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.
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!