Here I am again; tired, exhausted, with a sprained ankle, but happy. So so happy. But let me start at the beginning. Last week was intense. Actually, let me give you a small update on me being a teacher at ISU. In my class, we approached already our third case in German grammar (the German language is based on a case system: the nominative, genitive, dative and accusative case) and those of you who have learned German probably know that learning the cases is one of the most difficult aspects of German language. I mean, while English has only one definitive article ‘the’, German has twelve different articles…
Nonetheless, I try to make my German lessons as agreeable as possible, never forgetting to add a fun part. Often, I put on some German music, and my students like it! Also, they became really interested in German culture and they constantly ask me questions about my country. Is there really no speed limit on the Autobahn? How does the real Oktoberfest look like? Are our cars different and what do we have to do to obtain a driver’s license? Etc, etc… I love this cultural aspect next to teaching the language, because for a lot of students it opens their eyes to what is there on the globe next to America.
Interested in some of my observations about this country? Here are a few aspects that intrigue, annoy or surprise me:
1. Mobile phones. Everywhere. Always. No matter if walking or sitting, being alone or in a group, being in a formal or informal place. The usage of mobile phones is incredible and really annoys me. People are running around with their heads down, constantly scrolling, liking, snaping. I often have the impression that I am the only one taking part in the real world, while the rest of the people around me is caught in some kind of virtual cage.
2. Sweat pants. And house shoes. That is the average university attire. Students really come to class in their sweatpants, sometimes even their pyjamas. Wearing house shoes or a different kind of slippers. No exaggeration. Often, it looks like they come straight out of bed, and will return to it immediately once they are out of campus.
3. Yawning. Ostentatiously. Right in the face of the professor. That is something that still annoys me. University seems to be a pretty laid back place here in the States, but for me this is rather irritating. In Germany we try to trifle a yawn in class so that the professor won’t take it as sign of disrespect. Here? No. Open your mouth as much as you can. As often as you can. And show that you’re tired. That seems to be the maxim.
4. It is not common to leave the country and travel. At least I very often meet students who never left the United States. I cannot blame them, their country is huge, so traveling around the States is already giving you plenty possibilities to learn different cultures, experience new customs, and see divers landscapes. Still, it is something that was first strange to me, as I am used to hopping between European countries, which are so small and so close to each other, compared to the USA and the continent it lies on.
The highlight of the week, however, was my weekend, as I said ‘Hello, Europe’ again. Yes, and this time it was even tougher than the last time, because I spent only a day and a half at my final destination. So, I went back to Germany for another awesome polish wedding. This time it was not a surprise (see post ‘The Heart Does What It Wants’) as I planned this nano-trip already a few months ago. Seeing a close friend getting married, and celebrating that wonderful moment with our group of friends was an incredible experience. The long travel, discomfort, unfriendly service at United Airlines, troubles at the airport, and so much more were definitely worth every second of it. A wonderful husband, an amazing bride, and lots of love in the air filled me up with joy and pleasure. I wish them all the best. <3
That’s it for today. I should write shorter posts and focus more on studying…exams are approaching. Wish me luck! I wish you a delightful week to come, make something out of it! Take care and smile, K.
Btw, for those of you who are interested: there is no need anymore to put in your email when commenting on this blog. Maybe you have experienced similar or completely different things while being in the U.S. or in other parts of the world. Feel free to comment, ask questions or share ideas. Be a part of it! <3