The past in the present

I recently came across this bit of journal-esque writing I did several years ago, and, since I found myself reading almost addictively, and I happened also to find it a bit hilarious to see how young I came across – which makes me wonder if I actually sound much older now, six years later – I figured it would be fun to share here, to see now how I wrote in the past… the past at present, so to speak. 😛

Therefore, happy reading. 🙂

……….

Mon 4 March, 2013

Today I am sitting on the couch. That is not to say or to suggest that this, sitting on the couch, is such an out of the ordinary activity – though it has been the case that for the previous seven months leading up to this week have left me without a couch on which I even could set myself. It is simply to state that today, I am sitting on the couch. I am not really doingmuch of anything else. Unless of course you would like to believe that breathing, watching a film, listening to music, eating food, digesting, drinking drink, and the occasional conversing with one’s stepfather are considered “doing something”. In that case, I’m doing quite a lot today, and am being very productive. However, in my head at least, that is not the case, and I am not up to much today. I am simply sitting on the sofa (Oh, look: I’ve used the word “sofa” this time. Such creativity is at work in me today!). I think it’s because I’m avoiding doing anything else. Perhaps I would feel guilty if I put my efforts to something else other than that which my mother wishes for me to do…. or, for that matter, other than what my father and stepfather wish me to do. That is organize out things in the house and get a job that pays well. They would likely say that they just want me to get a job, almost any job. Just a job that pays is their goal. However, if I were to get a job that pays, but the job is not very fancy and does not pay very much, they would very much be dissatisfied. For example, if I began work with the trash pick-up in the neighborhood, they would not be so proud as to say they were glad for the job. They would see it as an as-short-as-possible-term job for me, waiting for me to get ‘a real job’. What if I profess myself as a long-term devotee to trash pick-up, and that I see it as the first step in making a change in the world? That I must absolutely do this job so that I can understand people better in order to change their way of thinking. That by starting at the base, by discovering what they see to be trash, I can then begin to alter what they see as valuable. What if I do that? Well, I don’t know, but it ultimately does not matter, because I know that is not what I am going to do. Although there might be some value to that idea. I seem to be good at that: pulling some jargon out of nowhere in attempt to prove some point that I don’t fully believe, and then find myself with a quite amazingly powerful argument. I guess it’s one of the talents God has given me. I think it came out of my mental expansion, or whatever one would like to call it. I’ve spent a good deal of time – though time is completely relative, and I have only been physically around in this body for a short time in comparison to the world and, of course, to other people who have been around for “ages,” as women in their forties and fifties and sometimes even thirties an dupper twenties like to say. As I was saying, I’ve spent a good deal of time studying people, and a bit their cultures. I even did it semi-officially for a while in high school and college. More in college than in high school, though I think that fact is somewhat irrelevant. Anywho – that’s a word I’ve come to enjoy in my lifetime, though I’m not actually sure it’s technically a word. But what do technicalities matter anyway when we’re dealing with full self-expression? Anywho, I’ve studied people throughout my life by simple observation and conversation. And interaction, of course. I have spent my whole life sitting on the sidelines, just watching people pass by, taking notes in my little notebook full of comments of opinion about the world around me, completely missing my own participation in it. No, no. I have been quite the participant in life. I just have paid attention while doing so.

My clock on this computer shows that it is currently 20.29. It is somewhere that proclaimed time (speaking of proclaimed time, my computer will tell me in just a moment that it is 20.30). However, that is not technically the time here (oh, look: a technicality). The time here is actually, well now, 13.30. I mentioned that I hadn’t had the availability of a sofa for the previous seven months. That is true. I was living in Wien in a shared room, with two closets, two beds, two desks, two night stands, and a set of shelves comprising the furnishings, and a slightly musky odor filling the air-tight room when my co-habiter was around. Now, the point of sharing this just now is unknown to me. However, I will use the opportunity to make a connection to my studies of people. I was in Wien to learn German. So I said and thought, anyway. I learned much about the peoples living there, as well as much about myself. I also very much developed myself, and was, for the first time in my life, able to proclaim honestly and whole-heartedly that I was exactly the person I wanted to be. Rather, that I was being the person I wanted to be. I still am that person. And that’s great, actually. The trouble comes in, however, at the point where I’m not entirely sure what to do with that person, now. So I’ve done my cultural study in Wien, I’ve learned a good deal of German, I’ve met and visited the family of mine who lives in Germany (and has for hundreds of years), and I have returned to Houston, Texas, where I technically lived before embarking on this last European adventure. I did want to avoid returning, and even began to set up things so that I could succeed in avoiding the return. At least for a while. But the fact that I am here right now shows that I did not do that. I said to myself that to avoid something means to leave something incomplete in your life. After I said that, I realized that I needed to return to Houston. I didn’t actually need to see or talk to any specific people in Houston. I just needed to return to Houston. Because by not returning to Houston, by avoiding the return, I was avoiding what came with the return. And that’s the next step of my life. I’ve always had something sturdy on which I could rely for my immediate and somewhat near future. Until now. And by not returning to Houston, I could avoid dealing with that, with my lack of suredness, with my fear. I would be hiding a fear inside of me. And hiding things really just doesn’t work. No matter how much we try to do it, we cannot succeed in keeping something hidden. Not completely. We ultimately reveal all that is hidden within us, wheter verbally or not. I think it is part of our nature as humans. We’re just plain blabber mouths with everything. If our mouths don’t give it away, our emotions and reactions most certainly do.

A friend once sent me something that said “Only trust people who like big butts. They can not lie.” It still makes me smile, although that friend seems to be in a dissapeared mode right now. He’ll come around. Hopefully it will be before he dies. That would be quite a disappointment for me, and even for others, as he has a lot of potential to make an amazingly large difference for a great number of people in this world, as well as for the natural side of this world. His impact will likely still be large if he doesn’t alter his current way of being, though it will be quite limited and likely very disappointing in comparison to the one he could make with a simple reappearing act. We’ll see. Well, someone will see, at least. I don’t know that you and I will see the future of his situation, or even that I will see it.

So, I said I was not doing much today. I changed my mind. After watching that movie, I was inspired. I still am inspired, and by that film. I changed my footwear and went outside to play some volleyball and to pursue my desire to learn to skateboard. I think we can pursue all of our desired activities, though there is only one time in our lives where we will actually succeed with them. I tried playing guitar several times as I was younger, but never went past a few chords in the best attempt to become a guitar player. In the last year, I have actually taken my own steps, extra steps, to learn to play the guitar. I don’t play much, but I learn to play songs that I like, and I oftentimes become a great deal of ease and release when I play, rather than the struggle that comes to a beginner of a foreign task, as it once was for me. After years of attempts at guitar-playing and even more occasions of stopping the attempt, I finally can play guitar. I’m not amazing like different performers or people who play ‘just for fun’, but I can play and I enjoy playing, and that’s always been the point of my learning to play guitar. The point of this: I’ve finally fulfilled this desire that I’ve attempted several times in my life to fulfill. And the point of that point: We won’t reach certain things until the time is right. The time was finally right for me to learn to play guitar, so it actually worked for me this time – my head was in the right place at long last. This skateboarding thing is similar. I’ve wanted to skateboard as far back as I remember my brothers starting to skateboard. Every attempt has left me unsuccessful, still scared, and oftentimes hurt. I’ve thought for months on this, though, and I think my hesitation, cause by my fear, has been a major factor in my getting hurt. Today, I was not only putting myself out there confidently on the skateboard, but I was almost not even present to a fear. Once I let go of my hesitation, and look at the logistics of the activity (that it required that one just keep balance and GO), it becomes something completely different. It becomes somethign do-able. Yes, it takes practice. But I am capable of it. I find that really cool. Uh-oh. That last sentence might be giving away my age (as though my writing in general in no way does that already). Okay, as I sit here typing, taking the occasional sip from this bottle of Organic Raw Kombucha juice, … I don’t actually have an end to that sentence. I just wanted to say what I was drinking, I think. My aunt is actually making her own Kombucha juice right now. My cousin, her son, apparently taught her how to do it. I believe it takes several days, if not weeks, to make the juice. It wouldn’t surprise me if that were the case. It tastes like it’s been sitting somewhere for weeks before it was bottled and kept in a cooler. It always does, Kombucha juice.

Let’s go back to the part about my age. I was reading a book recently where it was mentioned that adults, grown up people, are nearly obsessed with numbers. Numbers like how old one is or how long one has done something or how far away one is from something or what time one will arrive or how much something costs and the likes. That wasn’t exactly what the book said. It’s what I’ve specifically noticed as being significant to adults since my reading that. I’ve also noticed how I tend to do that. I’ve been working on stopping that. It’s been gonig quite successfully, actually. I do it less and less, and I notice almost every time when I am considering asking a number question, and I opt often not to ask it, as I see the lack of any importance in hearing the answer to the question, thus losing my point of asking the question. But to apphease the adult in me as well as the adult in you, I shall give you at least a few numbers. Seven, twenty-two, three and a half, a few thousand, and eleven hundred.

Okay, elaboration. I’ve just returned from seven months abroad, becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be. Just a few days ago, I became officially twenty-two years old. I completed college in three and a half years. I currently have a few thousand dollars of school loans to repay (I think). And I expect that finding a job that gives me at least eleven hundred dollars a month will be enough for me to live sucessfully on my own for a while until I find something else to do with myself. Oh, and my name means “Grace” in its language of origin. To me it just means “me”, though that’s sometimes scary, as in the times when someone says it with annoyance or frustration, suggesting I’ve done something upsetting and now have to work hard to make things good again. I think to most people, it’s just a name, though. Hannah is it. Hannah banana to certain individuals. I enjoy when people call me Hannah banana. Probably because it shows a specific enhanced degree of love when they say it, when they decide or choose to use it.

Well, I’m going to go back outdoors. I’ve had a good break here writing. Now I’m to continue my goals of improving my volleyball (re-enhancing it, actually, after several years of not playing almost at all) and skateboarding performances. I’ll write again, and likely soon. I guess my sitting on the couch today has altered. Perhaps it’s like addiction problems and other problems. Admitting that one has a problem is the first step to solving the problem. My problem was sitting the day long on the couch. I feel it to be utterly too underproductive for my capabilities. So, once I admitted that fully, I was able to rid myself of the problem. Cool.

13 März 2013

Heute haben wir einen neuen Papst. Francisco. Er ist ein Jesuiten. Sehr cool.

—–

I’ve decided I want to write a book. Not a book like everyone else. But a book in present tense. Yes, in present tense the whole way through. I tell a story with the book, but it hasn’t actually happened until the reader reads it. So to speak. 🙂 Well, that’s my idea, anyway.

………..

P.S. The programming is likely to destroy my double spaces after periods, so, please, kindly ignore that change, and assume the appropriate spacing after each period… yes, I’ve shared all about my opinion on the spacing here… ugh!

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.

Opera Snobs

We went to an opera showcase tonight, and, as we commented on the style of box seats in the hall (or was it when I was listening to the host say something about Mozart?), I recalled the night I first saw “Die Zauberflöte” (“The Magic Flute”).

You see, it was a regular night in my life in Vienna, and I thought it would be nice to go see a show – that was kind of an incredibly easy thing to do while living there.  I arrived to the theatre and purchased my ticket for the show using the fabulous discount that Austria offers to young adults and students, and headed toward the coat check.  At this point, I recognized a friend of mine ahead of me, and called out his name.  Apparently, we had both spontaneously decided to come to the show that night, and, with my having bought my ticket directly after he’d bought his, our seats were together.  It was my first – and possibly only, actually – time in a box seat.  The show was truly spectacular, and it was wonderful having someone to share the experience with me.  When I later relayed the tale to my mom, we were utterly tickled by how crazy the whole thing was, especially with how snobby it could come across.  ‘Oh, yes.  I had spontaneously decided to attend an opera one night, ran into a friend upon arrival, and we enjoyed the wonderful show together from our box seats.’  😛

Post-a-day 2018

Longest and Shortest Years

Okay, please exclude February 29th from existence for this reading and any further conversation on the topic.  Kay, thanks.  😉

……………………………………………

Thus ends the longest year of my life.  It began in Tokyo, Japan and ended in Houston, Texas, thereby making it 13 hours longer than any regular year in my life.  Last year, 2016, was the shortest year of my life by 13 hours, because it was reversed: It began in Houston, Texas and ended in Tokyo, Japan.

Before this year, my shortest year had been 2012, beginning in Houston and ending in Vienna, Austria, making it 7 hours shorter than usual, and making 2013, which ended in Houston, 7 hours longer than usual.  Those years are now in second place for the shortest and longest years of my life.

Fun, huh?  😛

When I was little, I made several lists of things I wanted to do in my life.  I remember writing into one at some point that I wanted to live the longest and shortest year possible one day.  That means spending one December 31-January 1 in the first time zone, the following in the last time zone, and then the third in the first time zone again.  I now actually have friends in both locations, so it is totally possible.  Let’s see if I can pull it off, shall we?

…………………………………………..

Just to drive me nuts, these had to clash with leap years, instead of working with them.  I’ll get there some day, I imagine.  I’ve gotten so close without even putting forth a conscious effort already.  I can only imagine what I’ll pull off in the future.  And I know it will begin with the January first of a leap year, whenever it happens.  🙂

Post-a-day 2017

My well-worn boots

Tomorrow, I am to wear boots.  They are cowboy boots.  I got them in Vienna, while I lived there a few years ago.  For my best friend’s wedding, the bridal party all wore cowboy boots.  The night before the wedding, we had a fire outside in the cool, January first air.  I had my foot resting on the edge of the ring around the fire pit, not realizing that it was a metal pit (as opposed to a ring around a dirt pit), and the edge was connected to the part holding the fire.  I felt a stickiness when I adjusted my footing, and checked my boot to see what its cause was.  No, it was not tree sap, but rather the melting of the sole of my boot.

To this day, I recall the incident every time I think of the boots, and I smile goofily (or so it feels to me, anyway) when I see the deep line going across the forward sole of my one boot.  I am also grateful that I noticed it when I had, and that the sole still remains entirely functional, despite the sort of gash – I could have burned my foot if it’d gone through the sole much farther!

Just an interesting story about my boots, I suppose.  🙂  Oh, and they’re from a store called something like “New York”.

 

Post-a-day 2017

Boys’ Choirs

This afternoon, as part of an Oktoberfest celebration, my mom and I listened to and watched the Houston Saengerbund.  They are an organization all about promoting German language singing and culture, and they seem quite kind and fun as a whole.  However, hearing their name instantly called to mind the name of Wiener Sängerknaben, which is the German name for the Vienna Boys’ Choir.

One of my brothers was in a boys’ choir when I was little.  I remember going to their performances and concerts.  I loved it.  The music was always absolutely beautiful.  I suppose it was one of the many reasons I have always looked up to him, thought him awesome.  I think it was because of this that I was perhaps a bit more aware of boys’ choirs than the average kid.  I grew up knowing about the Vienna Boys’ Choir, and dreaming of how amazing they must be.  They were seen almost as gods, when compared to my brother’s boys’ choir, but how could I even imagine such a thing, when, to me, this boys’ choir, the one with my brother, was already singing music of the gods?  I  imagined the Vienna Boys’ Choir as perfection, and left it at that.

I never even considered hearing them perform.  It was that far out of the realm of possibility.

But, of course, since my life is so dearly blessed, this unacknowledged dream was fulfilled.  While I was living in Vienna, my mom and I went together to hear them sing.  It was the only time I have paid to attend Mass.  

When we did some research about it, it seemed all too easy.  I could hardly believe that we merely had to buy incredibly affordable tickets to attend Mass at the Wiener Hofburgkapelle (Wowzer, that place is gorgeous, by the way!) in order to hear the boys sing.  But we did it, and it was absolutely amazing.  I think I could’ve cried during the Mass at almost any given moment, and I might have actually cried when the boys came down in front to sing a couple other songs after the Mass.  I don’t actually remember.  That wasn’t exactly my focus at the time. 

There’s no way to describe the experience appropriately, so I won’t bother.  It was a dream that I had hardly even dreamed, and it was being fulfilled.  Perhaps you know what that’s like.  It was magic being real in two ways: First, in their music, and second, in my being there to hear it firsthand.  It was perfection (in the cold, since it was the middle of winter).

Post-a-day 2017

Twilight in Vienna

When I was living in Vienna, there was one night where I was walking down the street, heading home (likely from school), and I noticed a girl walking near me.  I originally tagged her for an Austrian, but quickly altered the idea, when I noticed her looking around, as if somewhat lost.  Now, I don’t recall if I offered her help, or if she asked me (though I think she asked me, and I had just been wondering whether to offer her help), but it came out that she was looking for a specific spot that was supposedly somewhere nearby, but that she couldn’t seem to find.

I had no idea what place she meant, of course, because I only lived in the neighborhood newly, and smartphones weren’t quite standard in life yet, so, even though we both had local numbers and phones, they did us no service on finding this place.  We looked at my paper map, yet couldn’t find her place on it, and so that didn’t help us either.  So, I told her that I only just lived near the end of this street on which we were standing, so she could come over, and we could just look up the place online at my apartment.

Naturally, she was rather surprised, but rather easily acquiesced – our attitudes and general vibes got on well enough (otherwise, I wouldn’t have offered).  So we chatted as we walked, and hung out briefly in my room as she did her research and found her place, and became Facebook friends before she headed off on her way again.

A few months later, the Part 2 of the final Twilight Saga films was released in Austria.  I discovered this fact somewhat suddenly one night, and quickly looked up the film’s showing times for that night.  Now, I am in no way all lovey-dovey with these films.  I kind of find them a bit terrible, actually, but I thoroughly enjoyed the storytelling aspect of the books, as well as the excitement and goofiness and creativity within the story.  And so, I tolerated the movies for the fun of seeing a visual interpretation of these stories.  But, upon moving to Vienna, I discovered a new value to the films.  Our lending library at my campus had a copy of Twilight, the first film.  English and German language tracks and subtitles were available on it, and I took full advantage of them all, once I discovered how useful the language used in the movie was to my daily life – they’re young adults hanging around with friends and family, and so was I!  So, after seeing the film a million times with German dubbing, Inhad developed a certain fondness for it, a certain bond with it.

Therefore, I jumped at the opportunity at closing out the series with a German version on the film, and on the big screen, of course, as I had done for free with our movie nights at my college in the US for he other films in the series.  It was just a perfect ending!  So, I found the movie playing nearby in just about 30 minutes.  I wanted company, though.  I somehow had this friend come to mind, and shot her a message.  She, too, took to the idea, and we both rushed out the door to meet our front of this theatre in 20 minutes’ time.

I worried that I wouldn’t recognize her, but we found each other quite easily at the theatre.  We were delighted and excited about our film all the way through, and even had our own jokes about it afterward, as we headed to her place for some tea and hanging out.  I’ll always remember when she stopped as she turned to me with an earnest expression of concern on her face, and said to me, “Hannah, ich will dir etwas zeigen,” and, after a pause, we both burst out laughing.  We were just too good at re-enacting that final scene of the film, I mean it. 😛  I later told my roommate about the film, and she taught me the phrase unfreiwillig lustig, which means “unintentionally funny”.

This is a favored memory of mine. 🙂
Post-a-day 2017