Sunday, July 24, 2011

I have yet to come to grips with leaving Leipzig.

Although my brain knows I’ve only paid rent until July, that the semester at University is over and the stay in London is like a stepping-stone to a flight back to New York, my stubborn little heart refuses to acknowledge it. My heart still believes I’ll be headed back to my familiar, cozy, tidy little room in Connewitz after a reckless jaunt in England, that all of my friends will once again be surrounding me and filling my life with joy and that Leipzig, the city I’ve come to love, will be right outside my door (just as it should be;) not to mention Berlin and the rest of Europe. It’s just utterly outside the scope of possibility that my reality could have been altered so much in a single day.

I’m honestly not sure I’ve made the right decision in leaving Leipzig this early in exchange for a week in London. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Kate and I can’t wait to see her and spend time with her in one of my favorite cities in the world, but still a nagging doubt is tugging at me, telling me I should instead have been spending these last days in Leipzig. I could be lazing on the beach with Rosy and Natasha, dancing in the Ilses with Elli or eating lunch together at the Uni, biking to hidden party spots late at night with the whole gang, lying in the park on a Sunday afternoon with Miriam, stopping by Magdeburg to hug my Schwesterlein and Mutti, just making the most out of every last second I possibly could… however, it’s simply too late now. I’m on a plane, after a bit of a hassle at the border solved with a grin and an “I didn’t know any better!” type of look, flying over mainland Europe, on my way to foggy London town, and there’s no turning back now.

Friday, July 15, 2011

me, auf deutsch

i had the pleasure of speaking this morning with someone who either couldn't or flat out refused to speak english with me, for a good few hours. it was pretty awesome. but now looking back on it, some elements are floating to the surface concerning how i comport myself while using the german language.

first off- i'm not very verbal. this is obviously due to a lack of confidence in using the language casually and, probably more than i'd like to admit, due to a lack of vocabulary. so i say very little. i answer questions, often haltingly, often requesting that the question be repeated. sometimes i ask questions but definitely less frequently than i would if i were having a conversation in english.

i have to listen very, very actively. i have to try to hear, comprehend and analyse each word as it's said, then synthesize the words and rearrange them to fit my english-thinking schema. all in a matter of seconds. then, also in a matter of seconds, i have to form a response, using words the way i THINK they're supposed to be used (i'm often wrong) and at the same time i have to attempt the proper pronunciation of these words as well. i have to try to speak at a seemingly normal pace, which is nothing close to the pace of my english conversations.

most importantly, i have to try really hard. i have a hard enough time in english getting my point across or expressing myself. in another language it's basically torture. and it's really hard to be funny. at least, intentionally.

but all this is part of the process i'm sure. despite the fact my formal education in german might well be over, i don't think i'll ever stop learning (trying to learn) german. i find the language itself too fascinating to give up, and i have too many amazing friends of the german persuasion that i'll always want to keep in my life who will motivate me to want to communicate better with them in their own language.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Es fühle mich kein Zufall, dass genauso wenn ich mein Schwesterlein am Hauptbahnhof verlassen, kommt 'ne starkes Gewitter. Genauso wie ich in mein Herz gefühlt.
Heute sagte ich die erste von viele anstrengende „Aufwiedersehens," dass ich sage müssen. Ich hatte an mein Schwesterchen Annika „Tchusschen" sagen.
Die ist der Grund ich in Deutschland bin. Wegen die lerne ich deutsch. Wegen die liebe ich Deutschland.
Hier ist es wie eine kleine Familie, hier ist es wie mein echtes Leben.
Ich fühle ein schweres Gewicht an meinem Brust jetzt. Es fühlt wirklich wie etwas schwer an mein Schlüsselbein sitzen. Es tut mir weh.
Kein Tranen kam. Ich weiß nicht warum, aber es gibt ehrlich keine. Vielleicht ist es wie sie gesagt hatte; „Ich bin nicht außer dem Welt." Naja, stimmt. Aber trotzdem tut es weh.

It doesn't feel like a coincidence that just as I left my little sister at the train station, a strong storm came. Exactly how I felt in my heart.
Today I said the first of many difficult "goodbyes" that I must say. I had to say "bye bye" to my little sister Annika.
She's the reason I'm in Germany. Because of her I'm learning German. Because of her I love Germany.
It's like a little family here... it's like my real life here.
Now I feel a heavy weight on my chest. It really feels like something heavy is sitting on my collarbone. It hurts.
No tears came. I don't know why, but there really were none. Maybe it's like she said; "I'm not gone from the world." Well yeah, true. But it hurts anyway.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


The fact that I’m leaving Leipzig in two weeks definitely hit me hard this morning while riding the tram to the school where I’m student teaching. As much as I’ve been trying to deny that fact, to ignore and avoid the inevitable, it’s happening soon and there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m about to leave the place I’ve happily called home for the past 11 months, for good, with the possibility of never, ever coming back. While the likelihood of never, ever coming back (at least to Germany) is low, the possibility is there. Not to mention what this means for my life- I go home and graduate from college, which means no more casually jaunting about Europe, unattached, unencumbered, living only for my whims, without really giving a second thought to the future beyond what I’ll be doing at the weekend.

For the first time, I felt A REAL CRY coming on; not just the prickly feeling in my tear ducts, or that pesky lump in my throat; no, a real honest and true cry. Being that I’m sat on public transportation, surrounded by pre-teens on their way to school, I choked it back. However, at that moment I knew a virtual flood was coming. I don’t know how I’m going to handle this. As much as I’m looking forward to seeing my family and friends in Buffalo, Leipzig has become my home, and the people here are as important to me as those there. Not to mention having to leave my sister-from-a-German-mister, Annika, in Magdeburg. That’s a whole other sob story.

Not only am I sinking into depression because of my imminent leaving date, and I hate to sound whiny in my last days here, but it’s felt as though I’ve been living in a strange, German speaking city in England for the past two weeks… by which I mean I haven’t seen the sun in a fortnight. We’ve been besieged by near constant drizzle, if not full on rain. The dreary days certainly don’t contribute to a cheerful mood. If the sun was out and the temperatures were high, as I’ve been used to in Germany up until this point, at least I could be happily lounging on the beach, which always helps to erase unpleasantness from my mind. Instead I’m stuck lying about in my bedroom watching internet TV (which isn’t quite so bad since I’ve found a friend to share that with,) or biking places in the rain and exacerbating my wretched summer cold.

The other thing that’s making my last days here slightly less enjoyable is that University marches on. I thought for sure I’d be done by now, maybe with the relaxed expectation that I attend my classes once in a while or something, but no; I have 3 presentations and a 10 page paper due and my attendance is expected at every class up until practically the day I leave. So I can look forward to a stressful two weeks before my impending departure. Why the hell didn’t I push my leaving date back to August? I don’t want to go so soon. While spending a week in England is sure to be glorious, I still would rather have another week in Germany. I’m not even sure I can afford a week in London, especially if I want to spend a couple of days in New York before returning to Buffalo. I have to be really vigilant about spending here in Germany these last two weeks.

There’s so much to think about in a practical sense as well; I have to figure out a way to get my luggage to England (it’s going to be far to heavy to send on Ryan Air) which means mailing it to Kate’s, not to mention the packing itself which will of course be a bear, and then there’re train/Mitfahgelegenheit arrangements to Berlin to make, and UGH, it’s just too damn much!