The (Almost) End of Five Months of Summer

10/03/2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!!

It’s been three weeks since I left for Germany. It’s really hard to believe that it has been that long, I feel like I got here a day or two ago, and yet I’ve settled into a kind of a routine that makes me feel like I’ve been living here forever.

Mega-Samstag was this Saturday and I guess its supposed to be a mix between our Black Friday and Oktoberfest. Most stores are open until around midnight and some of the bigger department stores have little bars outside their stores selling beer and Sekt and champagne. It really just feels like a California street fair except without the street vendors. A lot of the stores had crepe paper and ribbons in the blue and white symbol for Bavaria, like this one:

There was definitely a party atmosphere, but that party didnt really seem too focused on Oktoberfest. But maybe I’m just wrong. One thing was for sure though, trying to walk through H&M was worse than the most crowded day at the state fair. You had to wait in line just to walk.

It’s Sunday once again, except this time I have a better week to look forward to. International student orientation begins tomorrow afternoon and I’m actually rather excited. As nice as having 5 months of Summer has been, I’m kind of ready to get back in the swing of things, and even though classes don’t start for another two weeks, the fact that SOMETHING that has to do with the Uni begins on Monday is kind of nice.

Speaking of the Uni, I have the okay for two classes so far. The first one is called “Ein säkulares Zeitalter? Globablgeschichte der Religion im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert” which translates to “A secular age? Global history of Religion in the 19th and 20th Century.” Sounds fascinating!! The second one, which I only just got the okay for this morning, translates to “The Holy Roman Empire 1495-1806: “Empire State”, Freedom and Symbolism.” Not exactly my favorite time period, but I figure that in order to better understand the history that I love, I need to understand where it came from. Also, learning German history from the German perspective is such an amazing opportunity, I cant even tell you how excited I am.

I have a feeling that my English is going to change while I’m here. For example, it makes much more sense to simply say flat instead of apartment, it just works better. Also, saying post instead of mail (as both a noun and verb) seems to have become part of my vocabulary. Maybe it’s because a lot of the English speakers that I’ve met here speak UK English rather than American, but it just seems to make more sense. I like living in a flat more than I like living in an apartment and I like getting post much more than mail (actually you can call it whatever you like if you send me things, that’s really the important thing, you know).

You know the secret to learning a second language? Dont translate. This goes without saying for speaking, if you translate from English to German before you speak, you’ll never have a conversation. Its much harder, at least for myself, to not translate what I’m reading. When I read something that says “Ich vermisse dich” I have to make a conscious effort not to read it and go “okay, that means ‘I miss you.'” I need to look at it and read it like I read English. I dont think about what a word means in English when I read or write it, I just know and that’s exactly what I am trying to do with my German. It’s harder than you think, but it’s how I can really tell daß mein Deutsch sich verbessert.

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