02 June 2009


switzerland, with germany in the background obscured by the early fog. august 2008.

As of June 1, 2009, I can happily say I officially started learning german. I wanted to write about it on on that day, but was in the midst of moving out and was too wiped out. And I’ve come to realize I can’t always mark an important day by writing about it on that same day, because those days are often the busiest and I am always too tired to move, let alone even think.

Why am I learning German? 3 reasons.

1. For myself. My own pleasure and happiness of discovering a new culture, new books, new music, new movies, new perspective,etc. - new everything that makes me so happy that comes with a new language.

2. For my cousins. My swiss cousins, my aunt, my swiss uncle, and the friends of my swiss cousins! I went last summer and spoke english with everybody, and I can’t wait to go back and speak with them in their native tongue. (okay, so they all speak swiss-german. i’m hoping i can make the jump without too much trouble…)

3. For the memory. I am always in pursuit of something, whether it be a job, a collection, a passion, etc. This time, it’s for a memory. The memory of a family of five German brothers and sisters who lived in Taiwan in the 1970s for two years. 5 Germans whom my mom met, lived with, became close friends with, and lost all contact with after those two years. I have a few black and white photos, their names, their old address, and the name of the university where their father worked at.

And yes, I could just do some major googling + paying a private investigator – but the idea of physically going there, exploring the city, talking to people, and just being there is a lot more meaningful. And fun too.

August 2008…

I was crazy for cows. Swiss cows. If happy cows come from california, then cows in pure bliss are in switzerland. I was obsessed with them. So obsessed that every time we passed by one (which was about every 5 minutes), I became super excited and happy. And the coolest part was that my cousins lived right next to a barn with lots of cows! I would go visit and just watch.

But here’s the best part: The owner spoke only German. and I spoke English (well, Chinese and French, but I don’t think he knew those either). But we talked and had a conversation. About what, I’m not sure, but I don’t really care – we still had a conversation. That’s a moment when I realized that there is so much more than language when it comes to talking. And the cows as well – of course they couldn’t talk, but I sure enjoyed listening to them moo-ing and I don’t think they minded me talking to them as well.

I can’t wait to return and use the German I’ll learn to talk with him again! By the end of the summer, my goal is to be able to say:

-Do you remember me?

-I was here last year.

-Thank you for letting me wander around your cows!

-I now know a little bit of German and we can talk!

etc. Right now I only know the alphabet, a few greetings, some numbers, some verbs… but just wait until the end of August. Just wait.

And no worries, I’m going to keep my French up as well!

PS: This is the best california cows commercial.

PPS: My German prof, within the first 15 minutes, made a Mel Brooks reference. That sealed the deal for me. Any person who likes Mel Brooks and enjoys all the layers of humor of his movies is a smart person worth getting to know.

PPPS: I was planning on just learning German myself over the summer… but finding a job for only the summer that doesn’t involve lifeguarding is tough. and I needed something to keep me from going nuts. and this is it!


parlezvouskiwi said...

You are one clever cookie Cathy! French... now German! Phwoar. And those are definitely wonderful reasons for learning it. :-)
viel Glueck!

An Carol said...

What good reason for learning thing ..

reineke said...

Woo hoo! I am also currently wrestling with German. Good luck with your studies!