What does my ID say about me?

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Hello, stranger. Or friend. Whoever is reading this.

I am afraid these days. My adventure began a year ago, and here I am. Not much smarter than before, but I definitely made a lot of experiences. I met interesting people and stupid ones. (Not saying one excludes the other)

One question I heard a lot in the last year was “Do all Germans like/do/have/….[insert random stereotype here]?”

So, I want you to do something. Get out your ID. Look at it and think what it says about you. It is only a piece of plastic with some letters and probably a bad picture on it. Yet it determines a lot of things.

It gives you the rights and privileges of living in the country that issued your ID, it makes it possible for you to travel and possibly makes it possible to buy alcohol. It may make people hateful towards you, it may make you interesting to them.

The nationality itself is printed on it. People will assume that I like beer, blasmusik and the Oktoverfest because I was born in Munich – even though I may hate all of it. They will say I am efficient even though I may be the laziest and most unorganized person on earth. Can this little credit card really tell you that much about me?

In some, if not many, countries people will suffer because there is a “F” instead of a “M” in the column for “sex”. Women are not allowed to vote, drive or leave the house alone in some states. Moreover, it will raise expectations on how you look, dress and behave. A “M” makes it socially unacceptable to wear a skirt or dress in public.

Do we want a little piece of plastic to get so much into our personal space, influence our choices? I don’t think so, and hope this helps you think about the role of that little letter. Germany is the first European country that finally stopped this random assignment of expectations by introducing a “undefined” option.

Don’t let your ID define you. Don’t define others by what you read on their ID. The only way to know a person is to talk to them.

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A little list about london

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So, I’ve “lived” in the UK’s capital for one month now. So here I am giving some advice to the one-month-ago me.

1. London is the only city where you can buy the citizenship for a fiver. Get an Oyster card, and no-one will be able to tell that you are not from there. (As soon as you know how to tap it the right way). Even if you wear a huge camera or can’t speak English that well, people will think you are a photographer or just from Chinatown, little Italy, etc.

2. Know places other than Pret, EAT and Starbucks. Of course they always come handy when you are in need for an open network connection, but they are also boring. And London has a lot of good, cheaper-than-average tearooms.

3. Make it through rush hour in the tube. The only thing that counts there is survival. I don’t know if it’s the absence of light or internet, but people become animals in there.

4. Take the bus whenever you can. With my monthly travelcard I can explore London in that way, and people aren’t quite as brutal there.

5. Find a cheap cinema. Not even cheap, but affordable. I love the cinema, but I hate paying £15. For a STUDENT TICKET.

6. Check event pages. London is big, so there’s a lot of stuff going on. If you don’t want to miss out, try TimeOut magazine or some facebook pages. I’ve been lucky enough to stumble upon the Africa Festival and Hyper Japan so far. Good stuff.

I was celebrating Ramadan. Kind of.

Hello people of the internet,

I haven’t been really active in the online world for the past month. Some people may think I finally converted to be a muslim, but it was just the circumstances.

My life took a weird twist, and I ended up being in England again. I applied to the wonderful Friends of the Earth and can volunteer in London over the summer. It is amazing to live here.

But my accomodation is not the best. Since my brother has a really cool internship with Google, I have been crashing his place for the last month. The reasons are obvious: with horrendous rents of like 400 quid a week (sic!) I just want to save money, and it’s located next to Paddington (pretty handy).

BUT little did I know that I have to sleep on the floor (I have the luxury of a 1mm thick mat) and DON’T have INTERNET or a KITCHEN. On top of that, I didn’t have my laptop charger, so i couldn’t even be a hipster and use the free WiFi in Starbucks or Costa. I realized in this month what big part my laptop and the internet are in my life, and that I couldn’t go without them for just one more day.

So in one week I am moving out. To Zone 3, but at least I will have internet again. Fasting is over, back to the digital world.