Wednesday, June 17, 2009

SETTLING DOWN AFTER AN EVENT

I don't know how anyone else does it, but it takes me more than a week to settle down after any event. I am certain this has to do with the long haul flight as well as the stress I get with the German customs while returning into Germany. Whenever I do an event in the US, I am faced with the dilemma with getting my beads back into Germany at the airport without having to pay duty and customs. The German customs are very hot on collecting their duties from their citizens and permanent residents whenever they return from any non-EC countries. Me? I am just a permanent resident, trying to earn a decent buck by selling my beads with honesty. I declare all my sales at the Bead & Button Show to both the State of Wisconsin (where I have to pay them the sales tax by latest end of July or face a penalty) and to the Ministry of Finance in Germany for my income tax. I did apply for the return of my beads which I expected to bring home after the event, but apparently this time which is every time, I did not apply for the required export permit which I should have done online. Hey, people, I'd love to do just that, but ask the authorities and they send you all over the bloody place to their other colleagues/departments to get bits and pieces of information which you have to patchwork together and figure out exactly which documents you need to apply for!! No one at the customs office could tell me from A-Z exactly what documents I need for the purpose of export and re-import of remaining beads!!! Am I stupid or what?? Duh...who's working at these places, really trained civil servants or some layman plucked off the streets to fill the job space? I feel like a not-employed-by-the-state-but-must-know-it-all-by-myself person. I mean, log onto their website and try to dig out the info you need. The website is readable for those who are trained to understand and read German law - sure, if you are a tourist, you can find that 6-sentence paragraph telling you that you are allowed a maximum of 430€ value of items from your holiday outside of the EC. What about for people like me who only want to know what documents are relevant for my little business. I don't want to spend months sifting through legal stuff which even a German-born German can't understand, looking for what each customs officer must know off the top of their heads so that I can come into the country without feeling like a criminal.

So, you might ask why live in Germany then with all the hassle? Why indeed? I am married to a German who happens to hold his job in Germany and since he's the main breadwinner, I am living here. Sure, I consider it a privilege to live in any country except the war-torn and no-rights-for-women countries, to experience their culture and rich history. But come on, loosen up, will ya? I am only trying to make a honest living with my handmade beads!! Leave me alone.

Oh well, I guess I could go on and on but it won't make a difference unless I step into politics which by the way won't work since I only am a permanent resident - ahhhh... that term 'permanent resident' in my case is not quite right. I am 'allowed' to stay and remain in Germany as long as I am married to my husband. So, what happens to me if he kicks the bucket and goes down 6' before I do? Must I leave the country or what??? We have two kids who hold both German citizenship and Singapore permanent residency. Does that mean that my mother role ends when 'death do us part' and I have to leave Germany?

Ahhh...very nice to put my feelings into words, though believe me, I felt worse (pissed is the better word to describe my mood then) last week than now.

I promised photos of the Bead & Button event - in the meantime, I'm again the last in line to even show any photos. Quite a bit have gone up in Facebook and flickr, I'm sure. Cara, my older daughter, accompanied me to Milwaukee and these are the photos she had taken. It might look like an ego-trip I am showing off, I don't deny it!! But hey, how often do I show off myself in any photos? Bear with me, we both thought of a photostory from start to end, though we kinda forgot our 'mission'. Here goes...


Frozen custard, which Milwaukee is apparently famous for. Believe me, this sucker gives you the ultimate punch, it is delicious as well as filling!

IMG_1396

View of downtown Milwaukee

IMG_1396


Man in white suit, selling sunglasses - the coolest fella in town!

IMG_1553


Not sure whether this is the courthouse or public library. Taken by Cara while she 'toured' on her own and I was taking a workshop with Kate Fowle.

IMG_1425


Starbucks offered free Wi-Fi while the Hilton hotel guests had to pay US$10 for 24h of internet access. This Starbucks is inside the Hilton and I was in there daily to use their internet access. What a shame, the Hilton charges you an arm and a leg for their rooms but lack this service.

IMG_1496


Colorful Gumball machine, I love the colors, don't you?
IMG_1507



Inventory, each bag has a photo inventory and bagged accordingly so that I can whip them out to show the German customs that I am bringing out what I declare to them. They got a copy of the same b/w inventory photos.

IMG_1445

That's me, in a grubby outfit, marching to the Meet The Teachers' hall to set up for the evening

IMG_1517


Getting my beads out of their bags and onto the table

IMG_1529


My beads...

IMG_1531


Taj Beads with the Anna Karenina series in the 2nd column on 'skewers'

IMG_1537


Deep Summer focals

IMG_1543

Show has began. I did change out of my grubby work outfit! This year, I traveled light and decided to have my work laid flat on the table - which, well, is too flat. I should have had several levels on the table. Well, next time, I'd do it better!

IMG_1547

Meet The Teachers' reception, held in the Midwest Airlines Center's ballroom.

IMG_1544


My booth in the Main Hall. It looks like I carried the table with its contents from the MTT reception, doesn't it? Naaa, we had to pack up and unpack the beads again for this set-up. This year, everything was much quicker since I had prepared everything in advance. Totally efficient this year, believe me, I am amazed at myself.

IMG_1574


A section of the main hall

IMG_1582


'Flame On', we got to demo our beads which were then auctioned off, with all proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Foundation. Such a thrill, I sat next to Larry Scott again this year. Nice to rub shoulders with a lampwork biggie!!

IMG_1602


Nice to be watched over the shoulder!

IMG_1604


Patti Cahill, Jim Jones, Lani Chung - unfortunately it's not a clear shot, I can't tell who the 4th artist is. I felt that this Flame On was not as well attended as last year. Still, it's been wonderful to be asked to demo in this event!

IMG_1662


Madeline, the guide dog - in my opinion, she's the highlight of the Flame On! Such a sweetheart, the minute you start to pat her, she literally melts onto the floor, roll over for a scratch on her tummy!

IMG_1668


Self-portrait - Cara and I love the color of the taco-chip! Let's not think of the chemcials which went into the coloring...

IMG_1671


Our daily breakfast at a nearby diner's. Believe me, I can forego over-easy eggs and pancakes for the next six months.

IMG_1672


Yes, I did work in Milwaukee!

IMG_1678


Had to show this, B&B used my photo for their signage!! Wow, what an ego-trip!! Unfortunately for my huge ego, the angle of the signage was not quite optimal for phototaking - there is a constant light reflecting off the sign. Sigh...my ego is slightly dented...

IMG_1684

8 comments:

Tiara Ratu said...

I can imagine how stressfull it was with the customs stuff. Thanks for sharing the story.

Christina J. said...

Great photos! I noticed that they used a photo of your beads in the B&B sign. How cool!

Dora Schubert said...

Yes, Christina, I was very thrilled to sign my photo for their signage - I didn't know till I saw the sign. Such a honor and delight!

rosebud101 said...

Hi, Dora, it was good to finally meet you! We stayed at the Hyatt and wifi was not free there either, unless you were in the lobby. That was free. Love your pictures!

Dora Schubert said...

Hey rosebud101! Sorry, I don't know your actual name, pardon me - at least it was free WiFi in the lobby! But I found out that the Marriott which is behind the mall offers great rooms and free Wi-Fi. Sure, it's not connected with any skywalks, but the hotel is much quieter and also within very short walking distance. I think that being on a business trip, such details like working from your room and getting internet access is the least any hotel can offer FOC to make the stay more comfortable instead of running down to the lobby and working from there.

Deb said...

Dora - what a fabulous photo blog of your time at the Bead and Button show!

I am so pleased that you shared - it means those of us that are miles away from the USA (in fact New Zealand is miles away from anywhere when it comes to lampwork) can live vicariously!

I have long admired/drooled/watched your beads, so it is wonderful to be able to take a virtual tour through you :o)

Dora Schubert said...

Hi Deb, glad you enjoyed the photos! I have been pondering whether it would be possible to load a video on this blog - that would be actually quite fun & make it pretty close to the 'real' thing! I'd probably need almost forever to figure it - if at all possible to load a video on this blog.

Deb said...

Hi Dora - now a video would be really cool.
It is possible to upload one to your blog. I've done it - but have to check out the instructions every time I do -lol!
They are here:
http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=67428

Good luck if you decide to do it. I'll be keeping an eye open ;o)