“travel thoughts”

Warum leibe ich München Deutschland February 12, 2008

Filed under: Munich — abigoliah @ 3:53 pm

    Stammtisch is a weekly event at the Goethe-Institut where all it’s participants go out and drink beer with one another. The first get-together was on Thursday and I had a great time. It was one of the first times I got to really talk to some of my classmates and meet people from other classes. The atmosphere was friendly and the drinks were flowing, what more could you ask for on weeknight in Deutschland.
At 12:30 my friends decided to call it night and we headed back to our residence laughing, talking, and making too much noise in general. I woke up the next day for my 8am class and realized I had no wallet.
It wasn’t a big deal, it only had my credit card, New York State ID, all school ID’s, and passport in it. Not a big deal, just a FUCKING CATASTROPHE!!! I was supposed to go to Salzburg that weekend or at the very least out drinking. I now had no identification and 10 Euros to my name. I don’t know why the predicament surprised me, I lose everything. I have lost my wallet twice before, my cell phone once, my iPod, and last year around this time I lost both my reading glasses and broke computer by spilling tea on it, and my phone by dropping it in the toilet all in one week. Things I own that hold monetary value have a good chance of being destroyed or lost and the chances increases depending on the importance of the object in question.
With the exception of being in a foreign country this was just par for the course. What was surprising though were people’s reactions. When we went around class that Friday to talk about out weekend plans and I announced I’d be staying in do to my predicament. Othman, from Jordan, asked me if I wanted to barrow some money. Without even questioning when or how I could pay him back he gave me 50 Euros without even blinking. I call that impressive especially when the extent of our conversations have been, “Can I barrow a pen?”, “What did you get for number nine?”, and “Your not saying that right Hhhhaabby.”
Ruth from Brazil took upon herself to go look at the bar we were at the night before to look for it, and when nothing was their she left her name and number incase they found it. I called the bar myself and that’s how I found out Ruth had been their. The barkeep suggested I call transit lost and found because they were really good about finding and returning things. The Fund Buro is only open on Tuesdays so while I waited to see if they had my wallet, my friends took care of me. Jessica loaned me another 50 Euro because like an idiot I spent everything Othman gave me Friday night at a club called “Americanos”. And everyone else kept offering to help, not just so I could eat , but so I could gout with them and have a goodtime.
Today I went to the Fund Buro and there, with my Passport and all my cards, was my orange wallet. If I left it on the subway in New York, I would have never seen it again. Here I just had to pay a 5 Euros fee, which is better than the 100 I would have paid for a new passport.
There are good people in Munich. I think I’m going to like it here.


Sprechst du Deutsch? February 10, 2008

Filed under: Munich — abigoliah @ 4:38 pm

In my language class we speak German. We speak nothing but, and if we try to speak English we are scolded. Because of this there are blocks of class where I don’t know what the eF is going on. If I allow my mind to wonder for a minute I miss a crucial part of the discussion. This is the only time the teacher calls on me to answer a question and that’s when I find out I have been on the wrong exercise the whole time.
She may ask me which Café is closer to Karlsplatz, and I will answer with a confident, “Yes! I live in a single room on the fifth floor of my dorm.”
English is a Germanic language, so many words sound similar; class is Klasse, alone is alien, bread is Brot, and so on and so forth. But for some reason I still can’t say them right. My American accent causes me to stand out and not in a good way. To listen to me speak German is like listening to a hillbilly recite Shakespeare, the words are there but all beauty and felicity of expression is completely disregarded. My classmates try to help me but when you have Italian, Swede, and an 18-year-old boy from Jordan trying to get you to say “bisschen” correctly, it can be overwhelming. Bisschen, it means little, why can’t the pronunciation be of little importance?
My Italian classmate Marco has makes sure I know how bad my accent is. He tells me I need to stop running my words together and to think of the language like a march. Marco then goes on to tell me that English and German are similar and Italian is not so I really have no excuse at all. His tone is playful but I believe the subtext is “YOU AND THE REST OF AMERICA ARE ONLY HERE TO SCREW UP OTHER PEOPLES LANGUAGES AND COUNTRIES, AND I HATE YOUR PRESIDENT!” I think Marco hates Americans.
Perhaps he’s correct but it’s hard to take pronunciation advice from a man who calls you Hhhhhaaabby. That’s what a fair amount of my European classmates call me, Hhhhhaaabby. They can’t say a two-syllable name but they can speak German circles around me. Most also speak English too, and I’m jealous of them.
My jealously manifests and I wind up thinking things that I only thought overly patriotic ignorant Americans thought. Anna from Russia might be talking about where she’s been in Germany, and I find myself glaring at her thinking, “ Oh yeh, well you maybe able to say ‘Ich habe noch Berlin gereist, und es war sehr Spaβ’ without the teacher freaking out on you but I have life, liberty, and the right to bear arms Blondie!”
These thoughts of jealousy embarrass me. Now that I am out of my home country, I have become what I’d always scoffed at; an over patriotic dumb American who is only here to screw up another county’s language. Full of shame and humiliation the teacher calls upon me to give my thoughts about Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. I tell her what I had for breakfast.


zweite Tag in Deutschland February 4, 2008

Filed under: Munich — abigoliah @ 6:21 pm

Today was intro day at Goethe, the language school I’m attending. I a placement test today…it consisted of an interview and then a written easy on why we choose to study German, when did we arrive and how. If it my essay was in English it would have looked like this:
I had to Germany come yesterday. I had from New York flown. I want to learn German. I will be in March to Tuebingen University be going and that is why i want to learn German. Now, my German is not so good, but I will work hard. I am nervous.

And I sounded equally retarded in my interview. After butchering the language, I sat down with someone to go over the details of my classes and housing. In German the man asked if I spoke German and I replied yes but my English is better. He told me the curriculum is in German. The man proceeded to give me the information I needed in his first language and what may someday be my second. When a look of sheer bewilderment would cross my face he’d switch to English but mostly kept to German. Example of the conversation:

MAN. alkwejruahwerfbasdfj’apoietrawehaf a;skldhf;aweori ;alkjf apweori awerasd;h.

ME. cool.

MAN. al;kjdfoiwurjh ;lakjsdfawoiuer jgas ;;. a;ieur ;asfadf p’aowueruhsd;fka’sdhfiadmf apweoir dhfla d’soitiuwehtlsa.sdfn akjflahdsf;lkupwethndg;a h f;aufa

ME mmmk

MAN a;lsiudaoweiur dbfas;jfkop’siroewuhrfas’dlfk apdfiudhfaskf;kajsdfajsdf’pakdfaisdjfjabdsf;k ;akhjsdf asdf ahf adsfk’asdjf ajdf awoehrb asdfaliuhdflaksdjnfoawiehfalsdfna[oisdfiasdbfoalkkjhdsafiperoihagfoasidufiu ;oakjfdjaopeiurg;adjkfoaiweufrigafgo;audjfs faokdhjf a

ME uh?

MAN (with exagerated hand movments) a;lksdjfoiweuroiawjfa sdf a’sdfaoweihr awpfa’oiusdibawerjasdjflawegroaijwfadfjaosidfj.l;aksjdf ;sdjf ahf adksf asidfhadsfm’apwodfasdbf;alsdjf;ajbdf a;iuerar ‘ousdufhsf oiwuekjsbf;a ;aoisduf asklfm uasdf as;f ;aoisdfh v’poudsf ;ashf asdfj

ME. ummmmmm

MAN Your classes start tomorrow at 8:30am. their will be a big board posted telling you where to go.

ME. oh. cool. Bitte

After that I went and ate lunch. I thought I ordered a baked potato and sauerkraut from the street-vender; turns out I bought a baked potato with sour cream. I found a book store and purchased two small books in German . I hope to be able to read them…they’re classic German fairytales…I think.