Blister mouth and Morgengrauen

Well, my teeth certainly hurt a lot less.

My upper gums and inner lips, as well as my tongue, hurt something terrible(!) – the edges of the aligners just keep rubbing on everything and making new raw spots appear and new bumps of rawness pop up and out inside my mouth.

So, today was simultaneously better and worse.

… On that note, that last sentence reminds me of a particular line in a German audiobook… she’s just transferred schools, and is describing her second day at school…

Here’s a rough translation of what I seem to recall was in that little section – only three bits I recall for certain, and the rest is just knowledgeable conjecture, but you’ll get the idea well enough… and the book:

‘The next day was better and worse… It was better because the sun shone, I knew where I was going, and I had people to sit with at lunch… It was worse because I fell on the way to my truck in the morning, Mr. Something called on me in math class and my answer was wrong, and, most of all, it was worse because Edward Cullen was not at school.’

I find yet somehow hilarious that I read the German versions of those books, and also that I totally love the German audiobook of the first one… I don’t even bother with the English ones, but I still pull up the German audiobook and have a bit of a listen from time to time… and I always love it… though, the beginning has a few lines and bits missing in the audiobook version, which I rather dislike… not sure why they were edited out in the first place… bleh(!).

Anyway… good chat…. have a great night and day, everyone, whoever you are, you lovely, God-blessed soul, you. 😉

P.S. We were totally supposed to go on a fabulous hike tomorrow morning, however, the torrential downpour that has just begun outside is expected to last through later tomorrow morning…. soooo, that’s kind of been canceled, and we’ll just head back to Houston (from Austin) shortly after we get up naturally and have some breakfast/brunch…

Post-a-day 2019

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German Rank

By the time I arrived in Germany for my summer of German language courses as a precursor to my Fall/Winter study abroad semester, I had done the whole foreign language study and foreign language immersion thing a couple of times already – I knew what I was getting into and how I wanted to go about it.

True fluency was my goal, and I knew how to manage that.

The day I arrived, however, my German was absurdly limited and rather laughable…. I could hardly ask questions, let alone understand the answers (more on that some other time).

And so, by the time I was visiting with the others in my program’s group (they had also arrived that day), and had met the head of my program, everyone had been socially established in terms of their levels of German ability.

One girl was ‘the head’ of the group, so to speak, another was ‘the absolute beginner’, and the other few were sprinkled in between them… I openly declared my poor abilities that had been used throughout the day, only somewhat successfully, and expressed concern of not placing high enough to receive credit for the German courses back at my college (you had to be at least in the second level for the courses to count, and I was worried that I might be ending up in the beginner, first level, based in the day’s events).

In other words, I was ranked ever so slightly above the absolute beginner girl, and just barely below the girl who’d studied for a few semesters already (two years, I think, actually).

However, I wasted no time in immersing myself with the German-speaking head of our program, and got help from her immediately for the things I knew I would need and want to say starting the next day, when I would be interacting with all the people at the school and taking a placement test and starting classes… again, I had done the foreign language thing before, and I was knowledgeable about how to function on minimal vocabulary and grammar – I could make anything work, so long as I had a certain set of vocabulary ahead of time.

And so, to my delight the next morning, what I had prepared myself to be able to share with others about my absurd travels getting to that small town in Germany, ended up being the essay question on the placement test!

Therefore, to my pleasure and total surprise, I was placed in none of the beginner level courses, but in the first of two intermediate courses!

Since I had arrived late the day before (again with the telling another time), I had missed the regular times for the placement tests, and everyone who had taken them then was already in the first day of classes while I took my own placement test (along with a few other people who weren’t in my program, but who were also studying at the language school that month).

Therefore, when I walked into my intermediate level class – this was after multiple verifications that they were sure they were putting me into the correct class – and I found ‘the head’ of our group sitting at one of the tables, there was a brief moment of shock for the both of us, as I blew apart the ranking of our whole group by jumping rank so obscenely (I use obscene, because it rather was obscene, in a sense).

She was not happy, to say the least.

Two weeks later, when I already matched and, in some areas, had surpassed her German capabilities, I had voluntarily removed myself from the ranking altogether.

Rather than be a part of the group so much, I had become ‘the outside associated’, someone who isn’t truly a part of the group, but who comes to visit and gets along well with everyone whenever she does.

I never spoke English after that first day, not once… and that was enough to set me away from the group hierarchy.

(Okay, I did speak English once… this British guy seemed like he was about to cry one day, while begging me to speak English, because he so desperately wanted to hear how I sounded in English, since he had known me for weeks but had heard none…, but that was genuinely the only time I did it while there.)*

And it was wonderful.

In the second month, we had a similar situation happen with the new group arriving and joining our ranks… everyone was re-ranked, with me still as an outside associate for the first round of people, but ranked in a real place by the new folks (just above ‘the head’ from the first month)…

For that month, I was ranked below a new ‘head’… however, a month or so later, when we had all moved to Vienna, Austria, I was fully removed from the ranking system by all the new people, too… I had real friends who were native German-speakers, and certain parts of my German were better than anyone else (not all parts, though, because five years does teach one a lot, so the new ‘head’ definitely had some knowledge on German that I never really intended to have)… and I still used no English.

However, I eventually started throwing in the occasional bit of English just so they wouldn’t hate me so much – speaking only German had kind of pushed me way off the ranks… almost no association at all anymore…, but I got rather pushed back out by some when they discovered my many friendships with non-foreigners….

So, yeah… essentially, I ended up a distanced associate, and that actually was really great for me… I was there to learn German and learn German-speaking culture, not American anything (which was mostly all that my group had to offer), so I did just that: I learned German and German-speaking culture by being a part of it.

And it was awesome.

And I still found the hierarchy of our group to be hilarious, especially when I blew a hole in parts of it again and again. 😛

That was rather fun, actually.

I wonder how I would have felt had I been a regular member of the hierarchy, and not the super-gifted member that I was… hmm…

Post-a-day 2019

*Something tells me that I might have used the occasional translation with the outright beginner girl for the first few weeks while she got her bearings, but we kept that rather hush-hush and between ourselves, so no one really heard or knew about my occasional English words to her.

A letter from my past self

The following is the transcription of a letter I found this week.  (Yes, it was in one of the boxes of papers and folders and such.)  I wish I had found it months ago, when I’d first returned from Japan.  However, it still did me loads of good when I read it the other day.  While I missed out on some bits it mentions, I actually did a really good job of fulfilling most of the tasks prescribed in it… a version of them, anyway.

Anyway, it is a letter I wrote to myself when I was still on my college campus, about to leave to study abroad in Germany and Austria.  As per standards of our school’s study abroad program, we all had to write our future selves a letter, which would be mailed to us upon our return from our study abroad programs.  I fully acknowledge that mine is full of grammatical errors, but that was part of why I was going abroad anyway – to improve my language skills.  Also, the whole letter is written in cursive, because I do that.  The third sentence actually caused me to tear up, and the fourth had me crying.  It’s amazing how right I was, and I really didn’t know that I ever would be in the current situation in which I find myself.

……………………

10. April 2012
Dienstag

Hannah Leigh, chèrie,

Ich weiss nicht, was muss ich dir sagen.  Ich kenne dich nicht, weil du so viel gechanged hast.  Welcome home – may it still feel that way to you.  You are forever welcome here, so remember that – you might need it some day.  Okay, here’s what I want you to do:

1) Go record it.  Get on your computer, write up any questions
you would love for others to ask, & then record yourself
answering them.  Then you can do what you want with
it all, but you will have that satisfaction, that completeness,
wholeness of having shared what you needed, desired, wanted
to share.

2) Talk to people.  Make a quick list of what specifically you already
have wanted to share with whom.  Call each person & set up when
& where you will share what you have to share.  Share with them.

3) Talk to Opa.  No matter where he is, go visit him & talk with
him completely in German.

4) Find someone local with whom you can be open, close, & frank, & speak
only German (or completely German) together with ease.

5) Remember that it’s all right not to “know” who you are.  Knowing
makes no difference, anyway, so no good reason to bother with it.
Look yourself in the mirror & see all that has passed, & be open to
all that will come.

6) You are woman & you create the universe with your being.  Your
power is endless, & it is selfless love that feels it.  Love your
mother & your Mother.  Love your self wholly, & your next
step will become available and visible to you.

7) Be at peace.  Even if it was &/or is hard, it is all relative.
Take it for the beneficial experience that it is, & enjoy every
bit you have gotten & will get from it all.

8) Now & every time you see that it just might possibly help,
take a deep breath & close your eyes, letting your thoughts
run around & then calm naturally as you breathe deeply.

I love you & I wish you all the best.  I am here with you always, though I will now be transformed from the time I wrote this letter.  My understanding & my love have only increased & expanded, I promise.  You are wonderful.  You are beautiful.  You are mine.

I love you.  Love me, too.
❤ Peace       Hannah Leigh

 

P.S. Pretend I pressed a flower in here to give you a wholesome smile & kiss.  🙂 oxox

…………………………………………………..

Post-a-day 2018

Breakdown & Breakthrough: All in a day’s work

Today’s stuff was intense and deep and wonderful.  Rather than explain and describe everything, I turn to selections from the Facebook Messenger conversation I had with my cousin.  As a note that you can understand afterward, I have seven large trash bags crammed in my trunk right now, ready to be donated tomorrow, plus a bag of specifics for my cousin.  I went through two bags of trash – and no, I genuinely do not understand what trash is in the bags for the most part, nor from where it all came, seeing as how I was going through clothing only today…  Anyway, there was hesitation and uncertainty at the start, then paralyzing panic, followed by red-eyed determination, and then finally comfortable relaxation and ease.

At one point, after probably five (of the eventual 8) bags had been moved to the trunk, I opened up my guitar.  I had to cut off the plastic ties that were still around the case from having brought it here on the airplane.  I tuned it up from the extremely loose state in which the strings had been for months, played a song, and then just played around for a few minutes.  All-in-all, it wasn’t even 15 minutes spent with the guitar, but it was blissful, and I was filled with delight by the end of it.  It may seem like little, but having done this specifically speaks volumes about how effective today was – I hadn’t even considered pulling out the guitar until today.  The guitar is enjoyment and relaxation and fun.  Those haven’t really been an option in my life lately.

Anyway, find the selections here, below, and have a wonderful day.  🙂

………………………………………………………..

Hannah Any chance you read my weblog from last night?
I feel stuck
Cousin i have not
Hannah And I’d like your opinion
Cousin I will add that to my list of goals for today
Hannah I guess, essentially, I have planned to do my clothes today, KonMari style
But I feel like I can’t relate to joy sparking feeling
It’s like, because I have so much stuff, it all just stresses me out a little bit
And I feel kind of guilty at having it all in the first place
Maybe not guilt, but something… almost like shame
Cousin I went ahead and read the what you wrote
I hear you. I feel that way every time I move. Which is a lot of times.
Hannah Ha
Cousin I wonder what that ‘shame’ feeling is attached to. Is it a ‘supposed to’?
I’m not ‘supposed to’ have this much stuff?
Hannah Perhaps
I think so
Like that I was wasteful in getting things I don’t love in the first place
Cousin that was a different kind of joy at the time though
Hannah It’s currently just a big sense of stress
No specifics to it
Cousin specifically talking about the clothes right now. it sounds like you’re not being able to relate to confront them on a one on one level because you’re dealing with them as a whole emotionally.
Hannah Like I mentioned, my main issue right now is that I can’t get that spark joy feeling
Yeah, I think so
Cousin And you know there is no benefit to bringing the baggage of what you “should or should not” have done with any of these things.
That baggage is just more clutter
Even if the purchases you made turned out not to bring a usefulness and sustaining joy, there was at least a small amount of freedom and joy in obtaining them when you did. Otherwise you wouldn’t have done it.
That is all past now. You have grown. You have learned. You did good. Gold starts all around.
Now we get the excitement of meeting this new phase in your life. You get to make all these creative choices again with things you already own.
Like editing the draft of a novel.
And you don’t have to worry about making the wrong decision. Because your life si so abundant.
You may never find those plates from college. That sucks.
But. You didn’t know those plates would bring you joy before you found them.
ANd that may happen again with new plates.
Hannah Yeah
M– has always said that ‘If it isn’t a definite YES!, then it’s definitely a no’
[…]
Cousin The ‘definite yes’ thing can be useful, but it can also be a lot of pressure to put on yourself
[…]
Cousin especially because of where you are in your life.
It’s easier to know ‘definite yes’ when you’ve been living with the same stuff in the same place for several years
it’s harder when you’re in flux
there is an episode of gilmore girls actually that deals with that in the last season.
Hannah Ha
Hannah Remember that time I got rid of the multiple black trash bags of clothes?
At the two-Story apartment
Cousin yes
Hannah I did this activity then
It was just the clothes I had at that apartment, but still
It worked great
And I was so happy with it all
Now I finally have everything in one place
I want to do the activity again
I think I’m getting overwhelmed with the fact that there’s just so much sh*t everywhere in my room, in the house, and in my life
And I’m somewhat scared of what life will be when I let go of it all
Slash terrified
Cousin well, I know what you need then
some Tina Turner
Your montage moment is waiting for you whenever you are ready to have it
(and it’s okay not to be ready yet. You can also be scared of it and choose to be a cat instead until you’re ready.)

……………………………………………….

Hannah I just put the second item into the give-away bag, and I’ve started deep crying
It’s like I can see what’s going on for me, but I can’t seem to do anything about it
Because it isn’t just letting go – it is intentionally clearing the space
So much of what I have is out of necessity
That’s why I got a lot of it
Also, not really knowing who I want to be right now makes this tough
My current lifestyle leans toward making me feel useless in life
Cousin That’s why I was serious about my last suggestions. You’ve done your logic homework. This is body primal stuff.
Hannah It’s terrifying to let go of the safety that I’ve known
A lot of my clothes are representative of the safety I’ve had in my life
Mostly financially, but also mentally and all
Cousin Absolutely. This actually reminds me a little bit of when you shaved your head
Hannah Really?
I had no struggle with making that move
Haha
Cousin Conversations we had after the fact I mean
About how you had to find different ways to express your femininity
Hannah About having to deal with people seeing me so differently, and having to examine how I wanted to present myself?
Yeah
Cousin Exactly
Hannah It’s like I’m scared to show a grown-up, feminine me here
In Japan, I was okay with it
Cousin New slate, new rules
Hannah There were multiple occasions where I just stared st myself, ‘cause I envied the woman I was in that moment and outfit and everything
And here, I feel like I’m allowed to be a kid and/or tomboy
Only
Cousin Another identity to contend with
Hannah
Cousin Grl, YES
This is very much an Artist’s Way date
Hannah Haha
[…]

Hannah With quick folding, most of it went into my dresser, and the rest in one laundry basket!
Hannah I also started noticing differences in feelings as I was folding them up. It were as though, now that I have so much less, I could see suddenly all these individual emotions that were difficult to see before. Before, it was a simple ‘good feeling’ versus ‘not good feeling’ with each item. Now that all the ‘not good feeling’ items are out of the picture, I’m seeing what the different subcategories, if you will, of ‘good feeling’ are.

…………………………………………………………………………..

P.S.  Sonntag means Sunday.  It’s German.  😉

Post-a-day 2018

Nerd-ing

I am years into having a smartphone, and my most visited webpages remain almost exactly the same as when I started using one.  They are translation websites and dictionary websites.  Originally, it was wordreference.com and dictionary.com.  Wordreference.com was an easy one, because I had already done the research for my preferred translator for French, Spanish, and German.  But, after some research into different dictionary websites, I found that I preferred merriam-webster.com over dictionary.com.  So, today, my most visited webpages are wordreference.com and merriam-webster.com. (I would add in Google Translate, because of my constant use with Japanese on it for kanji translations and photo translations, but I had to download the app almost immediately, when I moved to Japan, so that I could use it almost constantly to understand things around me.  Therefore, it isn’t a website I’m visiting, but an application I am using.)

I’m just a word and language nerd.  It’s like that day at work, earlier this year, when I spent an hour looking up information on certain punctuation marks – I am a word nerd, and there is ample evidence to support the claim.

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Post-a-day 2017

Time for Multilingual Christmas Stuff

My task for today (from my tea advent calendar) was to listen to a Christmas song in every language I speak.  Seeing as how it was likely to be difficult to find a song other than “Jingle Bells” (which is definitely not one of my favorites on repeat) in a bunch of different languages, and taking into account that it could get quite boring, listening to the same song over and over again, I chose to interpret the assignment as being any Christmas song for any of the languages (i.e. different songs for each language, as opposed to the same one in each language).  These are the songs I picked.

 

German:  Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht
(It was originally written in German.  I love the version by John Denver and the Muppets on their joint Christmas album.)

French: Minuit Chrétiens
(One of my favorite Christmas songs, and it was originally in French.  This isn’t my favorite version, but it’s still nice.)

Japanese: All I Want for Christmas is You Japanese cover 
(Clearly not originally Japanese, but I like it anyway, so I listened to it.  I loved the ridiculous Christmas music I would hear in the shops while living in Japan, but I can’t remember any of it.  This one does justice to some of the better covers I heard, though.)  😀

English: Mary, did you know? 
I first remember hearing this song at Mass at my aunt’s Church in a small town in Texas. A boy around my age sang the song during Mass, I believe during the meditation time following Communion (when everyone goes up to the front and takes some bread and wine).  I thought it was magical, hearing this twangy-accented high schooler sing his heart out with these words and notes.  This version reminds me of a grown-up version of that first one I remember hearing.

Italian: Tu Scendi Dalle Stele
(Originally written in Italian.  I love this guy.)

Spanish: Los Peces en el Rio
(I’d never heard this one, but I love it.  It is originally in Spanish, and also quite popular as a Christmas song in Spanish-speaking cultures.)*

 

Seeing as I don’t speak any others fluently or conversationally, I didn’t do them – this took some time and consideration as it was!  But it was totally good.  Just made me want to listen to loads more in each of the languages, really.  Also, I totally forgot about English and Spanish songs until after I thought I was already finished with this task.  Whoops.  😛

 

*If you want some awesome, quality, unoffensive music in Spanish, check out this song.  Be prepared to be a little shocked when you see the artists performing, and how strongly it contrasts to the sound of the music.  It rocks.  Try listening to it without seeing the video for a minute or two.  Enjoy!

Post-a-day 2017

St. Lucia’s Day

In third grade, my friend and classmate Kristin and I did a project together around Christmastime.  We were to learn a bit about how other countries celebrated Christmas, and do a sort of write-up, and then a little presentation for the class.  I imagine that everyone had different countries, and that we weren’t the only ones presenting something, but I really don’t remember.

Our specific project, as my mother and I recall, was over St. Lucia’s Day, a holiday seen as signaling the arrival of Christmastide.  It is a Catholic and Lutheran holiday, mostly celebrated in Italy and Scandinavia.  All I remember from what we researched was that the girls in a family traditionally wore white dresses, made rolls of bread early in the morning, and sang songs at home, while wearing this sort of crown-wreath on their heads, with candles on it.  We dressed up one of my little wooden dolls to look the part.  She had a green pipe cleaner head-wreath, with rolled up tissue candles, and a tissue dress.

Since we had talked about how the girls in a family would sing traditional Christmas songs, we were asked if we could sing one of the songs.  We confessed, however, that we didn’t actually know any of the particular ones sung for the holiday.  Someone asked us just to sing an English Christmas carol, instead, and we somehow ended up with “Silent Night”.  So, Kristin and I sang “Silent Night” to the class together.  The irony of singing a German song for a mostly-Scandinavian holiday struck me only in recent years.  😛

Post-a-day 2017