Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Letter to Harry

Earlier today I got a letter from Harry, who's one of my best buds in the US.  I figured I'd share some of the things I wrote back- the bold texts are excerpts from Harry's letter to me.

Hey, man! How's it going?
Hello!  Life is good, everything is going well.  It’s great to hear from you.

How are you? Are you taking over Germany yet?
I tried to take over Germany but I got distracted by beer, beautiful women, delicious food, and great people.  Then I realized that if taking over a country would be so demanding that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it, it’s probably better just to enjoy the time I’ve got here.  So no dramatic country-stealing heists, sorry.

Are you dreaming in German yet?
I actually dreamed in German my first two weeks here, and I still dream in German now.  The only difference is that now I understand what everyone’s saying in my dreams… that’s important!

Big congrats, by the way, on UCLA.
Thanks for the congratulations!  I’m not sure if I’m going there yet, but it’s really nice to know that in the worst-case-scenario I have somewhere to go.  I got into Marquette a few months ago, with practically a full scholarship, but as winter went on I realized that I have absolutely no desire to study somewhere so cold as Milwaukee- if I didn’t get in anywhere else, I would even consider doing another year at LHS.  So yeah, it’s nice to have somewhere to turn too.

The play ended this past Saturday.
I had a nice convo with Ali the other day about the play- it sounds like in the end it came together pretty well.  I heard the crew pulled through, Sean told me that they earned the Stagemanager’s award, and Ali said the acting was impressive.  Good work to all of you!  I missed the Festival- that’s always such a good time, regardless of who wins or loses.  Festival people are just cool people.

School is fine. I feel like you would have finally enjoyed English this year. Mr. I is the man.
I’m glad to hear school is good.  I’ve heard good things about Mr. I.  From what I’ve heard, he sounds like my Deutsch teacher, Herr Schlauss- Herr Schlauss is also wicked cool.  His lesson is almost entirely a lecture- he tries to make it interactive, but with some notable exceptions it’s usually him on the main-stage.  We just finished comparing texts from Kant and Schiller, and a while back we did some work with Kleist- I really like the German philosophers.  German is a good language for philosophy!  Somehow, though, I always find myself comparing them to Voltaire (who’s the man), or Descartes.  French is pretty cool too. You’d probably enjoy Herr Schlauss, too- he gives you a lot to think about.

Finally I’ve been able to get a little back in the swing of French- until last month, I literally could not put three words together in a sentence.  I could still read it perfectly well, and I could still understand it very well, but when I tried to speak it always came out German.  I’m still having trouble- I’m nowhere near as fluid as I was when I left- but now I have hope.  I was really afraid about losing it earlier this year.  I love French!

I actually have no doubt that my grammar has gotten much better when I’m writing.    Madame would be proud!  I’ve learned a lot of little things that are starting to stack up- I would like to keep studying French in college, I think. 

It’s actually funny- my teacher here is appalled at my American accent (in French.  Apparently my accent is much less noticeable when I speak German) (she’s French, by the way.  Her German is also sometimes less than perfect).  I don’t know if I’m making progress in that field, but I can definitely tell where I’m wrong.  The word “mais”, for example- I’ve always said it like “may”, but it’s really more like “meh”.  Or “ai”, as in “j’ai”, that’s also more of a “eh”.  Everything I say is too hard.

Physics sucks.  (not a quote)
We just started Physics on Monday- we have it every day for two hours for the next few weeks.  I think somewhere on my blog I explained the way the Epoch schedule works… but anyway, the class started Physics last year, so I’m a little behind, but I took out a textbook and I’ll probably be caught up by the end of the week.

I miss you a ton, dude.
I’ve been missing the Fantastic Four (and a woman!) recently.  I was actually just talking about you guys to a friend of mine the other day.  I’ve realized that when I talk about High School, it sounds totally ridiculous.  I try to explain to people about the Mez, and how I used to go up there and chill in my hammock during Math and English, but somehow I don’t come clear.  Or our Chemistry class and how ridiculous it was:  poke wars, oxidizers, experiments, Triff’s mad skills, goldfish… or about the terribly depressed and pitifully pitiful Mr. Tarr, or about the adventures of French Class, with Jeopardy and cookies and Communists.  I think, though, that these kinds of memories are ones that you need to share with the people who lived them with you- so yes, I miss you all too.

With your permission, I would like to take over Team Trix for the year
Not only would I do you have my permission and my blessing, but also my thanks for taking over Team Trix- that’s really important to me, that Team Trix lives on. 
I hope you're living it up in Deutschland!
I am! I’m doing really great, as I said.  My German has come along considerably in the last month or two- I can definitely carry on a conversation without trouble.  German is an incredibly complex language (there are 16 possibilities for the word “the”), and my grammar is really terrible, and everyone can tell that I am a foreigner, but I can understand just about everything and everyone can just about understand my crappy German- and that’s what’s really important.  I’m working on my accent and starting to get a hand on the grammar, though, so I’m still making progress. 

Outside of school, I’ve been keeping really busy.  I’m playing in two Jazz Ensembles (down from three at the beginning of the year), taking a standards- dance course and a swing dance course, and play badminton with my host father. 

In April I’ll be flying to Sweden for vacation with my family, and then in May I have a three-week internship at a submarine building company.  I’ve got a lot going on, but it’s better that way.

Liebe Grüße-

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