letting the days go by.

05 January 2008

we all bought nutella.

Elisabet: "What should we do with these noodles?"

Rob: "Throw them in the air and shout NOODLES!"


At the Goethe Institut here in Schwaebish Hall, we get free breakfasts and lunches Monday through Friday, but we're on our own for the weekends, so tonight, after our day trip to Bavaria (nicht Munich) to see the Neuschwanstein, we hiked down to the Supermarkt and made a lovely little dinner - spaghetti, strawberries, Nutella, beer and wine. It was delicious and adorable - so I am making friends, believe it or not. We have a little gang, and tomorrow we're headed to the park to go hunt down a castle. It's a lot like writing camp at this point - these kids remind me of the Mercks - and a little like my Italy trip in 2005 - because there's a fair number of Americans who would rather stay in the dorm watching South Park than go down to the river. Mini-golf is closed until Spring, but we might ford the river and go anyway.

GERMANY LOVES CASTLES. What Germany doesn't love: normal-tasting water, even without bubbles. But the coffee's good, the beer is cheap and ever-flowing, so I can't really complain. And Nutella. Always Nutella. Today, we loaded onto a bus to find the Neuschwanstein, which is this gorgeous, fairytale castle on top of a mountain in the middle of the Alps (the ALPS!!!). Unfortunately, it really is on the top of this mountain, and I damn near died on the way up. The interior is all decadence and gold-leaf, completely surpassed by the views outside (the ALPS!!!). So we climbed an Alp, took 8000 photographs (including jumping photos!!!), and had some fried dough "Snowballs" on the way down - not my idea, honestly.

Coming back was a little odd, because it did feel a bit like coming home. The other Central Abroad kids are quickly feeling like a replacement friend circle, and it's odd to think they're not the kids I go to school with or go bowling with in Tulsa. And tomorrow will be strange, because we don't have to wake up for anything - a day to wander, write, and yeah, do some homework. But Schwaebisch Hall looks like a Christmas card, the cold is not as severe as at Hamilton, and I'm already having trouble phrasing things in English.

Alles sind gut.

03 January 2008

adventures in denglish.

Denglish: noun. a combination of Deutsch and English. Deutsch being German, and not Dutch (which I thought it was for a very long time). Denglish is commonly spoken by American undergrads wandering around Schwaebisch Hall for lack of anything better to do before dinner, and by most of my classmates at the Goethe Institut.

So here I am? Somehow, in the past two days, I ambled from Tulsa, Oklahoma, my beloved 918 with its 60 degree sunshine and my dog and my crew and my folks and my room, to here - here being Wohnzeim 2, Zimmer 12, an dem Wilhelm-Meister Stasse, in Schwaebisch Hall, Germany. You'll have to Google map it, because I honestly couldn't tell you where the hell I am, other than it's a little bitty city but close enough to Munich that I'm headed there on Saturday to visit (and photograph incessantly) the Neuschwanstein, that fairytale castle poor Ludwig II built before dying in the sea.

I've been here for all of a day, and already I'm thinking in Denglish (schon denke ich auf Denglish). So I'm keeping this little blogamobile as a way to keep my English in check, and to publicly record all those pieces of experience that no one will want to hear about when I get back in July - those random momentary memories that make you all dreamy-eyed at dinner while the chatter goes on around you. Six whole months is a long time to be speaking the German and only the German. I only ask that you comment if you're reading, just so I know you're out there and I'm not talking to myself (I do plenty of that regardless).

And today - it was only today, which seems absurd now, at the end of the day - today was great. Classes run from 8:15 to 12:45 every morning, with half an hour's Pause around 10 and a shorter break before noon - it's a lot of in-class chitchat, which never worked in my previous German classes because we'd inevitably whisper in English, hoping the teacher couldn't hear us, about last weekend's party or whether Herr Mosburg had marker on his face again. Today, though, we had to speak German, because it was all we could speak - I was at a table with Reira, the 17-year-old kid from Tokyo with crooked teeth, and Ana, 18, Brazilian. At another table, Darko the Bosnian and Tareda, 61 years old, from Osaka, and then Pawel from Russia and Jin from Korea. Even during the Pause, as we scampered down to the cafeteria for a much needed cup of coffee, we spoke in German, asking the ladies behind the counter how to say "swizzle stick" auf Deutsch.

After an orientation walk around Schwaebisch Hall with a whole mess of people (THERE IS A MINIGOLF COURSE BY THE RIVER AND OF COURSE I WILL FIND AND MASTER IT), we wandered the streets, mesmerized by the 3-story drugstore, the esca-ramps at the Supermarket, the appliance shop where I bought my outlet adapter, the simple, crazy fact that we were in Germany. And that is still crazy, after a single day. Dinner at a fancy restaurant with the other kids from the Central Abroad program (.5 liter of the best beer ever and the sweetest coffee in the world - I could get very used to this), a bout of homework in the dorm kitchen, and now here, facing my corkboard covered in all my Polaroids from the past year.

More tomorrow, ja? Bis spater.