Sunday, May 15, 2011

Learning the German Language, Take Eins

So far I've been organizing my posts on here into recipes, reviews, and philosophical musings, but I've decided I want to branch out from these into pointless stories too, so I've created a new category as of today. I hope you will enjoy reading these stories as much as I enjoy experiencing them. Which is a lot.

I haven't mentioned this on here before so some of you may not know, but being a hipster-in-denial, I can't just stay where I am so I am in Germany right now instead of Canada. In true hipster fashion, I signed up for a language course that is predominantly populated by new immigrants who don't speak English. My thinking at first was that this would be good for my hipster cred as well as for learning German since I would have to speak to my classmates somehow, but it turns out that learning German is impossible. If you don't believe me, I would suggest you try learning how to say even something simple like "excuse me can you please take your feet off the subway seat" which seems to be pretty much the only thing Germans say anyway.

What it turns out my language course is actually good for is indulging in what I have recently realized is my lifelong pastime of imagining what people whom I don't know very well and with whom I appear to have little in common have going on in their lives. For instance, do they mostly cook for themselves or do they mostly order takeout? If the former, do they complain about it and think it is a chore, or do they enjoy it in a sort of domesticated homebodyish way? Who would they call in case of an emergency? Are they profoundly emotionally connected to the people who are closest to them, or are they distant and withdrawn? Have they had mostly positive romantic experiences or mostly negative? Do they have high self-esteem? Good sex lives?

Then, and this is the most fun part, I can do sort of the reverse of this fantasy, which is imagining that they are asking themselves the same sorts of questions about me, and that they are coming up with answers that are very far from the truth which is that I am totally boring, a little bit anxious, frequently lonely, frequently tempted to shop.


  1. Everyone imagines other people's lives to be more exciting than their own.

    I mean, Germans... am i right? They've got to live exciting lives. I'm just a boring Canadian.

    I think you're on to something. I also think your life is less boring than you let on.

    Try Russian next. There are neighbourhoods in Toronto where you can get the same experience in Russian without buying a plane ticket.

  2. My dad studided German in school and can only remember one phrase, which he taught to me and is the only phrase I know besides "Danka." I cann't find my overshoes.

    How useful is that?!

  3. Yeah, I don't think that I would want to know what people are imagining my life might be like, because they are sure to imagine something a lot more interesting than reality!

    I learnt German in school, and then took my exams at 16, and haven't remembered very much at all in the subsequent 12 years (holy crap - 12 years is a long time!). I recently tried to relearn but don't have the discipline any more!

  4. I know you didn't ask:

    Bitte nicht mit den Schuhe auf dem Sitz ;)