Sunday, January 31, 2010



Finally done with the Elks scholarship- that's good.  I still have to write a halbzeitbericht soon, but I can worry about that later.

January went by fast!  Like, really fast!  New Years seems like just yesterday... I do not approve.  Why is everything so fast?

Today it snowed alot.  I read in the newspaper that this January was the coldest January in 13 years, and earlier this week I read that this winter was the coldest winter (so far) in 16 years.  Just my luck, right?  Cold cold cold... but like I said earlier, at least it's getting brighter!  Anke was telling me about how in the summer it will stay bright until 11 at night... that sounds just lovely.

I didn't do too much this weekend; I spent most of it applying for that Elks scholarship.  Friday, though, I went to Parkhaus, one of Luebeck's discos.  I've been there a few times before, but this time it seemed like everyone was there.  I know I've said it before, but Luebeck is cool like that- it's plenty big enough that there's always something to do, but it's small enough that you meet people coincidentally all the time.

In the Waldorfschule we just finished Projective Geometry, which is a kind of strange Waldorf math.  The focus was on predicting the image of an original shape or picture onto a perpendicular plane.  It kind of cool, actually.  I'm not sure how useful it is, but it's certainly a good exercise in mental imaging.  It forces thought.

Last week I also started carpentry, which is richtig geil.  I built a little display stand last week, and this week I want to start a similar one, but without right angles- a little more askew, a little more Waldorf.  We'll see how it works.  I'll post photos soon.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Happy Sunday!

Hey everyone!

It's once again bitingly cold outside.  I believe it was -13 this morning, and now it's -10, or somewhere around there.  In any case, it's very cold.  On the bright side, it's almost five and it's still a little light out!  Technically sunset was at 4:43, but dusk isn't over until 5:23.  Things are looking good!

Last Thursday I started a standards dance course, which is pretty cool.  I didn't actually learn anything new that first day- most of the ground steps I learned at Hitzacker- but I'm looking forward to the continuation of the class.  There's a swing dance class in March that I want to take, too.  Swing dance always looked like fun.

Lotta is cooking Lasagna and it smells really good.  I'm hungry.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Good luck kids!

Today I hit rock bottom.  I got back a french test- it wasn't bad, but the errors were absolute fail-errors.  For one, I had written "ventana" when I meant "fenĂȘtre"- I think that when I wrote it I got "fenĂȘtre" confused with "Fenster" and assumed it was German... I don't know.  And then later I wrote "gato" instead of "chat"- I'm not even sure where that came from.  There was also a "manchmal" on there instead of "quelquefois", and a "name" instead of "nom".  Fail fail fail... I'm so confused.

And then even worse!  Valerie asked me for help with her English homework, and I tried to say the sentence "Hannah must use crutches to walk".  I couldn't say "must" for the life of me, though- ever attempt came out as "musst", the german word, which sounds like "moost".  Eventually Hannah corrected me.  Hannah who's a German.


Anyway, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all you LHS kids best of luck on your midterms.  Don't study too hard!  Any honors history kids in grades 9-11, ask a senior for a history review guide.  James, Vic, Sean, Mikey, and I, or some combination of that group, made some badass ones every year, they should still be very helpful.  

Hopefully everyone will be less confused on their tests than I was!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hitzacker (ehrlich!)

So I guess I failed with my last post- I planned to talk about Hitzacker and comment that nothing had happened since then, but I'm just a big stinky liar.  I'll talk about Hitzacker in this one, though!

For anyone who's forgotten, Hitzacker was the Musikfreizeit that we went to over Christmas vacation.  Musikfreizeit translates literally to "Music free time", but that's kind of vague... It was basically a week-long music camp.  There were about 150 people there, all ages.  Probably 30 or 40 were between 15 and 25. 

side note:  there's a heavy metal band called Mastodon.  All of its songs are about hunting whales.  I           immediately thought of English 11H with Mrs. O.

I've been having a lot of trouble concentrating lately, but it's okay, because then I end up finding awesome whaling bands.

So Hitzacker.  Everybody chooses a schedule they're interested in, and they follow that schedule for the week.  Everyone starts off the day with breakfast together, and then a Plenum (another word that may or may not be used in English... it sounds greek though.  I actually don't even know if it's German.  Heck, now that I'm thinking about it I don't even know for sure what it means- the first time I heard it I just thought of the word "plebian" and assumed that ple- has to do with common people... plenum just means a gathering of people?  It's kind of cool to be able to dissect words and derive a meaning even when you don't know what language the word is in.  That being said, Plenum could just as easily mean something totally different entirely and I just failed.  Maybe it means "after breakfast time", but I think not.  In any case, language is cool!) 

Regardless of what the definition of Plenum is, what it means is basically a big campy meeting.  In addition to wake-up-in-the-morning type singalong songs and people that seem unreasonably happy for 9:00, there's also a rundown of important events and notifications.  The Plenums were actually very well done, too- by the time they're finished, everybody has ohrwurms and is awake, and the too-happy-for-9:00 people seem justified in their jubilation, namely because everybody is happy.

Ohrwurm is a fantastic word in German that we don't have in el Muttersprache.  Ein Punkt fuer Deutsch!  It translates literally to "earworm", and it means "a song that is stuck in one's head".  It's surprising how often you hear the term.

Following Plenum I went to Jazz Combo.  After that was lunch, and then siesta.  Siesta ist ein Punkt Spanisch- es ist viel besser als "Mittagsschlafs".  After siesta was a standard-dance course, that was cool.  I'd like to say that I'm a master salsa dancer now, but that's not quite true.  I do know the basic step, though!  That's got to count for something.

Next was a coffeebreak, and then chorus, and then Bigband (jazz ensemble).  The day ended with dinner and then an evening Plenum.

That's just the day, though.  Nighttime is just as important!  Hitzacker was basically music by day, party by night, and I think that's a very good way to live.  It's good that Hitzacker was only a week long, though, because in the whole week I got about 15 hours of sleep, and that's not a good way to live.  Nevertheless, it was really fun.

In my attempt to explain what the week was about, I'm afraid I've missed the main point- Hitzacker was a really fantastic time because of the people there.  I'd really like to go back next year and rendezvous with everyone- it was really surprising how quickly and how well everybody hit it off with each other.

Anyway, I've got a few pics (compliments to Mia on most of them- I was bad and didn't take any pictures that week).

My combo, playing Who Shot the Sherrif

the Thema was the Carribean, I think it was well-played.

 Yo ho, a pirate's life for me...

Hannes is quite dashing, to say the least.


Sinja and me on a treasure hunt!

And more Jugendchor- Basti is to my left, Arne to my right, and they were my roommates.  Cool kids.


That's all for now, folks!

Hitzacker (endlich)

Hey there everyone.

It's been a while, sorry.  I've been busy, and, to be honest, not all that much too interesting has gone down in the last week or two.

School is back, snow is still here, vacation is over.  It's been a little warmer- usually it hovers around -2 or -3 degrees (27ish F), and it snows every once in a while.  We've got about six inches now.

Street plowing isn't nearly as thorough as in the US, but nobody really seems to care.  That being said, on the way to pick up Leone en route to school last week we got pretty stuck, but a bit after a little push and shove we figured it all out.  It meant I didn't need to go to my first half hour of German.

One of the lovely advantages of not-so-plowed streets is auto-sledding.  It's like waterskiing, except there's no water and it's cold and you're on a sled on your bum and not your feet and there's no boat and no skiis.  It is just a fun, though!  We did that today, good stuff.  The car got stuck again, but it's cool because Alex has a bamf tractor that was essentially born to extract autos from snowbanks.  And to carry wood.

Friday was the last day of my German epoch.  I think I've already explained what that means, but just to be sure I'll clarify- the Waldorfschule has an epoch system (I think that's also a word in English, but to be perfectly honest I'm not sure any more).  What this means is that for 4-6 weeks we have a hauptunterricht, or main lesson, two hours every day.  After that we have assorted core classes. 

Anyway, the German epoch is over.  I'm not going to lie, I went into the epoch pretty disheartened- I hated the normal Deutsch classes, and the thought of two hours every day was agonizing.  Now, though, I'm a little sad to see it go.  Somewhere in the middle of the epoch I think I crossed an invisible border of verstandis, and after that point I really enjoyed the texts and stories that we read and analyzed in class.  There's not really an equivalent at LHS- it's not a german language class, and it's not quite a german literature class.  I guess it's like an analytical-literature and philosophy class.  Whichever.  Ich fand es gut.

We also had a math test on Friday which I kicked butt on- I was really proud because I wrote my last answer as 5 * sqrt(2), and the given answer was sqrt(50).  Not that that really matters, but it's the little things in life that make it what it is, right?  Nice job, Mr. Tarr!

This weekend I went with a few friends to Riverboat, a disko in Luebeck.  I liked it a lot there.  The music wasn't as good as at Parkhaus, the other disko I've been to, but the mood was better.  It was a pretty classy place, for a disco.  It's also cool, because I was planning on meeting just three friends, but I ended up running into ten other kids I knew.  It's nice when things work out.

My hair is too long again.  I need a haircut.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Foto post!

I've got a few more nice photos from Winter Ferien that I'll put here, and then I'll get to Hitzacker musikfreizeit later- I didn't take any photos that week, I need to get some from Mia.

Anyway, these are nice:

Alex, auf den See

Schlitten fahren!

Marzipan is best eaten with apples


On the 25th we had a really fantastic Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner, compliment of my folks.  Sven came, and he, Anke and I spent much of the day cooking.  It all payed off, though- the meal was fantastic.

 The stuffing called for air-dried bread; we didn't want to wait.

 Some good looking birds (and Bio!)

Mia with her new camera

A feast!


So now I have a lot to write about.  I figure it makes sense to start at the beginning and end at the end, so we'll go back to Weihnachten- Christmas.  I know, a whole year ago...

Brief interlude- I've been looking at some of my writing recently and noticed that I tend to write "anyway" just about every other sentence.  I also have a hyphen obsession.  And I use semicolons more often that appropriate. And I end sentences with ",though." pretty often, too.  I'll try to work on these things.

Hokay.  Weihnachten translates to "night of incense" literally, but it just means Christmas.  Christmas in Germany is celebrated on the 24th, and a little differently.  For one, there are no stockings.  I'm pretty sure (but not certain) that that's because the stockings in the US is a perversion of the St. Nicholas day tradition of putting shoes out for Mr. Nick.  We already had that here, though, so we don't need stockings.

On the 24th I played with a brass orchester in Travemuende, a suburb of Luebeck.  It was right on the coast of the Baltic, so that was very pretty.  We just played carols (many of which I had never heard), but it was very nice.  The saxophone player in my big band was also there with her family- none of them were playing, but they come every year- and we had hot chocolate in a little cafe beforehand.  Her daughters were both very nice, and it was a very good time.

It's kind of a funny story how I ended up performing- a few days beforehand I had been Christmas shopping in Luebeck not so far from the Musikschule where my bigband practices.  I really needed to use the bathroom, so I went there.  A guy was there who had led one of our rehearsals when our normal director is sick, and he recognized me, and asked if I was interested in playing.  I said yes, and that was that.  Later, after playing, he informed me that I had earned 40 euro ($60) for performing, which was also pretty cool.  Unfortunately, I don't have any good photos of the event.  Here's one, but it doesn't show much:

After Travemuende, I met up the Baakes in their church, where there was more carol singing.  Anke's mother was also there; she spent Weihnachten and the next few days with us.

The Baake family tradition is to make animal fodder, and then go into the woods and sing songs around a candle hanging on a pine tree.  After singing, we spread the animal fodder around the tree and walk back to the house.  In front of the house was a big sack filled with presents... the Weihnachtsman was there!


The Baakes have a real Christmas tree with real candles (Hannes made them!), and it's very very pretty.  Anyway, we pulled the sack inside and each took turns opening a present in front of the tree.  I got some nice work gloves, a groovy pirate hat, a German cookbook, a few grammar books, and ten pairs of socks.  I desperately needed the socks!  Later on, Sven (Anke's brother) gave me a book of German carols, with sheet music for all of them.  It's a pretty cool book.

 The Weihnachtman's sack

The rest of the day was more relaxing, singing, and talking.  Mia played with her new Speigelreflex Canon Camera, Hannes played with a remote control helicopter, Alex also played with Hannes' helicopter, and everything was good.  A wunderschoen day.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I have just about the best french class ever invented.

I got back today from the musikfreizeit (more about that later) with pretty mixed feelings.  Elation, yeah, because it was such a good time, but also sad because when everybody else said their goodbyes knowing that they'd probably meet each other again next year, I said mine knowing that chances are good that we'd never meet again.  On top of that, I was (and still am) drop dead tired.

In any case, as soon as I got in the door Lotta informed me that my french class had sent me a package.  How amazing is that? 

Anyway, I've been thinking about that.  Why is French class so special?  Aside from the fact that Madame is simply the best and the french students kick ass, French is also just about the only class in LHS that stays mostly together year to year... french power!  Honestly, though, I think it's that continuity that makes French class the favorite class of so many people, even those that don't like the french language.

  That, and the fact that Madame is the best.

In any case, a big thank you to all you guys.  Collette, especially- I couldn't think of a better care package than one including your amazing cookies.  You truly are the epitome of woman.

I'd also like to say that I love Mentos (pronounced men - toss here in el deutschland), the candle that Chris the Commy sent smells just my grandparents' house (that's a good thing, Chris), and Alex thinks my Lynnfield hat is pretty damn cool. 

And thanks, everyone, for your well wishes.   I really appreciate it... French 5 is the best!