Jacinta Nandi has been living in Berlin so long that she actually does that thing where when you get on the U-Bahn you calculate which subway car to get into to ensure that when you disembark you won’t have to walk very far at all in order to get out of the station. WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT IT. Plus, Jacinta Nandi writes a column called Amok-Mama for the English-language Berlin magazine Exberliner. In 2011 her first audio book Deutsch werden: Why German people love playing frisbee with their nana naked was published by Periplaneta. S2S’s Mike Trupiano chatted with Nandi about all things German, including our own home-brewed racism and what Berliner expression turns her on.
Mike Trupiano: Where are you from?
Jacinta Nandi: Essex. I always say to Germans that I come from London coz they’ve never heard of Essex. Some people think I’m ashamed of being from Essex. I don’t think I am. I quite like it. I am a typical Essex girl – sex-mad, loud-mouthed and opinionated.
MT: I often laugh out loud at your column, Amok Mama. You have a wry way of talking about all things German – Spargel, Berlin lake snobbery, the racism of Thilo Sarrazin and others, usw.
JN: I’m always comparing, like, German racism to British racism. But it’s not that helpful, you know. The Germans just start bristling and going on about colonialism and they’re right, of course.
I don’t think we should compare all the time. We should just accept that we’re living in racist, sexist countries, coz people are racist and sexist and try to improve things a little bit.
MT: And (German politician) Thilo Sarrazin?
JN: I did get really depressed by the Thilo Sarrazin thing. It was a really shocking, depressing feeling. I mean, his book (from 2010 about Germany’s post-war immigration policy: Deutschland schafft sich ab (“Germany Is Doing Away With Itself” or “Germany Is Abolishing Itself) didn’t even say anything except that Turks are shit. There was no solution there. It was really depressing. Like, what was his solution? Sterilization?
MT: Any plans of German citizenship for you on the horizon?
I guess I will probably become German, although the thought of giving up my nationality depresses me, which is strange, huh? I guess I probably will give it up, though. I’ve been here for thirteen years and at some point it just gets silly.
I miss England sometimes, sure – on Sundays. I’d like to go out for a roast sometimes. I miss decent Indian food. I miss fish and chips and battered sausage and that but I don’t miss the banter anymore.
MT: Point taken. Can the Germans/Berliners be briefly summed up?
That’s another thing that annoys me about the integration debate. The Germans are all so different from one another so which Germany are you meant to be integrating into?
I can’t really sum them up at all. I dunno. I like them, though. I like it when they say “Wat fürn Ding?” They say it so fast, like it’s one syllable. I always really want to sleep with people when they say Wat fürn Ding.
This one is in English but be warned of the C-word!