knowing enough German is the choice of making conversation or not. I feel like I am neither an introvert nor an extrovert. When I meet someone new and there is potential for conversation and I don’t feel like talking, I use Deutsch in the worst possible grammatical way of saying that I don’t know any German. But when I do feel like talking and there is complicated German involved, I will say very correctly that I know a little German and request said person to speak slower so I can understand better.