Sonntag, 29. August 2010

Ágætis byrjun, a new beginning

Dear friends,

Liebe Grüße aus Kiel! Kiel is seaside town in Northern Germany, in a region that is the love child of Germany and Denmark. I'm staying with the Schwarz family, who are kind of like my adopted German family. Being here cancels out many of the overwhelming feelings that come with moving to a new country. It's good to be in a familiar, inviting home.

Dear reader, do you know how I met the Schwarz fam? This story began when I was an angry teenager, about 13 or 14 years old. At this time I was in the (ahem) formative stages of a deeply-seeded hatred for Plano, Texas. I spent a lot of time daydreaming about escape, particularly to Germany and Denmark. Then one day, thanks to an AOL penpal website, I came into contact with a nice German girl named Frederike. We wrote each other emails every day (no kidding) and became good friends in spite of distance in these pre-Skype days. After a year or so her family invited me to spend the summer at their home in Kiel. It was, like, the coolest thing ever! Since then, we've met up several more times in both Germany and Texas... and this week commemorates the first visit since 2006. Is this like a fairy tale or what?

Frederike has expertly taken on the role of being my German mentor... teaching me useful words and phrases such as: asisch, karrieregeil, Schluss mit lustig, Aus die Maus, Ende im Gelaende, verpeilt, Spiesser, and all kind of fabulous adjectives to describe people. Here's a good phrase that she taught me: "5 Minuten vor der Zeit ist die wahre Pünktlichkeit", a rhyme which translates to "Arriving five minutes early is the true punctuality". If this holds to be true in Germany, then I'm in trouble.

In spite of the inevitably of punctuality problems, I'm feeling optimistic about the next year (or longer?) in Germany.

1) Frederike and I in Dresden
2) The Schwarz family (Frederike wasn't there)