December News: A Short Overview

Sometimes, there are some smaller events which fit into the blog, but don’t warrant a post of their own. Or topics where I don’t want to go into a full analysis right now because that would depress me, but which I might like to come back to later. This blog entry is a collection of such “news snippets” and comments, and I am planning to make use of the feature in the future as well.

1.) Integration Class: When my husband was granted a residency permit for three years in June, it was under the requisite that he attended integration class for learning German. The first vacancy in such a class in our home town was in December: given our financially restrained situation, a different location was no option as the costs for public transportation would have bitten a serious chunk out of our budget. So we had a lot of time to bide just waiting for December to roll around.
On the morning of the big day, he left for class, only to be back home an hour later – the course had been moved to the end of January due to problems with the class rooms available. So that meant waiting for another seven weeks, and on top of that, we had not even gotten the letter informing us about this the week before. Especially my husband was deeply disappointed; he had looked forward to finally getting started after so many months of waiting.

2.) Christmas Party: I attended the Christmas party at the library where I used to work until February 2011. Last year I chickened out of going at the last minute, blaming it on an uni test (which we really had, but it didn’t interfere with the party). This year, however, I was determined to go, and it turned out really nice.

3.) Class Reunion: Just before Christmas, there’s the annual class reunion of my school; basically consisting of having drinks at some pub and catching up with who’s doing what. The last time I attended was in 2009 for the tenth anniversary of leaving school, which proved the kickstart for an episode of major depression that led straight to the panic attacks of June 2010 and consequently to antidepressants and psychotherapy. (So there came something good out of it, eventually.) It made me feel so inferior about myself – labouring around with my university education, a really complicated love life I did not feel like explaining to anyone, and nothing else worth talking about either – while everyone else gave rundowns of their academic credentials and fancy jobs, or not so discreetly flashed chunky engagement rings… It was an experience I have not had any desire to repeat since, especially since hardly any of the people I would like to meet again attend either.
Usually, I’d just ignore the Facebook invites and pretend I hadn’t seen them. This year, however, I felt the desire to actually decline officially. I did not give any reason; I could hardly write the truth (“Most of you are a bunch of phonies and it depresses the shit out of me to see that even the stupidest and those most lacking in positive character traits managed to carve out more of a career than me”). And it’s not so much that I feel ashamed of myself rather than having no desire to share intimate details about my mental health with people I have no contact with otherwise. Maybe by the time the fifteenth anniversary rolls around I’ll give it another try, but for now, I am quite happy to stay at home.

4.) Gastritis: For the last couple of weeks, I have had stomach problems, especially in the late afternoons and evenings. The symptoms match those of gastritis, which I’ve had a couple of times already over the course of the last fifteen years. I didn’t even see a doctor for it, because the advice they give is always the same: stick to rice and apples and drink lots of tea until the symptoms go away. Antacids are not covered by the health insurance in such a case either.
It’s stress-related anyway in my case, and when it did not go away by itself, I switched to a somewhat restrictive vegetarian diet for the last couple of days: apples, bananas, rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, legumes, corn, vegetables. No meat, fish or poultry, no eggs, no coffee, no hot spices, no berries, no citric fruit, very small quantities of dairy products only (which I have to be careful about due to my latent lactose intolerance anyway). It helped a lot, but tonight I’ll try to steer off that list with small portions of the “forbidden foods”, because I start missing them.

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