letting the days go by.

21 January 2008


There's an incredible, inexplicable amount of pressure and stress that comes along with going abroad for six months. I'm constantly aware of the passage of time, and it's always been a bad habit of mine to write lists and schedules solely so I could ignore them (I did that in class today). Right now I'm justifying the fact that I'm supposed to go to the local art museum in half an hour but I'm not going to, sitting here instead listening to Califone and writing, maybe taking a Kaffeestunde afterwards to spend some time with my written journal. Besides, I'm here for another month, and a solitary wander through a museum ist besser als ein Umfahrung mit einen grossen Gruppen.


If I were better with formulas and logical thought-processes, I'd totally take a Linguistics course, because honestly, languages make no sense. Today we learned the German form of "had had" - as in "If I had had more time, I would have posted earlier." Look at that sentence - FIVE verbs. The mathematics of grammar will never cease to astound me. Nor will my unfailing ability to think like a 5 year old - "What do dragons eat?" asks the teacher, as we're discussing fairytale vocabulary. My first thought: "PINEAPPLES." Or today, with sport words - "What animals do we use when we go riding?" "UNICORNS."

This weekend was also hysterical - on Saturday, Annie and I bought a "Pretty Weekend" train ticket, which lets you ride as many damned trains as you want for an entire day, all over Germany, but, as we had no map and no real plan, we ended up half an hour outside of France. We saw a lot of train stations but not much else, unless you count the charming town of Schwaigern, which is actually just a field.

Then, on Sunday, I volunteered to help a local university student out with her thesis project about redefining the national dish (the deeper point being, if you can't name a nation's dish, you have to question the nation's identity - is the "American" food burgers and a milkshake or apple pie? BBQ? Diner Breakfast!?). In reality, we were wearing aprons and chef hats and surveying people in Rothenburg, a medieval tourist town with more Japanese than Germans, and Heidelberg, home to the best castle ever, where we went wandering when it got dark and hell yes I felt like a hobbit. All in all - hilarious. I went because it was a free trip out of Schwaebs, and Tommy went because I made him - the Germans we were with were very nice, but we clearly had some communication issues. At dinner, we ended up comparing the names of insects in German and English - because why is it a "ladybug" or "dragonfly"? No sense. When I got back, my brain was still in German mode - and I have to admit, of course I feel some sense of pride knowing I'm in a foreign-speaking country, and that I can make my way in the native language. My vocabulary's pretty sporadic, but still, I feel like I'm getting a lot more out of being here than I would in Great Britain - we'll see how I feel after visiting Poland. Which is happening next week?

Mein Gott - alles sind Quatsch. Were did this month go? Can I have it back, please?

Classes started at Hamilton today. Happy semester, bros and brosephines. I'm just going to sigh and stare out the window for a while now - and tonight I'll pour one out for you.


meredyth said...

OH RACHEL your blog is so much more epic than mine.

meredyth said...


roryetc said...

rach--you're missing nothing but snow and cold and my feeling ill-equipped to run whcl at ham tech. i'll write you a letter, but it'll probably just say things along the lines of "i was walking to the keehn fac apt and didn't see you standing outside smoking a cigarette alone and then i wanted to cry salty tears". And how much of that do you want to hear, really?

p.s. you've become one of my internet habits, so you know. a tier above postsecret, a tier below facebook: rachel's abroad blog.