Learning To Love You More




Assignment #14
Write your life story in less than a day.

Cologne, GERMANY



I was born in december, the day before New Year's Eve, in a small town in Germany. The doctor who examined me was from Iraq and said: "she's small, but cute" in a heavy middle eastern accent when he handed me over to my mother. My parents were 40 and 50 years old at that time; they hadn't really planned a second child and were surprised, but pleased to have me.
I have an older sister who at first hated sharing my Mum and Dad with a new baby sister. Fast forward to three months later, she loved me just as obsessively, and refused to let any of her friends go near me.
When my sister started ballet class, she had to practice at home, so she made me put on a tutu as well and participate as her 'corps de ballet'.
I started kindergarten and musical training very early on; at home my sister would teach me to count and calculate and substract and write the names of all the characters in 'Sesame Street'.
She was the strictest teacher I ever had, and the most impatient one. Anyway, her lessons helped me to graduate kindergarten one year early. I loved it - all of my friends were just a year older than myself and started elementary school at the same time.
Until my sister hit puberty and we grew apart, we spent most of our time together, recording our first attempts to play the violin and the piano on tape, writing songs, poems and stories about characters we invented, doing photo sessions with our toys.
School was never a problem for me until I went to high school - except physical education. I've always been the smallest and the youngest in my class, and none of my parents is into sports. I hated being the last one to get chosen for any softball team, but at least, the other kids treated me nicely.
That changed drastically when we moved to another town. My dad wanted to keep working until I'd take the A-levels, and the usual retirement age for government employees was 65 at that time, so he decided to move closer to our relatives in the north and start working independently, as a lawyer. I protested furiously, but in vain. We sold the the house where I was born, and I had to leave all my friends behind. Of course I hated everything about the new town.
At that time I was 11 and still very childish, the other kids in the new school were 12 or 13 and behaved, well, like teenagers. They started picking on me for wearing childish clothes and not being interested in Whitney Houston, and I felt miserable. Spending time with my sister had done nothing to remedy my shyness - she enjoyed the limelight, and I was happy to hide behind her. For two years, I did nothing but hide in my room and read, or listen to musicals, or take long walks around town, so I wouldn't hear my parents argueing with each other or yelling at my sister.
When I turned 14, everything had turned back to normal at school, but I contracted an inflammation of the retina that very nearly made me lose sight on my left eye. After some very long months (that involved swallowing a handfull of pills which had the weirdest side effects every six hours. Blech) I regained my full sight, leaving only a very tiny blind spot that I don't usually notice, but I felt so crippled and weak that I no longer wanted to live, and ate close to nothing for a couple of months. I subsequently decided that I would still be able to listen to music, even if I DID lose my sight later in life, and thought that music was well worth living for. This conviction also helped me through a relapse that I suffered six years later. The last three years of school were a blast in comparison, really. (With the appearance of a computer with internet access in my bedroom, things seriously started to improve for me) I knew the worst was over when I and Markus K., one of the biggest proles in school, nearly bumped into each other in front of the classroom door, and he greeted me courteously and said "you first." That's not to say that I was really over the giggle phase. I joyfully perpetrated the rumour that Mike H. wore push-up panties for his flat ass.
I moved out and went to a university in Bavaria when I was 18. After much ponderation, I knew that studying languages or music only to be a teacher was not really an option for me, so I spontaneously decided to pursue a Computer Science major and a minor in Applied Foreign Languages. My parents were not really happy to see me move 800 miles away, but glad I didn't plan to study the violin, like my older sister. Not that they knew anything about Computer Science, but it sounded like an economically solid plan. Dad, who firmly believes women should choose a subject that is not too straining, wanted me to attend a university closer to home - but Mum said "You can't learn to swim in a bath tub", hugged me and wished me well. That was less than a week before she sent the first care package to Bavaria.
It think studying Computer Science was the best decision of my life. I've always wanted a course of studies that was challenging, something that would push me to the limit, but make me feel proud of myself. I struggled through two very hard years, was convinced I'd fail the intermediate exam, but gritted my teeth, determined to go down fighting. Thanks to an unknown deity, I passed.
At university, I made my first real friends, people that I really wanted to spend a lot of time with, people I could talk to. The constant pressure that was exerted on us during the two first years forged real,lasting friendships; we were showered with group assignments and consequently spent a lot of time together, working on our assignments, programming, and goofing off. Most people in our faculty are male - that was to be expected - and our corridors are populated with the nerdy, artsy, quiet, unpretentious type of student. They're not at all hung up on their outward appearances or social status or money, they're social, they're bright, but have a very dark sense of humour. What's not to love? (Well, all the snide remarks you get from those professors and fellow students who believe that girls can't write code or understand memory allocation. But their reaction only made me work harder and better - and my girlfriends, too. We'll show 'em!!)
During my first winter at university, at a dorm party, I kissed Joe, one of my neighbours, 4 years my senior. I didn't really have a crush on him. He was charming and could be hysterically funny, but I thought he was TOO quiet and gentle. As Terry Pratchett says, a girl can have too much nice.
Anyway, I was a little drunk and sad and tired and wanted somebody to lean on - this other guy I was dating had turned out to be a total dork the night before. Kissing Joe was another good decision. This good catholic schoolboy didn't wait for further encouragement, but dragged me up into my room, where he undressed me (despite my faint attempts to stop him and/or to turn at least the lights of), and stayed for the night.
You may call him pushy, but this was just the guy I needed. I had had some three-week-type of boyfriends in school, but never any serious heartache when I dumped them. Not a single thought about sex had ever crossed my ambitious mind. (I knew the essentials thanks to a lot of research, but I had thought it was like skydiving or golf or spandex pants - other people seemed to enjoy it, but it was not for me.) Joe cheerfully admitted to having no experience whatsover with girls, but it soon turned out he had none of my inhibitions either, with or without alcohol. Life is weird - physically, I preferred men that are tall and dark-haired and on the chubby side. He has pale blue eyes and looks like a half-starved russian ballet dancer. A few days later I was still grateful I had made the first move, and very much in love with him.
Four and a half years and a lot of very-near-breakups later we're still together. I spent the last year studying abroad, that is, skiing and drinking and skipping lectures in France, and all that partying has made me a more relaxed, balanced person. (A less industrious and hard-working and morally upright girl, too, I'm sorry to say). That's my life story in a not-so-small nutshell.