Gray day II

Today was so much like yesterday that I felt a bit like an extra in Groundhog Day. I read “Gone Girl” until 3am or so and then slept in late until past noon. The roommate, meanwhile, has been running to the bathroom at least once an hour for the past two days. Last night, she started throwing up. She’s not eating, only staying hydrated. I tried my best. Ran to the pharmacy, got her soup, kept the noise down, stayed out of her way. Stayed in bed myself. Went to the park again. Baked apples for supper which you should all try because baked apples are delicious.

NaBloPoMo is almost over and, surprisingly, I did blog every single day but I feel like I cheated. I didn’t always post on time, for one thing. And then half the posts are just like this one: short sentences, random moments, daily non-sense. By contrast, many of you out there have been doing a fantastic job blogging your hearts out this month. Congrats on that to you!

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”

English isn’t my first language. It’s not even my second language. I was born and grew up in Germany – so German is my native language, obviously – and when it was time in school to choose a second language, I chose French (out of French, English and Latin). I’ve had 8 years of French; that is all of high school in Germany. I’ve learned all the grammar that there is which, in French, is QUITE A BIT. I’ve written pages and pages in French. I read novels set in WW2 and I went to absurdist plays (Le Rhinocéros, anyone?) and, most enjoyably, I made crêpes at my French teacher’s very French apartment with the entire class. And yet, almost nothing remains today because I never use French in my everyday life. I can still read most of it because after a few sentences it starts to come back to me. You start to recognize words, sometimes because they’re similar in German or English or any other language you might speak. I could still probably function in Paris; buy a métro ticket or ask for directions. But I’m a far, far cry from being fluent in French. It makes me sad but then, I just don’t really need it.

It’s the opposite with English. I took it as my second foreign language two years after starting French, and was better at it within a year or so. Because English is everywhere. Especially if you have an interest in the Anglo-American world already and, say, watch Friends in the original English, rather than tragically dubbed versions on German television. That is how I learned English, by the way. For real. We had a comically incompetent English teacher for the longest time, and I ended up being the only one who actually knew some English by the end of it because I watched Friends, at home, in English. Then came other shows and movies, and the internet, and I went to the U.S. for a year, and along the way English became my best subject. To this day, everything (every. single. thing) I do online is in English, most of my friends and I communicate in English (because we don’t have the same native language), and I watch all TV shows and movies in their original language (usually English).

I love English because of it’s vast – and in almost all instances: superior – vocabulary. German comes close; it has some fantastic words that cannot be translated into other languages. However, most of the time, I find it easier to accurately express something in English.

I also speak some basic Dutch and some Swedish because I lived in both countries for a while. My Dutch is a little better, since it’s closer to German. I really want to improve my Swedish because I hope to move to Sweden some day. Generally speaking, I just want to learn All The Languages! I am especially intrigued by Arabic and Hindi ever since friends taught me a few words and phrases, although I think any language is extremely interesting because it gives you perfect insight into its culture of origin.

What language(s) do you speak? Which ones would you like to learn?

(Quote in the title by Ludwig Wittgenstein.)

November is for blogging

Hi there. I haven’t been here in a while because I’m out of stories to tell and out of photos to share, and there are too many lovely distractions on the internet to want to try harder. But I’ve been blogging on and off since 2007 and it’d be a shame to just stop and disappear from this community of bloggers I’ve come to love and appreciate so much. I’m unemployed right now (so I do have time to blog!) and live on a minimal budget, so I hang out at home a lot – and that doesn’t make for great blogging.

Luckily, there’s NaBloPoMo. The rules of National BloPosting Month are simply to publish a blog post every day in November, and the people of NaBloPoMo have thoughtfully come up with some writing prompts for those among us who might need it. So on some days (well, most, probably) I’ll get my inspiration from there; on others I’ll post whatever I can think of. And hopefully, by the end of the month I’ll have rekindled my blogging flame, so to speak?

I’d love for you to follow along and tell others to come check out my little corner of the web as well! I updated the About page today so if you’re new here, that might be a good place to start for a little taste of who I am…