In Your Ear: Selected Writings From Oakland Word

Page 94


in your ear


Excerpt from schutzwall Andrea Gutierrez

If Donald Rumsfeld could have kept his mouth shut for one more goddamn day, I wouldn’t have been standing in front of a stern, mustachioed immigration officer trying to explain why I didn’t have a student visa. “But I don’t need a visa.” “You’re here to study?” “Yes.” “Zen I need to see a veezuh.” “I just told you. Das hab’ ich nicht. I don’t have one. You don’t give them. I’m supposed to go to the Auslandsamt when I get to Heidelberg.” Sixteen hours of travel from LAX and I was in no mood for these shenanigans. Danijela was waiting for me, and I needed to sleep. “I’ll just give you a tourist visa.” He stared at me, unamused, as he unceremoniously stamped my passport and sent me on my way. “Why would he do that? Germany doesn’t even have student visas,” I asked Danijela­­—“Dani” we called her— as we climbed into her car, my two overladen suitcases in the back of her cramped hatchback. We swirled down through the parking structure and lunged towards the highway for the hour-long drive to my home for the next six months. It was then that I looked around and noticed where I was, the realization that I was finally in Germany sinking in. I had been working so long towards this mo-