Saturday, February 21, 2009

Being a pencil for an evening

So tonight I went to a costume party with my host family. My host mom was a chicken, my host brother was a bishop from a chess game, my host sister was a roll of toilet paper, and I was a pencil. I wore all green, and fashioned a pencil-point hat to wear on my head.

So, once we got to the party, I immediately realized that it was going to be very dull for me. There was no one between the ages of 13 and 30 (no references to any movies starring Jennifer Garner), so at first I just walked around slowly, snacking and sipping slowly... but it was just soo boring. Used Lydia's toilet paper once to blow my nose. Anyway, there way an adorable lil girl there (about 10) who stared at me wide eyed, and asked if she could draw with me. I didn't know if she meant, like, because I'm a pencil, and she wanted to use me to draw, or if she wanted me to draw pictures with her. But then she took my head and drew pictures in the air with it, and that was the beginning of our little friendship.

For the rest of the evening, I think we did everything together. We went around the whole house, and she quizzed me to make sure I knew how to say everything in sight in german. I knew everything except a few words... door knob, wig, and sink, to be specific. But she said "But we learned "water basin" at school!"... aw, poor german kids learning british english.

Anyway, we played a few games together. She told me that if we were speaking english, she wouldn't understand me at all. So I said "Oh really, is that right, that you wouldn't understand anything at at all, if I were to speak english?" (in english, just like that) and she got those wide eyes again and looked like she was afraid of me.. aww

Well, then she wanted to exchange addresses so we could be penpals, which I did. She asked me if I would give her something to "remember me by", and since I didn't have anything with me except the clothes on my back, I gave her my pencil hat, which she was totally thrilled by.

Anyway, my english is getting weird because I think in german at least half the time, and I'm tired... so... ja... gute nacht.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bad day.

Anyway, today. It started out awful. From the moment I woke up, I just felt like "What's the point of getting out of bed?". But I got up anyway, and was riding my bike to school, hating every bitter cold and muscle straining moment of it. Dima's path intersected with mine, (Dima is the exchange student from Russia at my school) so we were trying to converse in german, which is dreadful to hear, I'm sure, because neither of us speak german, and my bike started klinkalinking. I look down, and I'm not on the type of road that should make you klinkalink (aka something bumpy, or with grated lines), so naturally I became concerned. We were so close to the school, though so I kept riding, and then dismounted when we got to the big Hill (the hill which separates students into two types - Bike-walkers, those like me, who don't have the muscle strength to make it up, and most of the other girls too, and Bike-riders, young strong and adventurous lads like Dima and Dominik), and I stopped, and said "By the way I think my bike is broken" (in german), and sho' enough, my back tire is totally flat to the ground.
So, first I had german class, where I did absolutely nothing but read (in english) for an hour and a half. then I had Geo, but they were doing a big test, called a Klausur, and the teacher said I didn't have to do it, so I did nothing but read for an hour and a half. Then I had a free period, so I read, and of course by this time I had finished the book. Then I had Physik, and we were doing a test, and the teacher asked if I wanted to take it, and I said "No thank you" (lol), and he gave me one anyway, as a "souvineer". haha. The kids had to move around so they weren't sitting directly beside anyone, for the test, but there wasn't enough room, and Benedikt was sitting directly beside me, and the teacher said something in german, with my name and with Bene's, and everyone chuckled. And this pissed me off, because I was in a really pissy mood, and I hate not understanding, and I hate it when there are jokes I don't get, and I never know if people are laughing AT me, or what. Bene said it was like, of course he doesn't have to move because it's not like he could get answers off of me anyway. Which is what I figured. It wasn't a big deal, but I just get sick of it.
So then lunch. Normally we have little cards, and the machine will identify us, and tell the person which lunch we have selected (which is good because I never have to talk, except to say thanks). But today it didn't, and I had to choose what I wanted to eat, and I couldn't read the menu, and I wasn't even hungry, and I just wanted to say "I don't care, just give me something and I'll eat it", and Dominik was getting frusterated with me, and saying "Michelle, I can't help you if you don't know what you want." I would have gotten frusterated with me too, if I were him. Somehow I ended up with some sort of pasta, which was lucky.
I was feeling so pointless, why was I even at school, there is no point at all, and being really mopey, so that I was like on the verge of tears all afternoon for no (direct) reason.
And then I went to the office, and asked to call my host mom, because my bike was broke. Dominik went with me for moral support. I asked the secretary "Darf ich zuhause telefonieren, weil mein Fahrrad kaputt ist?" and she's like "Sorry, I didn't understand you" in german, and it's like, am I really so bad, that she can't understand me at all? Is my accent that thick? anyway, so we got it all figured out, and I called, and no one answered. And thank god, because I hate speaking german over the phone, and everyone was watching me, and I felt so awkward.
Then I was supposed to have Spanish, but Dominik had nothing, but he and Tim (a classmate) seemed keen to look at my bike and try to fix it for me. I felt like that would probably be more productive than me sitting in another class doing absolutely nothing, so I went with them.
We walked to tim's house, because he lived the closest. Well I walked my bike, and the boys rode as slowly as they could. It was really cold, and took a long time since I had to walk, and so Tim invited us in for tea. Apparently Tim's mum is an english teacher, so she spoke great english, although I attempted to speak german anyway. We had hot tea, and ate chocolate, and conversed (not me so much - hard to jump into conversations when you can only pick up half of it), and it made me feel much better, because I felt like these boys were looking after me. So then they went and attacked that bike, took off the wheel and then took the tire off the wheel, inflated it, found a hole, told me I need a new "Schlau" or a "Schlag" or something, I can't remember, and then handed me a phone to call my host mum. She answered this time, and I explained my situation, and Dominik gave her directions to Tim's house. She came about 45 minutes later, so we looked at baby pics of Tim and watched some Dragon Ball Z type of show but I couldn't really understand it because it of course was in german. (story of my life)
Anyway, so I'm home now, and my bike is not in one piece. I can take the bus to school, but I might not be able to take one home (I could wait 45 minutes, or walk home in 30, so I always end up walking). Oh well, I haven't got much better to do, I must admit, and walking for half an hour isn't so bad. Except it is rather cold.
Anyway, if it weren't for hot tea and kind german boys, I wouldn't've made it. Not as in I would've died, but I think the pointlessness of not understanding and thus not being able to participate in class that is sinking into me like a poison would have... idk, poisoned me.
But my bike has been taken to "Fahrradland" and we're picking it up tomorrow, and it ought to be better. Anyway, that was my day today.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I finally feel like I'm in Germany.

For all the glamorous appeal of being a foreign exchange student, when it boils down to it, all that means is being separated from everything and everyone you know, and being thrown into a world where you never understand what people are saying, and thusly not being easily able to make friends, and spending most time idle.
However, I mean not to complain. Honestly I can take all that. I do not crumble over mere things like boredom or lack of friends (at hand).
But what I mean to say is, I am finally starting to feel like it isn't so. Last night I went to a party, and I had a lot of fun, and I spoke in german the whole time (with a horribly american accent, and with horrible grammar, but hey...). Not to say that people spoke to me in German. Someone would ask me a question, and I couldn't hear over the blaring music, so I ask them to repeat, and they immediately switch to english, thinking I couldn't understand. It's like "No, it's just you speak fast and I can't hear you... but I do speak german, you know!" When people switch to english so quickily, I never know if I should be offended (because they assume I'm ignorant of the language, when the only problem is I didn't hear) or be grateful (because it english really is easier). I had an entire conversation where I spoke in German and he spoke in English, but that was only because he wanted to practice his English with me, and I refuse to speak in English unless it's something I can't say in German.
I bought "Alice im Wunderland" so that should make for good reading. I also have Twilight and the first Harry Potter in german. I got them because they are not written too complicatedly, and I will always understand what's going on since I've read them in english. Also I'm reading Animorphs in german from the library. And the Lord of the Rings - but in english. Not in german, that'd be way to hard for me. Except Dominik is reading it in english, which i find to be impressive because LOTR is thick reading (well he hasn't started yet because he's so "busy" aka designed pizza web programs and building a 3d replica of his house on google earth and other streber-ish things.)
But really, I can't wait until I can actually READ in german, for real. Before I go home, I'll have to go on a book buying rampage, because it's not like you can find german books in a store at home, and here there are millions. 'course there's always internet purchasing, but then there's also international shipping prices...
I know you guys will be like "Waahh we wanna hear about Austria, waahh!", but honestly there's not a lot to tell. I never really knew the names of all the places I saw, so I can't truly say where I've been. A lot of beautiful old cathedrals, and a frikking huge graveyard that had a bunch of famous people that I generally didn't know, except Beethoven (I mean, except it had Beethoven and I know who beethoven is). Basically I just saw a lot of elegance and extravagance... I was only there for 2 days, remember. The train ride went through the Czech republic, through Prague (is that how it's spelled in english? It's "Prag" in german), anyway so I spent a good 6 or so hours in Czech each way.
That's all for now because I dont feel like writing anymore.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

By request of a blog-deprived mother

I shall make yet another internet appearance. I'm sleepy now. This week I don't have real school, just something called Projekt Woche, and I'm doing some sort of math project... Except it's economics, and it's very dull, and I never understand what's going on. Today I gave up all pretence of pretending to follow along, and just started translating the lyrics of "A whole new world" into German. Tomorrow we're going to the Technische Universität Berlin. That ought to make things slightly more interesting.
And then I have fall break, which is two weeks long. I'm going to Vienna for a few days with my host mom, her sister, and her sister's daughter. Other than that I've got no plans. So if anyone wants to plan a roadtrip to Germany during my fall break... ... ...
In my spare time, I read Harry Potter, and sometimes attempt reading in German. Zum Beispiel, right now I'm reading Rapunzel. I'm already half way through! Given, it's only four pages long (out of an anthology of Märchen) but it's heavy reading for me (lots of words to look up).
I've developed a bad habit of eating lots of chocolate. I just like it, that's all.
I'm really tired and I've got to retire to my sleeping chamber now. Sorry that this was so dull and uneventful.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I know, I haven't written a real blog in a while.

And that's because, like I mentioned in a comment to my previous blog, I've been using Liz for all of my daily ramblings about Deutsch Leben. I can't deny that Germany's had an effect on me. My new favourite drink is Apfelschorle, and I don't even know if they have that in America. I eat lots of bread and potatoes. But, I do not however, submit to the german way of cutlery usage. They always use a knife, even when there's nothing to be cut! And they have their forks in their left hands, and I'm right handed, and unless I want to miss my mouth, I've got to use my right hand! Often I think in Deunglish (I've caught myself thinking things like "Oh, that car is going ein bisschen schneller than us")... My german is still awful, but I can have conversations with people know... although they mostly consist of me saying "Wie bitte?", but it's better than nothing.
School itself is... well it depends on the class. Geo and History and Deutsch are quite as dull as ever... English is dull too but at least I know what's going on in that class. Math is ... well once I can decode the german, it's easy. Chemie is also not hard once everything's been decoded. Physics is above my head to the point of ridiculousness. Spanish is... bluh, idk, I can usually understand what's going on, and what else? Art? Well I haven't actually done anything in art yet.
As for my social life, I have one good friend, Dominik, and then a few other "pupils" that I asscociate with. I went to dinner with Georgena and her Australian boyfriend the other night, and it was fun. I'm singled out and embarressed constantly, and I'm forced to be comfortable with people I do not know very well, and after two months of that, I'm much less awkward around people, I guess. Like with Georgena and her boyfriend, it seemed entirely normal that I should spend the evening talking and laughing with people I hardly know at all. Who else would I asscociate with, the only people I do know very well are half way around the world, of course. Anyway, what I'm trying to say, is that already I'm more independant, and sure of myself. Et cetera, so on and so forth!
I do miss some aspects of NPHS, but that's mostly just the feeling of... well, owning the school. Like I could just leave SRT, go wherever I want, I know the school by heart, know every student and teacher... I miss Liz, the gal that managed to keep me entertained at school for 6 or so years straight. That's no easy feat either. And I miss Matthew, our shinanigans, during our free blocks and during English. I even miss Mrs. Roach, if only to have someone to incessantly make fun of. I miss being able to wear pajamas all day and coo at my cat, and no one thinks twice about it.
But don't think I'm complaining. I'm not homesick. Sure I miss my cat and my BFF, but I'm doing quite fine over here, quite healthy and happy. The Germans keep me well fed and merry and I can't really ask for more than that.

Alrighty then, well I'm off to more german adventures now. Toodles!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Alle meine Liebe

Schließe deine Augen und ich werde dich küssen
Morgen werde ich dich vermissen
Erinnere dass ich werde immer treu sein.
Und denn während ich weg bin,
Werde ich jeden Tag nach Hause schreiben
Und ich werde dir alle meine Liebe schreiben.
Ich werde mir vorstellen, dass ich küsse
Die Lippen die ich vermisse,
Und ich hoffe dass meine Träume wahr werden.
Und denn während ich weg bin,
Werde ich jeden Tag nach Hause schreiben
Und ich werde dir alle meine Liebe schreiben.
Alle meine Liebe, werde ich dir schicken,
Alle meine Liebe, Liebling, ich werde treu sein.

Alle meine Liebe, werde ich dir schicken!

(I did this alone, except with a tad of spelling and word order help from a friend. Also, note that if you attempt to use an online translator, the results will be morbidly wrong. But I assure you, I had a genuine German read this, so it must be somewhat coherent.)

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Well, school is a bit better now. I think I've had all of my classes at least once. I got my schedule changed so I have Physics instead of Biology for Leitsungskurs and English instead of German. I no longer have biology at all, (which is good considering I don't understand it in german, and don't care enough to try, although I would like to take the class if it were in english), and still german, but only half as often. That was the only change, besides general switching around of times. I still have to be up early tues and thurs though : ( no way around it.

So today I had spanish again. I found out that it's actuall 6th year spanish, I think I misunderstood. Anyway, it's confusing because everything's in spanish, except when he's explaining something more difficult or translating something, it's in German, and then if he asks ME a question, I either answer in german or english, neither of which really makes much sense to do. He speaks perfect english though, and is very understanding of my blunderous ways.

And then... finally... I had english class!!! It was great, because for once I was the one being asked for help instead of the other way around. The teacher teaches in english, and we read texts in english... today we analyzed a painting by normal rockwell. I hated the painting, and I thought it was devoid of meaning, but apparently there's much, much meaning behind it. It was of a family at thanksgiving, but they were all leaning creepily into the table and smiling creepily. Ugh. But at least I can speak perfect english without thinking about it.

Then I had art, where nothing eventfull happened, I took a bunch of notes but I don't know what they were about. I think they were about plastic sculptures but I'm not sure. And in history... we drew visual representatives of "Der Staat" which was lame.

And that's mostly it. I'm now the awkward person who sits in the middle or edge of class. I have a few friendly faces I asscociate with. I still hate the bike ride in the mornings, because I have no energy at 6 something am. I don't have any homework, that I know of... it's possible they could've assigned something and I didn't understand the words et cetera. Oh well. I don't so much care.

Well, that is all for today.