Waiting for our Internet Surprise

| November 12, 2012

This coming Thursday, 15 Nov, is another one of those “Can’t wait to see what happens” days. It’s the latest Internet Activation date.

Up until the other day, the 15th was the day we were scheduled to have someone come out to the house and do: Something. We didn’t know what, seeing as the first Internet company we contracted, TKS, the company represented on an American military installation, sent a technician out who (because he spoke only German) put me on the phone with someone who asked me to point to an existing phone jack, then did something to the wall, and then left, telling me “Call hotline if question”.

Paul (who had the question “What was happening next to make the Internet work?”) called. That’s when he learned that the next step was to wait 2-3 days for an email telling us we were activated, and then we could pick up our modem from the store. But our next step was actually for me to call back after 7+ days to learn that it would be another 2-3 days until activation. Followed by me receiving a letter one day later, notifying us that they would not be able to provide Internet our address, could we please return to the store to get back the $50 deposit they’d been holding for 6 weeks.

So when this new company, O2, gave me a date of 15 Nov to come out to the house (which was twice as fast as the American-endorsed provider), I was cautiously optimistic. I was also completely uncertain as to what would be happening on the 15th. A modem delivery? New phone jacks? Or just someone showing up at my house to ask me what my address is?

We received a packet (in German) in the mail a few days after signing up for service. It contained passwords and possibly our new phone number. There are probably instructions for what to do with these passwords, but I didn’t understand them. My first 2 days of German for Beginners had not yet delved into the IT world; I think they’re waiting until Chapter 3.

But things started looking up: this past Thursday came and it was just one week to go before the “something” a-comin’.

A letter dated 01 Nov reminded us to be home on the 15th for a visit from the tech.

Oh, don’t you worry. I’ll be here.

Then came the 09 Nov text. In, of course, German. A machine translation clumsily but reliably suggested that our presence was no longer required at the house for the activation.

This was half-troubling. The half-not-troubling part stems from the fact that there was a previous T-Mobile connection to this house. The half-troubling part comes from the fact that we have no way to connect from our computer to an activated line.

So it was time for me to pay a visit to the T-Mobile/O2 store.

But wait–let me back up. There’s more to be revealed behind Door Number 3 this Thursday.

We have no idea what kind of Internet connection we are getting. This could be DSL. This could be cable. This could be dial-up. We genuinely do.not.know.

You see, after TKS informed us that they could not provide us DSL at this address, we researched and contacted a company regarding cable. No dice on our street. So when I walked down to the tiny little T-Mobile shop housed in a charming old fachwerkhaus to ask what kind of service was possible at our address, I was fully resigned to the fact that it could be dial-up.

The gentleman who explained the choices to me was very nice, and his English was quite good. One thing he told me in no uncertain terms: I could not get DSL at my address. He then proceeded to sign me up for a plan with the term DSL throughout the information packet and plan comparison charts. During my conversation with the gentleman, I asked–and pantomimed in every possible way–the question “How does the computer connect to the Internet?” My dial-up modem sounds elicited some looks, yet no comprehension. No additional information was elicited; just that my street does not get DSL. I came home and told Paul that we could not get DSL, but that I’d signed us up for “this plan” (pointing). He, too, noticed the term “DSL” throughout. We figured we would just be surprised.

This past Saturday, I returned to the shop with my text. The woman who was working had limited English. Although I now have five days of Beginner German under my belt, I still haven’t reached the chapter on explaining Internet hookup. We struggled through a dialogue that involved the following: her using the term DSL on multiple occasions (I’m still not getting too excited); a translator app telling us that on the 15th, the company would “have fury”; and her explaining that O2 would mail a router two days before the date of activation, then we would leave it connected all day on the 15th until O2 connected to us.

So…the best I can figure, this Thursday we will have some sort of internet, or someone will have fury.

Category: In Germany A Broad blog, Linguistics, Shits & Giggles

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

Comments (1)

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  1. It works. It’s DSL. I don’t know what is going on around here, but I’m certainly not complaining.