Samstag, 1. November 2008

what a long strange trip it's been....

it's hard to believe that exactly two months ago, i was sitting on the cold floor of an airport somewhere in Germany, wondering exactly what I'd gotten myself into.

The feeling is still exactly the same, although now I'm sitting on a bed which is much warmer and softer. also, i am wearing trousers which makes me slightly less agreeable. Germany seems at points like it is some elaborate, realistic dream (normally my dreams are immediately identifiable as giant lies because adam ant seems to almost unerringly make an appearance. Anybody up on their Freud?)

yeah, that's really relevant. Say hi to everyone, adam!

I forget that I'm somewhere else until boom! i get upset when the bus is late or i actually understand something someone is saying. It's starting to happen a lot more now, and the list of things I can say is working on getting impressive. I still have a lot of trouble understanding and speaking, but... two months ago I couldn't say anything. Now, I run almost exclusively in German.

This is like a list, except not.

School: I started school on Monday. I have thirteen classes in theory (a bit more on that later). They are english, french, german, history, geography, politics, biology, chemistry, physics, math, religion, music and art. School is nice. I have no idea what's going on approximately ever, but it's great to be hanging out with people my age. My class seems to be mostly very sweet and willing to help me out when I don't understand. I've sort of been adopted by a group of girls, and I follow them around.

I've already been kicked out of English. My professor thinks I make everyone too nervous, and so I've been 'excused' from the class. I have to go speak with my counselor on Monday, though, since I need the mark for AFS.

French is a lost cause. the teacher switches at random back and forth from French to German and I'm lost. I understand her, but I can't actually say/write anything... seriously, French has been replaced by German.

German is really lovely, actually. My teacher is a complete sweetheart (he reminds me of mr. c, for any kingswood folk out there). We're reading a book that I can actually read, and so I get to read along with the class. My project will be to learn the new vocabulary words and verbs though, since I can't actually write an essay. When he writes things on the boards (like "there are too many letters!") I get to translate them. Also, we read the book aloud, (or we've read one page). It's nice to hear the words spoken.

History is in English. Unfortunately, I just missed the unit on World War II, which I was hoping to be able to have. We listened to the "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech and no one thought it was funny or that he called himself a jelly donut.

Geography is in English too. I don't really have anything to say about it other than eh. It's not so nice, the teacher doesn't speak English very well.

Politics... is all talking. I sort of follow along, but really just knit. I read the first paragraph of the essay we got though!

Biology. Well, I wrote about my homework earlier, but I'm pretty lost. Yesterday we talked about semi-permeable membranes, though.

I'm not going to lie, I'm kicking the Germans at chemistry. We're naming alkanes/alkenes though, so it's not hard. It has to be written out though, or I have no idea. Normally it's not written out. So I have no idea. I like when I just write out streams of letters and have no idea what they actually mean. Most of the time I can't read the writing, and even if I could, it wouldn't mean anything.

Physics is also complete fail. It's all deriving things and I have no idea.

Math is I have no idea. But he just talks and occassionally draws things on the board, but not the steps. If I have problems to do and time to figure out what needs to be done, I can do them.

This is what my notes sound like: du Durchschnittgeschwindigkeit zum Zeitmumkt t=10s
(that's something about the average speed...)

Religion I haven't had yet, but I'm just going to assume that it's going to be fail.

Art is fun (it's coloring, what could be bad about that, really? and I get to make collages later!). I have music too, but the clarinet is just a bit different then mine at home, which makes playing really hard.

Sport is eww. We did gymnastics this week and take a grade on it next week. But the kids in my class are really supportive and everything. So, I don't feel so silly.

I really like the way school works here. There's a lot of free time and you're with the same students, so you make kind of a tiny family. Fortunately, I have a lot of time for knitting and coloring, and the margins in my notebook are perfect for writing snide comments to myself. things to write about, etc.

i.e., "english teacher with sadomasochistic tendencies... it's better if it hurts."

Language School:
twice a week in the night i go to language school. it is filled with scruffy Spaniards and I sit next to a quietly effeminate brit who takes personal offense on the "un-english" nature of German grammar. (he also likes margaret thatcher)

I find more and more that I really like German grammar... the exceptions to the rules are few and far between and it really appeals to my scientific mind. hold out for it-- i might actually how to properly use punctuation!

Feeling Sad:
I'm not really homesick any more. I'm just tired and sometimes sad because I am frustrated. I should write someday when I'm sad, but mostly I just want to cry and sleep instead. I'll summarize, when i'm sad...
(i'm so exhausted my eyes hurt even when their shut. my brain wants to leak out of my ears. i don't really have any friends that i can call up or ask for help. i still can't hold a complete conversation. my feet are cold. i'm wearing pants. i can't really read in german without having a dictionary. there's no decent earl gray. i don't really get along with my host sister because i can't understand her. i get misunderstood really frequently. it's hard to not have anything to do really... i'm not expected to actually do things in school, apparently)

Plans: well, yesterday i met with my betreur. i got to meet a new city and we drank hot chocolate which is so much better here you have no idea. then we talked... in english, mostly, but it was no nice to have an english conversation and be funny and intelligent and talk about politics and all of the little things that are so inane and annoying that you just have to say them.

there were germans sort of trick-o-treating last night (the little ones were so cute...). they tped our house, however in traditional german eco-friendly fashion, they only left a few meters of klopapier. then i rode my bike in the dark (still getting used to that one) to eva's house and we watched the first halloween movie.

fortunately, bad horror films are bordering on universal. we ate awkward food and sat together in a big mess of limbs. i was really entertained by the unter titles, though. for example:

three minute angry german monologue
subtitle: los!

it was scary riding home though... there was a boy standing by the side of the road and i was like omg man with a mask and then it was just a drunk kid. but then I came home and slept.

today i'm riding the train to braunschweig and meeting up with two other exchange students. i'm going to go make them cards, i think. we might go see a film or just hang around. i have pants to exchange (i bought the wrong pair, we'll see if they'll actually take them back) and I'd like to find sneakers.

next friday is disko! and then this month i have an afs camp and i'm going to the school music retreat in mid november. also on the tenth i am going to the theater with my french class. etc.

Other things:
Well, I am wearing trousers. It is cold here and windy. I am knitting argyle mittens with tiny needles. It is seven weeks until the next holiday. I like apple schorle. apparently my (drunk) host brother stole the giant fake ice cream cone in the garage.

that's all for now

1 Kommentar:

Jenn hat gesagt…

"Between you and every goal that you wish to achieve, there is a series of obstacles, and the bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacles. Your decision to be, have and do something out of the ordinary entails facing difficulties and challenges that are out of the ordinary as well. Sometimes your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else."
~ Brian Tracy