Germany Thus Far: 15 Months

Another month in Germany has gone by…

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While I can obviously complain about the horrible weather and lack of snow in southern Germany in December, there’s also plenty to be happy about (like the fact that I have tons of snow now!).

Around Baden-Württemberg

I celebrated my birthday this month with some friends from the Uni. We made up five nationalities: Bosnia, China, Germany, Georgia (the country, not the US state), and of course the US. Thanks you guys for an entertaining night and the epic multi-lingual toasts / speeches that you gave me!

Christmas markets were also in full swing, and I got my fill of Glühwein. I certainly made sure to visit the Konstanz market as much as possible since I will be living elsewhere next year. I also made it back to the Ravensburg market and the very last day of the Ulm market.

Christmas Cookies

My Christmas was celebrated with my adopted German family. No snow, but lots of food and singing carols (which I will forever hate). All in all, it was a relaxing holiday weekend.

In the Books

December was a busy study month. From midterms, to take-home exams, to a few papers, I didn’t have much downtime. I would have liked to have gone out more, but that’s life as a Master’s student.

New on the horizon: a Master’s thesis. Right before the break, my study program (all five of us) had a meeting with our advisor to discuss the upcoming thesis registration. I need a topic, and a thesis advisor, plus a second grader. There are a lot of topics that I find interesting. Too many in fact. Now the game is to narrow it down from my list of twenty to just one and make a proposal.

Speaking Denglish

Over Christmas, German had my head spinning. I spoke so much German that I had difficulty forming proper sentences in English by the end of the night.

I also noticed several times over the last month that I’ve been forgetting English words that I should know. For instance, I was at lunch a few weeks ago being quizzed on German words, and discussing trickier words which sound alike. We landed on the topic of the wood chip stuff that you put around trees and flowers. I used to work in a garden center, so I should know this word. Only a few days ago did I finally remember that it is “mulch” that I was searching for.

So that was my month. In other news, my mother sent me my little sister’s senior photos. I can’t help but show off how cute she is. She graduates from high school in May!

C's Senior Photo

Cheers!

Germany Thus Far: Five Months In

February has been both long and short at the same time. The days have felt long as I studied seemingly constantly. On the other hand, I’ve been so busy that the weeks have flown by. I’m surprised to find that the bulk of winter is now gone and spring will be here soon. My fifth month was packed, but quite boring to write about for the most part.

Studies

As said, this month was the end of my first semester. I had my last week of lectures, took exams, and wrote a little bit about my thoughts on the first semester. As most of my friends and family who keep up with my experiences here have probably already read about it, I won’t bore you by repeating myself.

German

My German doth improve. As does the number of explanations I give about the English language. Yes, I can complain that German is a strange language. I find myself stymied by all the rules, incessant commas, and confounding cases. Don’t even get me started on  gender.

At the same time, I must acknowledge that it is not so hard that I cannot manage small conversations with native speakers. According to some recent conversations, my German has improved “a lot.” I am skeptical of the “a lot” bit, but I will concede that it has improved.

The more I delve into the German language, I find that I compare it to others. I compare it to my scant knowledge of Spanish and abundant knowledge of English. What I notice is that Spanish seems to have relatively clean and simple rules.

English on the other hand makes no sense. For example, have you ever stopped to wonder why English sprinkles “do” throughout its sentences? I notice more and more irregularities that I cannot explain when I speak with non-native English speakers. I guess it is true that living abroad can teach you more about your home than you otherwise would learn.

Cheers!