Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hey, You're Jewish? Is That Why You're Eating What You're Eating?

The thing about being named Jennie Morgan is that the subject of my Jewish background does not generally come up very often. However, sometimes it does, like because someone asks what my middle name is or something. Since being in Germany, I have experienced something that I really never experienced at home, which is that when people find out my little "secret" (not that I hide it) I find that I am suddenly a bit of a curiosity and am bombarded with a slew of what I believe are rather hilarious questions, although I am starting to question my sanity on this one a bit so you can tell me what you think. So far it's gone pretty much like so:

Well, no, that's not why I'm not eating a pork sausage, because I'm not religious. I just don't want to eat a pork sausage.

But if you're not religious, then why are you wearing a bracelet with Hebrew letters on it?
Well, because it says my name on it. And it says my name in Hebrew because I'm Jewish.

But why, if you're not religious?
Um, well, because I have cultural traditionalism.

So do you actually know Hebrew?
I guess so, some, because I went to a Jewish school.

But why, if you're not religious?
Because of the cultural traditionalism.

So are you really not religious at all?
Well, I'm sitting here in a bar on a Friday night, so that means I'm not.

It does???? Why?????
Well, Jewish people who are religious don't go to bars on Friday nights.

But why????
I suppose for the same reason that the supermarket on my street is closed on Sunday.

So do you go to the like Jewish church?
Occasionally. But not too often, no.

Why not?
Because I'm not religious, remember?

So is Judaism like a major religion in Canada?
A major religion? I wouldn't say that, no.

So does your dad wear one of those things? Those like hat things?
Are you serious? Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Do you ever feel like...

... it's hard to enjoy the moment because you feel as though the phase of your life that you are currently in is already over, and you're living in a premature state of nostalgia? I remember this time about two years ago when I was walking between two very tall buildings, and I could see a glorious stretch of blue sky, and I was so gloriously, deliriously happy - not because anything special had happened, but only because at that moment I forgave myself all my flaws, all my silly mistakes; and I thought, ah, if I could only be just this way with myself all the time, the way one might think about a normally distant lover who plans a spontaneous night of romance.

But in the very same moment I felt sad, because I feared that I, just like one would fear the lover, would never be quite so kind again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Several Observations About Learning a Foreign Language

1) Presumably, if you are an adult you are able to express sophisticated ideas in your own language. But when you are trying to learn a foreign language it's like your most basic thoughts are taken away from you and you're sitting around in a classroom with a bunch of other similarly handicapped individuals being like "Ah yes, I too am an admirer of the spaghetti."

2) At the break you're like "cripes, if I stay here I am going to have to try to turn sentences like that into an actual conversation with my classmates who are suddenly looking like the most awkward people on earth" so you spend the whole 20 mins in the bathroom.

3) Why will the teacher not just come out and laugh at us? Even I know we sound positively silly.

4) It really must be true that they hate foreigners in Germany. Or else they would get rid of these deeply exasperating "cases" which I can't help but notice don't always contribute a whole lot to the meaning of anything but do make it really hard to ever get anything right. And they would report more international news items that everyone can understand, like "Lindsay Lohan ist nicht mehr unter Hausarrest."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Interviews with Celebrities

You know those celebrities that are pictured on the covers of magazines? Do you ever open up the magazine and read the interview with the celebrity inside? Right, I knew you wouldn't admit it. But let's say you were to admit it for a second, just to yourself. Don't you think it's dumb how the interviewer waxes all crazily poetic about how much the movie star in question wears the nicest clothes? And hates the paparazzi because it just ruins lives? But she'll live with it because she loves her job? 

I mean of course she wears nice clothes, for fuck's sake. And of course she'll live with it. And of course she loves her job. She's an effing movie star.

(Also, isn't it uncanny how she always manages to say something hilarious to try to convince you she's normal, like "I'm friends with Natalie but we never talk about work"?)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Riding a Bike

Riding a bike is one of those things that makes me feel like a complete effing moron because pretty much everyone can do it easily except for me. I mean, I can do it but the bike has to be too small because I get all like freaked out if my feet can't full-out touch the ground when I stop. And I mean not just my tippy toes. If at least something close to my whole foot can't touch the ground, I'm too scared to start. The obvious result of this is that I can only ride a bike if I am willing to get knee cramps, which I am, because I have this fantasy of how cool I would obviously be if I knew how to do loads of things I don't really know how to do. Besides riding a bike, some of the other things are playing the piano, not overspilling my bikini, having a good sense of direction, dancing with a hot booty shake, and speaking German.

So the other day I was in the bike store attempting to fulfill two of these fantasies by buying a too-small bike while speaking German, and the guy in the store wouldn't let me buy a children's bike, which is the only kind of bike that is too small for me because I am five feet tall, because he was very kindly concerned about the knee cramps. I tried to explain that I needed to get the kinderbike or else I can't ride any kind of bike, and he was like "Kneeschmerz kneeschmerz" or something and I was like "Kinderbike kinderbike," and it was all a little sad. Anyway, I didn't buy the bike, leaving one of my fantasies unfulfilled. But the guy definitely couldn't speak English, so I'm going to go ahead and tell you that this non-transaction took place in German.

So what are some of the things you all think everyone else can do besides you? Just, you know, so I don't feel bad about myself.

Monday, July 4, 2011

English-Speaking Fantasies

Since coming to Germany, I have found myself having these incredibly elaborate fantasies in which I'm back home and someone asks me a question in the street, and I just run my mouth giving them the most fantastic answer, instead of blinking and saying "Ja" and then slinking away in shame as they smile and ask the next person.

Then I have this other fantasy about being in a group of mostly English-speakers and only one or two Germans so that we have to all speak English to each other, and positively talking everyone's ears off while they all think I'm just such a card. The Germans in the group are silently bewildered. Naturlich.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

More About Germany

I haven't given you an anecdote in awhile (I think not since here), so I just wanted to tell you that in Germany you can only get the superintendent to unlock the door of your apartment if you lock yourself out during business hours. And you also have to show him your passport, so you better not lock yourself out when you are coming back from anywhere other than, um, a different country. During business hours.

I guess that wasn't really an anecdote, since I didn't tell you how I discovered any of this.