February 17, 2014: Valentine’s Day and Bad Southern Accents

So this past week has been much of the same ol’ same ol’.  I promise come this weekend I will have some more actual traveling experiences (and the weekend after as well!)  I would like to mention something I did last week, but in my rush to finish that post I accidentally left it out.  I went to see a pretty kick ass jazz/big band concert, in which a couple of my friends performed (piano and chorus).  I also watched the classical concert beforehand, and while there were several good pieces, it was a sort of hit or miss kind of thing.  Oh well, it was nice and I got to also see some other friends who went to watch.  That little tidbit aside, allow me to fill you in on the day-to-day Erlangen business of this week before delving into my weekend.

Last week marked the beginning of my intermediate belly dancing class (Last Thursday to be exact).  We are actually learning how to dance with a veil, which is pretty awesome.  For those of you who are interested, here is a link to a legit troupe doing a dance with a veil.  Right now it isn’t terribly hard (with the exception of one move that my brain can’t seem to wrap itself around).  It’s something to do with flipping the veil over your arms and behind your back.  It’s kind of hard to explain in words.  But anyway, we got maybe halfway through the dance and it was pretty fun.  It’s a bit nicer to be dancing for an hour and a half instead of only an hour, so we aren’t nearly as pressed for time.  And who knows, maybe one day I will post a video of one of our dances, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one…

As for the rest of last week, there was some more hooping and juggling and cooking and movie watching.  I have also been wasting a lot of time watching a show called Penn and Teller: Bullshit! which is two magicians making a show about what most people already know, but it’s not bad.  I have learned some things from it, like apparently there are people crazy enough out there who think having a dolphin help them give birth in the ocean with no doctors or nurses or anyone with any medical knowledge is a good idea.  Yeah, it’s pretty crazy.  Part of me wonders if some of the people they get on here are not just trolling, but who knows.  It’s fun.  I’ve also been watching a lot of TED Talks on a whole host of subjects.  I will link a few of my favorite for those of you who have some time to kill.
Cindy Gallop: Make Love, Not Porn
Amanda Palmer: The Art of Asking
Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts

So I guess that brings us up to Valentine’s Day, which I kind of have a weird stance on it.  Maybe like most Americans it depends on whether or not I have someone to spend it with, but I won’t go into too much detail on my ever changing opinions on the holiday aside from if I have someone to spend it with, I would like to do something, even if it isn’t much, with them.  And yes, for those curious, I did do something this last Friday.  Delicious food and wine was involved.  I also may have watched an episode of South Park.  It was a pretty nice Friday evening spent, if I do say so myself.  Oh, and I managed to make some chocolate rum balls with one of my friends for the occasion as well.  They were delicious (and the recipe is actually in the recipe section!)

Most of Saturday was spent lazing around, at least until I went to see the Tennessee Williams’ play Orpheus Descending with a bunch of juggling folks.  After getting used to the initial jarring effect of the very German actors attempting a southern accent I really enjoyed the play.  Of course anything by Tennessee Williams is a very dramatic and entertaining piece.  I just think it might have been a bit better had they not attempted the accents because at times it noticeably detracted from the acting as well as the audience’s ability to understand everything.  Not to say everyone had a hard time with this.  There were two particular actresses who had a decent accent, even though one sometimes slipped into a more English accent.  I must say, everything else about it was pretty good (costumes, light, set, etc.).  They story itself did hit home a couple of times for me.  I guess I kind of understand how Germans feel when people talk about the Holocaust.  It’s just a feeling like, yeah, that’s my heritage.  I’m not proud but it is important to talk about it and discuss its repercussions.  Besides, it is Tennessee Williams.  I can’t say I didn’t expect it, heh.

Sunday was a bit of a wash.  I didn’t really feel super great most of the day so I just stayed in for the most part.  I was going to go to a viewing of a short movie called Bouncing in Paris, which is basically an hour of juggling with balls that bounce instead of up in the air.  I decided to be lazy instead though, story of my life.  I ended up at one point going for a walk just to get outside.  Nothing too spectacular.  Today more than made up for it though.  I pretty much spent the entire afternoon outside juggling and hooping in the Schlosspark.  It was nice and several people stopped to chat.  It did sort of bother me when I noticed that two guys were videoing me at one point, but then again that could also have been the hunger setting in.

Anyway, I will have plenty of adventures to share after this weekend when my program goes to Kaiserslautern!  And I will get to see some of the awesome UA folk again, which is always nice.  Things are starting to pick back up as winter draws to a close, or at least hopefully it is.

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February 12, 2014: Have you Missed me?

Yeah, I haven’t been exactly on top of writing for the past couple of weeks.  To be perfectly honest I have been way too busy being completely lazy.  I did briefly endeavor to write one last weekend, but when I actually sat down and thought about what I did, well nothing really came to mind.  So I decided to skip last weekend’s post in hopes that I would have something to write about this weekend.  And well, I do have a bit to write about, but it’s really not all that much.  I promise that soon I will get back to traveling and other fun things, but until then: Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts (from a Life of a Good-for-Nothing, which is a book by Joseph von Eichendorff)

 

I’ll start off by saying that I have started reading a book in German (in hopes that I will actually do something proactive to make my German better while I am here).  The book in question is Tintenherz (or Inkheart for my non-German speaking readers).  So far it’s been pretty good.  My progress has been rather slow going though, because I am actually taking the time to look up new words and maybe learn them.  I have also managed to somehow fit in a bit of reading for my comps into my busy busy schedule.  Sadly that reading is a bit less fun though.  And speaking of UA, I was finally able to look at potential classes for next semester (i.e. when I get back, not the next semester at uni here).  Some of them look like they could be interesting.  Sadly I think the study abroad has limited my linguistics classes options within the actual Modern Languages and Classics department though.  The professor may sort of cycle through some of the classes he teaches.  Long story short, I’ve already taken one of the classes he is offering next semester (History of the German Language), but he is teaching a Teaching Methodology as well, which I have to take but I am perfectly okay with that.  As for other options I am debating: English Linguistics, History of the English Language, and another Applied Linguistics class (with a different focus than my last at UA).  And no, I don’t know when or what I will be teaching next semester (although it is likely going to be German 101).  The good news is that the earliest class so far is 10, but the bad news is that almost all of them are still taught every stinking day.  First world problems.

 

As far as things I have done these past couple of weeks, well I’ve managed to hang out with several people doing various things.  I know, be a little more vague on the details.  Most things have involved food, and some shopping.  I went to the outdoor flohmarkt here (which is essentially a yard sale where everyone sells things in one area).  I’ve gone to a couple of cafes.  I tried out a new taco place in Erlangen, and while it’s not as good as Tex Mex should be, it wasn’t bad and it was relatively cheap (most Mexican restaurants in German are quite expensive).  I give them props mostly because the salsa was actually a little spicy and NOT SWEET!  I also made some fried chicken and corn bread for one of my friends, which was very good.  It tasted like home.  It’s kind of weird though.  I didn’t really ever make a whole lot of fried chicken and such while I was home, but I find that I just start craving it over here for some reason, and when I do make it and finally get to eat it, it just feels really comforting.

 

On of the main things that I have done was last Sunday when I went to a Japanese party (which this one was actually much more of a cultural event than a crazy party due mainly to the fact that it was held in the afternoon on a Sunday).  It was pretty awesome though (those girls really know how to plan a fun time and make good food!)  The main food was their DIY sushi.  They had already made all of the ingredients and set them out on a long buffet style table and we just got to pick and choose and make our own sushi wraps.  They ingredients ranged from the more traditional salmon and tuna to a more German ham and bacon.  They also had live music (piano and oboe) which were played by two very talented girls.  There was talking and eating and general merriment.  Another sort of spur of the moment activity was when one of the girls split us into two groups and we sang an improvised song with a two part harmony.  I really felt like I was in music class due to the fact that we found some tambourines and shakers laying around.  Someone took a video of it I believe, so I might share it later.  We also made some origami paper cranes and they even gave us our own Japanese names (mine is Arisa).  It was a really nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

 

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Other than that it’s been a lot of juggling, hooping, pool playing, and movie watching.  I must take a little bit of time here to brag.  I am now able to somewhat juggle clubs.  My new record for catching them is 21.  I am (hopefully) well on my way to being able to pass come the juggling convention at the end of the month.  Here’s hoping :)