Astoundingly, when I arrived on 1 November in Indianapolis, Indiana it turned out that Halloween was going on. The city had a weather problem the day before and rescheduled Halloween because of that. Due to that, in 2013 I saw children in costumes going around asking for treats for the first time…well, there were a few who did so the first year I was in Germany but it is not so popular there.
You have probably heard the sayings ‘There is no going back’ and also that ‘You can never step into the same river twice’. Well, the no going back thing is about the second saying in some cases. Even being here this long has changed the situation.
I have missed home and my son and have really liked being back in my native nation in a city in which I lived for 10 years, but I am not in the right part of town in that, I am not in the part of town with which I have the most experience.
I was mildly shocked the day – a couple of weeks ago now, when the Monster Trucks and a billboard of Captain America were both in a small German village at the same time that I was at the bank. I don’t find either shocking in the USA, nor their conjunction, but in real life in a village in Germany I was still shocked. That is how far into the Germans, aspects of American culture have reached.
Today in Germany, where I was, the weather has cooled but was intriguing compared what I used to be used to. Much of the day was completely overcast with grey rain clouds, but then there was a burst of rain. After that, fine blue skies, plenty of bright sunshine and a buoyant sensation.
Today, it crossed my mind that writers, like everyone else, are real people. I don’t like to only write nor to spend all my time this way or that way. I like some variety in my life even though I also like stability and security. People can be a joy or a trying experience – it just depends on so much else.
This week the changing amount of light is really noticeable. The signs of harvest and of Autumn’s cooling and darkening weather are strong here in a – an actual Saxon village of the contemporary real world. That means this is far from the only place with Internet service and a car, but the majority of locals are either actually Saxons, or have become that way from immigration and mixing. There are also foreigners who continue to feel foreign for a long time. Sometimes that is by choice and in some cases it is not. The ease with which can not want to learn the German language makes it more common.
The German language is not that bad once you get the hang of it. There are some major qualities that help. They know it freaks other peoples out quite easily and are so aware that it can be a difficult language that they have built in a joke about that to be used amongst themselves. They pull that one out early to share with people who are clearly attempting to speak German and it isn’t going that smoothly, but with German, often even when done correctly it isn’t smooth. Philosophers who learn the depths of German grammar can devise incredibly complex manageable concepts and expressions using German – which keeps it challenging for those translators. Daunting, but not impossible, apparently.
One of the schools of German thought that I was taught and studied as both an undergraduate and a graduate student of philosophy was the German Immanuel Kant. In this village, there is a street named after him. Kant did some of the preliminary work in epistemology – how do we humans even know anything? What is knowledge? that paved the way for the scientific method.
This topic is neatly covered in one chapter of Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them. Ideas, facts, the senses, language, and logic are all discussed. The booklet is intended for an introductory audience. It is written so that readers can get enough theory to put to use, and in a way that shows how to use what theory is presented. Philosophy is an activity, not just a set of distant theories. Buy yours now, and learn more about it!
A few days ago, the point of no return was reached in that the special Germany calendar flipped and a 3rd year of residing here was completed. It was uneventful, much like not learning of a Solar eclipse until thousands of years later while suffering from restlessness within the context of a high school history lesson – thanks to that you know about one of the eclipses.
Right now, I have no idea of whether or not I will blog about how much I am loving living in the USA but missing my son 3 months from now, or if I will suddenly be nostalgic about everything I love about these past 3 years but didn’t notice as much as I might have due to the distracting power of what I disliked about the same over all scenario…So maybe if that is no longer hindering me, I will see some of what I have enjoyed with a new clarity – like last night’s party after that hang over has cleared up.
Then again, I might just still be in Germany, hopefully writing about how I am managing to sell more of my books and mingling in cafes and actually having a social life.
Many of you have had shopping mall experiences and found that at least once, you felt overwhelmed by the abundance of bright colored lights and noise and shiny rotating trinkets for sale in shop windows.
Some of you have paid significant sums of money to spend a week somewhere there isn’t an overwhelming abundance of shopping malls.
There are people who feel ‘in touch with nature’ and people who get uncomfortable about too much ‘naturalness’ because it so closely resembles either baby feces stuff or barbarians or what soldiers are like after having been heavily used in actual war. All I am really getting at is that I noticed that back in March was still before the farmers started tilling. Well, that has really changed. The clocks have been moved ahead. There is tons more daylight now: it seems like it happened quickly and now dawn arrives at 5am and sunset is out to 9pm shaking off the withdraw-shock of how it feels when it is dark from 3pm to 9am the next day or something hideous and excessive like that. The country is ‘snapping out of it’ again, and the farmers are actually tilling the local fields …Actually, last week they did a lot of it.
Here we are in the last week of Winter on St. Patrick’s Day. As an American I am really noticing that the Germans do not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, for 2 or 3 reasons. They are not as much of a Catholic country; there are not very many (known) Irish immigrants in Germany – although I might look that up on the Internet to see how many Irish did immigrate to Germany back during that 19th century potato famine. Germany does not absorb immigrants with the same attitude as the Americans, but they do take in immigrants and have for a long time. Germany was not flooded with Irish. I love St. Patty’s Day, green beer and all, but that is why.
We have snow here in this German village. I have spent only about an hour with German today, which is far less than most of the local Germans and tons more than I ever even considered doing until I realized that there might be a few years of my life when I am inundated by it because I am in Germany. “Swamped”, so to speak. All the foreigners in the USA feel the same way about being “swamped” with so much English it is totally overwhelming. I have hung out at home speaking English with my American & German son and have written a little bit in German and a lot more in English. I will probably do more with German today.
I do not blame the Germans for being German – I did travel to their country knowing it is Germany. Even so, I still do react naturally and unnaturally just because I am an American woman in Germany, not a German and unlike my son, who is a junior German but also an American, I am not a German who only arrived recently. I am trying to find some reasonable way of dealing with it. I don’t know if I will but this is what it is like on the first snowy day here in a German village that there has been in weeks.
PS: recently, I counted and found that I know at least one word or more of 23 languages. As a child I thought being polylingual would be great. I am still not even bilingual or trilingual but know at least a little of many languages from Japanese to the usual French, Spanish, Latin, and German and Dutch and so on.
I didn’t even watch this prior to posting it. What I can tell you is that in Indianapolis hardly anyone other than my son was called Sven. I know that in Minnesota the descendants of other Scandinavians (NW Europeans) are often called Sven. Here in Germany, there are at least 4 Sven’s in the little village we live in.
I have been getting used to many of the other names. At first they sound like a joke someone has told you when a little drunk in a pub or something like that, but after a while you realize they aren’t kidding, and that’s what they are called.
Two of my first cousins are binationals of the USA and Norway. They grew up in California being called Tove and Hans which is strange, but when they go to Norway they have very normal names.
Have fun with this, may as well.