Thursday, December 30, 2010

The New Decade Blog

So it has been a while since I have blogged. I have been out having adventures in the great city of Boise! So it is really not my fault. I am finding it so hard to believe that I have been here for two weeks already. And that I am headed back to Deutschland on Saturday. Wow. This is a little too much emotion for me to handle right now.

It has been very strange being back. It was strange when I first got here. I cried before the plane even landed. To see the City of Trees appear through the hills was more than I could handle. I think the guy next to me thought I was insane. Walking into my house for the first time in four months, nothing had changed. It was exactly as I had left it. My seasons of Star Trek were still neatly lined up next to my t.v. My tennis racket was still leaning up against the wall. My towel was still hanging on the door of my bathroom. I had apparently not emptied out the dryer before I left... And before I knew it, I had fallen back into the same routines I had before I left. I immediately drove to pick up my cat. And to see Vickie. And ordered a pizza from Guidos.

And the funny thing is, really, NOTHING has changed. It was almost as if I had never left. It is a very odd feeling knowing that I have changed, that I have started another life on the other side of the world, but this life is still here and it will always be here. And aside from a few haircuts, a couple of break ups and some engagements, everyone is exactly as I left them. My friends are still here, buildings are still is like I pressed pause on the movie of my life in Boise and just picked right back up where I left off. And apparently I have made a little bit of a mark here, too. It is fun to go into places that I used to frequent and have people who I didn't even think knew me comment that they had not seen me in a while. Oh, and running into people I know EVERYWHERE.

I had been so homesick in Germany and so ready to come back, and at the end of the two weeks here, I am ready to go back to Germany because I really do miss it. I miss my friends there and I miss my life. But I feel now that I am able to reflect on a few things....lets call it personal growth.

First off, I am so glad I came back home for Christmas. I think it has made me appreciate so much more this amazing opportunity I have to be in Germany, at my age. It was getting a little disheartening being here and watching all my friends get married and have kids and start careers and knowing that I am nowhere near any of that. But looking at it now, if I were married and had kids and a real job, I would not be living in Germany right now. I would fall victim to the monotony of real life. I have at least another 40 years before I will ever be this free again. Fuck--I packed up my life and moved to Germany! How many people can say that at the age of 26?

But I was also getting a little burned out over in Germany. And I know that if I had not come home, I would have pissed and moaned about wanting to be back in America. I feel like being back in Boise and seeing all my friends and family has given me the extra kick I need to make it through the next nine months. Because I know that I can always come back to this life; I wont always be able to go back to my life in Germany. And truth be told, I actually MISS being over there. I found myself talking A LOT about Saarbrücken and my friends and all the fun adventures that I have been on. I think my German has turned to schieße (despite Estelle's repeated efforts to get me to speak German over skype. I quit a while ago and started writing in English. Sorry, Estelle). But I am now more motivated than ever to really get this German language acquisition thing rolling. Shit, kids! It is a new year! A new decade! Why the hell not?

Now here comes the honesty train...I am actually a little teary-eyed writing this blog. I have never been an emotional person, but having to say good-bye to people all over again sucks. It sucks big time. I am so fortunate to have the amazing friends that I do. I challenge anyone who thinks they have a more loyal or a more supportive group of friends than me. Being away has really made me appreciate just how fucking awesome each one of my friends is(and honestly, being here has made me appreciate my amazing friends in Germany). And I know someone is going to roll their eyes at this next part, but I am going to fucking miss my cat Lucky. I know I am going to see him when I get back, but I cannot explain to him that I am not giving him away. This cat has not left my side since I have been home, and it breaks my heart to know that he doesn't understand that I am not abandoning him. Where is that fucking cat whisperer when you need him??

So that is that. Tomorrow is New Years Eve, and I am looking forward to starting this new chapter of my life. I will write my obligatory New Years Day blog when I have my lovely 3 hour layover in LAX. But for now, I hope everyone, near and far, has a happy and safe New Years!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

First Concert in Germany...Die Happy!

So I was flipping back through my blog entries, and I could have sworn I had written, like, three or four blogs over the past two weeks. Turns out, I started those blogs, probably started drinking, and then never finished those blogs. What else is new? :) So at some point, probably when I am home...IN week, I will wrap those up for your reading pleasure. Because they are quite good.

Anyway, last night I went to my first official concert in Germany. I had been feeling like shit all day, mainly because I caught whatever the fuck has been going around campus TWO WEEKS AGO. Yeah, I have been sick for almost three weeks. And it is balls. It has morphed from sore throat (Halsschmerzen) to body pain (Gliederschmerzen) to cough to sneeze to sore throat again and now I am at the lovely congestion mixed with sinus pressure and watery eye phase. I am hoping this is the last phase. For the love of God I do not want to be on a plane for 14 hours with sinus pain. I will want to kill someone.

I digress. Last night was the Die Happy concert, which I have been looking forward to for almost three months (basically since I found out they were coming to good ol Saarbrücken). I felt so shitty yesterday I briefly considered not going. My friend who was supposed to go bailed on me, so basically I would be going alone while sick. A winning combination. But I decided that I would totally regret not going, even if it exacerbated my present symptoms. I took a ton of Advil and put on my best game face. I didn't want to rock out, but I wanted to sit back, drink a sprite and enjoy myself as best I could.

Now I have to preface this next part by saying that I have been to a few concerts. I think the number might be right around 60 or 70. I love to go to concerts. I love listening to live music and watching performers do their thing. It is amazing. And I have been to everything from the Cowboy Junkies to The Sounds to Sarah McLachlan to some opera and some punk rock. I cannot say that I have ever had a negative concert going experience (with the exception of the one that took place last New Years Eve, which we don't need to get into). With this in mind, I can unequivocally state that this concert last night was one of the BEST performances I have ever seen by a live band. The amount of energy emanating from that stage was incredible. I started off in the back of the crowd, quietly sipping my Sprite and super pissed off that I was sick and shit was so loud, and by about the third song, I was up in the front, rocking my shit out. I couldn't help it! And this was ohne Alkohol! I embarrassed myself sober! I have never seen performers so into what they were doing. Not only that, this was one of the only concerts I have been to where the band actually spent a considerable amount of time interacting with the audience. It was incredible. I am definitely considering seeing them in concert again!

If you have a chance to listen to some of their music, I highly recommend it. Presently, folks in the States, I think you are only able to purchase their newest album on itunes, but it is very good.

Anyway, here are some pictures from last night (please excuse my shitty little camera. It just hasn't been the same since I dropped it in that beer...twice). Simply awesome:

In other news, I am bound for the great state of Idaho on Friday! I cannot wait to order a freaking pizza in English!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fracking Winter.

There are so many things about winter that I just don't like: I hate being cold. I hate falling on the ice or eating shit in the snow as I sprint to the bus stop. I hate the fact that for whatever reason, every winter, I inexplicably gain 10 to 20 pounds (inexplicable? Ha. Okay. Maybe it is because I go into a feeding frenzy and stop exercising). But probably the thing I hate most is that I go into emo funk mode. I don't want to do anything; I want to sit in my room, snuggle under a blanket and shut out the world and everyone in it, feeling sorry for myself while I consume mass quantities of chocolate and booze. And listen to sad depressing music. It sort of reminds me of that scene from "Bridget Jones Diary" where she drowns her sorrows in a bottle of vodka and sings "All by Myself" in her living room.

While riding the train home from Nürmberg today, I put my ipod on random shuffle, and I swear the cosmos were sending me all the emo vibes they could. Holy shit. Every single song that "randomly" played conjured up memories of depression and disillusionment and fear and sadness and god only knows what else. So of course I had to come home and create an itunes playlist entitled "FML." And I thought I would share some of those songs RIGHT NOW.

Warning: the following songs will probably make you want to drink, cry or write a blog entry. I suggest having a bottle of Merlot close by.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Language schmanguage

First off, I would like someone to explain to me why there are dance clubs open in Saarbrücken on a Thursday night until the wee hours of the morning. Really? It is Thursday! I feel like my old age is finally catching up to me, and not being the young lass I once was, staying out and partying until the sun comes up on a school night is kicking my ass. Ah, remember when we were all once young and had livers like champion Deutsch beer drinkers? Yeah, those days are long gone.

Yesterday was one of those shitty German speaking days, and I felt like I only understood about 20% of what was going on around me. See, I have good days and I have bad days. On the good days, I feel like I am finally understanding German: when people talk to me, I know exactly (okay, sort of) what they are saying, and I can answer with some degree of certainty. On the bad days, though. Ugh. I just want to stay in my room and watch "Glee" in English and drink hot chocolate. People start talking and I follow for about 10 seconds before I stare past them up at the sky. "Oh look, a bird." And then comes the moment of truth when there is a slight rise in the other persons voice at the end of their sentence, indicating that I am supposed to say something. That is about the point where I get that dumbfounded look on my face (you know, the one ADD kids get when they have just been caught with their faces plastered against the windows staring at God only knows what) and ask "Was"? And I love the question "Verstehst du"? Yeah, nein. Not at all. This seemed to happen on a fairly consistent basis yesterday.

But I realized something talking (playing charades) with Estelle: I have been accused of being lazy for not speaking more German here, but it is not because I am lazy. It is because I am embarrassed (well, okay, I am slightly lazy, but come on. Sometimes a good ol English quip really drives the point home). Estelle told me she doesn't speak English much because she thinks she sounds bad. Christ, I KNOW I sound like shit when I speak German, so I opt to take the easy road and speak English. Because I get embarrassed. Because I hate it when I talk and people cannot understand me. It is very frustrating to be THIS old and have the communication skills of a three year old. It is even worse when people get annoyed or impatient or what have you because then YOU feel like sheiße. I only speak German around Estelle, I guess mainly because yeah, she does not speak English, but also because somehow, she understands me, and I don't feel like a giant asshole when I talk. Fuck, I am surprised she understands me at all. Even though sentences feel backwards to me, I am sure me translating a sentence from English to German and using the English construct of that sentence is fucking ridiculous to the Germans. Why cant German be like Spanish???

But it is easy for me to forget that I am not the only person in the world that is having this problem. I am not the first person to feel like an ass when I speak another language. THIS is not my native language! Lord, it feels more times than not that it is not even close to English! If I could be fluent in a language after three months, I would move to a new country four times a year.

Oh, also, I switched my keyboard from English to German so I could type the umlauts with more ease. But fuck if I can find the apostrophe key now. So I don't want any of you to think that I am making grammatical errors. I never make grammatical errors (haha). I just cant find the fucking key, and spellcheck does not always catch it.

Okay, I am off to pack. We are going to Nuremberg today. I am pretty damn stoked about this!