Monthly Archives: June 2010

Typical day as a JYMer

My time in Germany will be over in a month. Our program is putting a year book together. At first I didn’t think I would submit anything, then last week I remembered I had a blog post about globalization in Germany so that’s going to be in the year book. I also wrote a humorous piece about a day in the life as a JYMer. It’s supposed to be German and English mixed together.

Typische Tag als ein/e JYMer

0730 Aufwachen.
0745 Really Aufwachen. Why did I sign up for a 9 am course again?
0750 In the shower, trying not to think of how I need to clean my bathroom.
0820 Begin the 40 minute commute/ordeal to JYM. I base how my day’s going go based on how the Zugführer sounds when he says. zurückblieben bitte.
0900-1030 Advance German Language class aka Finding out how little Deutsch ich weiß
1030-1330 Mittags Pause. Ich suche Mittagessen. Mahlzeit? Mensa? Soll ich Hausaufgabe mache? Maybe.
1330-? Okay, signing up for zwei Kurse Rücken an Rücken the same day as the 9am one was probably a mistake, but I like them too much.
~1800 Freiheit! Another 40 minute hike zur StuSta
~1930 Getrinkladen. Billig (GUT) Bier. Trying to spend nur 2 5 Euro.
2000 Abendessen. Tribühne food isn’t mouthwatering, but it’s billig, and that’s what matters. As soon as I open my mouth, they can tell I’m American.
2100 Hausaufgaben.
2350 Quick call Home.
2430 Ins Bett gehen. Sich wiederholen am Morgen.
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I’ve Got a Secret

So I realized I haven’t written anything in ages and that needs to be fixed. And I also noticed that this is my 80th post! So I’m celebrating a bit.

I’m going back to my old standby whenever I need to write but can’t seem to. Edward Hopper paintings.  “Nighthawks” is his most famous painting.

I typed in “Nighthawks and Abortion” into google on a whim and got this little article. It doesn’t even mention abortion but it is a great idea, that the woman in red is the epitome of loneliness because she stands out from everything else in the picture. (Which is either too dark or too light)

Anyways, this is just a first draft. And yes I noticed similarities between this and “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway. I’m not saying I think I’m as good as him, just that I’m taking almost the same situation.

I’ve got a secret.

I’m not sure if I can tell him. But it’s only been a few days and already I feel it gnawing at me, each day getting stronger. How long can I keep this up?

They had walked to the only place they knew would be open after they had gone to the last showing at the movie house. It was the awkward time of night where it was too early to go home yet too late to do much else. So they walked slowly through the muggy summer night, mostly in silence. The movie wasn’t very good. By the time they reached Phillies they were tired. The only other customer had barely acknowledged them as they shuffled into the cafe. They waited a few seconds for their eyes to adjust before picking adjacent stools on the opposite end of the counter.

“Kitchen’s closed, folks,” the sodajerk said.

She just eyed the gigantic coffee urns sitting on top of the counter a few stools down from them.

“Coffee, please” it was the first time he spoke since he suggested this place.

“Decaf for me please” she added hastily as the sodajerk went to get their coffee. Her boyfriend gave her a brief look.

“I uh… need to be up early tomorrow.” She didn’t look him in the eye.

“oh. well you could have said something back at the movie house.”

“No, no, I wanted to stay out with you a little longer.” She forced herself to flash a smile at him. “Besides, it’s been so hot out that my apartment needs to cool down before I can sleep.” He nodded in agreement.

The coffee arrived and she gratefully took a big gulp before realizing just how late it was. She nearly spit it out before setting the cup down. He, on the other hand, didn’t seem to notice how bad it tasted. She reached for the sugar and poured in more than her usual two spoonfuls.

“Want some?”

“Oh, no thanks.” He looked at the sodajerk who was drying some cups. “Do you have any milk?”

“We’re out.”

“Cream?”

“Out. It is Saturday night.” He looked at the clock. “And I’m closing in 20 minutes.”

He didn’t seem fazed by this at all. She briefly considered just telling him now. The other customer stared intently at a newspaper that was soon to be yesterday’s news, his coffee cup sat forgotten at his elbow. She wondered what brought him here alone, on a summer Saturday night.

They sat in silence for a bit, nursing their coffees as if they were alcohol. She didn’t feel able to speak and he didn’t think he needed to. The silence sat awkwardly among them. It wasn’t comfortable but it wasn’t oppressive either; it was just silent.

Finally she opened her mouth. “You know I…”

“Closing time folks. I’m gonna have to ask you three to leave.” The other customer paid and quickly disappeared, leaving his newspaper on the counter. “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. 10 cents for the coffees mister.”

He fished a dime out of his pocket and put it out on the counter. Neither had finished their coffees, but they didn’t care. They just nodded goodnight as they slipped into the still heat once again. Instinctively they started heading for her place. The streets around Phillies were dead, even a few store fronts empty. This part of town had seen better days.

“God, it didn’t even cool down yet.” He looked at his watch. “And it’s already almost 11.”

She felt uncomfortable; the coffee wasn’t sitting well with her and she swore she felt a little dizzy. “Let’s not rush home then.” She knew she wouldn’t have been able to tell him right now, with even though they were alone. She saw him screaming his head off, waking up the lucky people who were already asleep and making a scene. How did she even think she could have told him at Phillies?

The buildings slowly changed from the silent old-timers to the younger, livelier row houses. Her neighborhood was in transition like all the others, but it seemed to be for the better. They reached her door stoop without her really noticing.

“Well.”

“Next weekend?” she asked.

“I really should check what’s playing. I don’t want to sit through that again.”

“Fine. Maybe dinner then?”

“Maybe. I’ll give you a call by Thursday.”

He kissed her on the cheek and then vanished into the darkness.

She let herself into the building without looking back and went up the stairs to her apartment. She came into her apartment with a loud sigh. Instead of heading straight to bed, she took out her phone book and looked up her best friend’s number. If she couldn’t tell her boyfriend that she was… Don’t think it! then she would at least tell her best friend. She needed to tell somebody soon. She left the book opened to the page right under her phone.

He doesn’t need to know. Then she turned out the light and went to bed.

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Germany, Globalized

Well originally I thought it was Americanized. But my mom, who came to visit, pointed out that Germany is not specifically emulating the Americans, but becoming more Global.

You see, this was the third time we’ve been to Germany. The last time was almost 8 years ago. Since being in Germany I kept commenting on how much more American it feels. And no, Coco Cola doesn’t count. I’m not sure if they had saturated the German market the first time I was here (when I was barely in fourth grade and feel in love with Fanta) but I do remember ads for it when I came back after seventh grade. Back then the American ad campaign was something like Coca-Cola. Always. In Germany it was Trink which I thought meant always. But it really means drink.

Mainly it’s the retail stores that seem much more Americanized/Globalized. There are a ton of stores like New Yorker, Tommy Hilfiger, that I never noticed before. Granted, the last time we went to Germany, we were in a completely different environment than the cities I’ve been in this trip. As technology explodes, Germany has kept up. There is a chain of German stores equivalent to Best Buy, but with better DVD and CD selection. 🙂 There’s also Apple stores creeping up. The Ipad just hit Germany a few days ago.

But it’s also the people themselves. Germany feels a lot more diverse than it did my previous two trips. Granted it’s no where near the Melting pot that is America, especially the east coast cities, but there’s still a lot more different groups than just the two that we noticed before. Instead of “German” on one side and Turkish on the other (Germany has a huge Guest worker history and the largest group has been the Turks) Now there’s many groups that are in between. Partly that has to with the Turks and Germans finally mixing because there’s now a generation of German born Turks. But also because other groups of people are coming to Germany as well. The Catholic diocese offers Mass in 18 different languages around the city, and it’s not just for the several groups of tourist that swarm the city.

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