At this point, I could write a bunch of different entries… one about how difficult the transition between languages is going to be, one exactly like this post about bureaucracy, or another depressing one about how I haven’t really met anybody yet. But I’m going to keep it positive because it’s a really beautiful day outside and I just ate some delicious cheesecake.
Which brings me to my current locale. This blog post is brought to you by the free Wifi at Kaffeehaus am Bischofskreuz, across the street from the student apartments at Sundgauallee am Seepark! I “officially” moved into my dorm this morning since my mom flew back to Texas today. It was a bittersweet farewell. Now I’m more or less on my own, and it’s a pretty weird feeling. Also, I don’t have internet in my dorm yet… that will probably happen on Monday. So for now, I’m hitting up any hotspots I can find.
If you know me at all, you probably know that two of my favorite hobbies are people-watching and eavesdropping. Call me nosy, but people are interesting and I like being able to experience a cross-section of their lives as we cross paths, even for just a fleeting moment. Going to college at a large urban university with an extremely eclectic student body has only made me appreciate these activities more… you can’t even begin to imagine the things I’ve overheard at UT and the crazy situations I’ve witnessed.
Well, it turns out I am multiculturally creepy because here I am in Germany, and I still enjoy people-watching. Earlier, I went out and sat by the little lake near my dorm complex (it was really pretty out, btdubs) and just observed what people were doing. My favorite was the guy sitting on the grass, shirtless, playing the ukulele. Which was both entertaining and reminded me of my dear friend Justin. All the while a few little girls, probably about 6 years old, ran up and down the paths and countless joggers and bikers passed me by. It’s kind of comforting to know that people in Freiburg, Germany aren’t all that different from people in Austin, Texas, since I’m willing to bet that there will be people performing all of these same activities today on the South Mall. Except they will probably do so surrounded by a lot less grass. 😛
Eavesdropping is not as universal, and is a little bit trickier in a different language… I can only pick up a few words now and then, since not only are these people native (re: fast-talking) speakers, but they are also a few meters away from me and aren’t actually talking to me. However, I’d say that trying to ascertain the conversation topics of the couple at the table opposite me at this coffee shop is quite helpful to my German skills. It really stretches the boundaries of my vocabulary and lets me hear what real German conversations sound like.
Sometimes it’s confusing though. A few minutes ago, the guy at the next table was having a short conversation with the waitress, which I could only assume was about which milkshake flavor is the best or how much a slice of cake costs. But then I heard the waitress say, really distinctly, “den Zweiten Weltkrieg.” Which definitely means “World War II.” Hearing that buzzword prompted me to listen a little closer to what they were talking about, which, as far as I could tell, had something to do with “the German mindset” and people’s work ethics and unemployment…? Maybe.
Hopefully my paying-attention-in-class skills are more finely tuned my eavesdropping skills, but classes don’t start for one month today so until then I’ll just continue being creepy. I mean… what else is new?