Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

Things Change


We already know this as humans that things change.  Everything changes.  Sometimes it’s gradual and occurs so slowly that one day you open your eyes and feel your breath catch at the sight before you.  Other times, it’s so quick that no matter how many times you look at the change, over and over again, you can’t bring yourself to fully understand how much it’s not the same.

Summers are like that.  Each summer has its own flavour and its own unique changes that make it what it will be in your memories.  You sort through each of these archetypes that you have built and ask yourself what each summer is and how they changed from one to another.  Did you adventure on the train to Kansas and Colorado?  Did you go to nerd camp and Kansas City?  Did you leave on a whirlwind trip that took you half of the way across the world and challenge every preconceived notion that you had of another country?  What did you learn in that summer when you stayed home reading 500,000 words of fanfiction and planning a zombie-themed dance?  And what did you learn when you got your first summer job and spent two weeks trying to hide?  Or when you realised that it would be the last summer with her and last cruise and last anything?

This summer is met that flow.  It’s a question of what I’ve learned and what has changed.  Between friends being more or less scattered because of university, to the family dynamic completely changing from Grandma’s death.  From feeling more grounded in Saint Charles due to my job and having broken up with my boy-friend (and here I didn’t even tell you that story, and it has already ended).  There’s a natural progression that is both frightening and welcome because it is the meaning of what it is to live.

Living can be difficult.  Feeling can be difficult.  Waking up in the mornings to a task you don’t want to do can be difficult.  Taking pills, testing your heart, doctors visits.  They can drain you slowly, but they can’t slow down what a summer can do to the body.  How much more alive I, personally, can feel from the rest. I can feel the change, feel my joints go out of socket less and need less sleep.  Slow moving, but there.

It’s strange how I forget about this place.  I forget that I can write here because I’m so busy writing on tumblr.  Granted, it’s not personal writing but fiction, but nonetheless, I’ve become amazed at how much I’ve written in the past few months.  Thousands upon thousands of words with some truly amazing people. And there were some questions upon writing yesterday that reminded me of this.  Reminded me of Germany and the Roessles und die perfekte Welle und der perfekte Tag.  All of it came rushing about again, which brings back all of those memories that, if you’ve read anything here, you know that I still hold dear.  Scarcely a post goes by that I don’t at least briefly mention Germany. 

Things change.  They truly do.  But some things stay fairly static inside of their change.  And maybe that’s Germany.  Maybe that’s what it is to remember and hold on to something so tightly.

Das ist die perfekte Welle
Das ist der perfekte Tag
Lass dich einfach von ihr Tragen
Denk am besten gar nicht nach
Ich bin hier
Ich bin frei

Perfekte Welle, Juli

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There are few days when I don’t look back on my trip to Germany in 2008 with Sister Cities and think, “Where did that time go?”  It was, in all honesty, one of the greatest adventures of my life.  Three weeks in a completely foreign country with a language I barely knew how to speak and so many wonderful people.  New things to try.  New foods to eat.  Everything new and yet so shockingly old.  A seven hundred year-old home that was still being lived in or a thousand year old church.  I’m still completely enchanted by it all, and I probably never won’t be.

I’ll be going on another adventure roughly four and a half months from now when I head to Chicago and then Denver by taking the train and staying in a hostel before making it out to my sister’s wedding.  I’m excited, I really am.  But there’s this little part of me that keeps saying: you are trying to relive Germany, and you will fail.

It’s something that I don’t want to accept, but the more that I think about it, it may be true.  I spend so much time thinking about those good times and how I’d love to live through them again, and sometimes I think I plan my life around that.  Trying to explore and adventure to new places again and again.  But it is not sustainable.  After a while, you have to move into other aspects of your life and leave adventures behind.  I suppose that many people call this growing up or maturing, but I just find it disheartening.  Why give up your dreams of adventures?  Why not try to relive them or make new memories?

But, because I search so desperately for them, I think that they become doomed from the get go to not live up to my expectations.  It’s similar to how I hated Girls State because I had gone to Missouri Scholars Academy the year before and was just comparing it to something so much greater.  Chicago/Denver cannot be another Germany, but I need to accept that it can be its own separate adventure.  It can be something new.  It can be something wonderful.  And I just need to keep an open mind and throw away that idea that you must ‘mature’ to no longer having fun.

If that’s what maturing is, then I will have no part in it.

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A girl sent me a friend request today on Facebook, and I wouldn’t have accepted if it hadn’t been for the fact that we went to Germany together back two years ago.  She had just put up a bunch of photos from Germany, and I looked through the entire album and tagged some pictures.  And, for some reason, I started crying.  I didn’t know what it was.  But, as I went through the first few pictures, I saw the palace, and then I saw the river, and Heidelberg, and towns whose names I can’t even remember any more, and I cried.  I cried so much that I thought my throat was going to close off and that I was never going to be whole again.  I cried because I missed Germany, but the longing I felt was so much stronger.  It was as though a little piece of me was left behind there and that, try as I may, it will never come back.  And, maybe, as I looked through those pictures, I realised just where that piece was.  Or maybe I finally realised that it had been gone in the first place.

Leaving Germany had been terrible.  I couldn’t say goodbye enough to Barbara and her mother.  My host family had been amazing, and a day doesn’t go by when I’m not reminded of my time there.  We hugged goodbye outside of the U-bahn, and I cried.  We walked together into the station, and we hugged and cried some more.  And, as I stepped onto the train with my luggage, I could hardly see Barbara or her mum’s face, because tears were flooding from my eyes so quickly.  They probably couldn’t see me either, because they were crying just as much.

I don’t know how I built that strong of a connection with them in only three weeks.  Sure, Barbara had stayed with me for three weeks before that, but I felt so bonded with them and the country.  Never before have I just felt so terrible for leaving.  My time there was everything I could have imagined and then some; it was unfortunate that the rest of the kids on my trip complained about their host families.  I had been blessed.

I still see the door opened in front of me, though, and I feel my right hand holding onto my suit case.  I feel the tears, hot, rolling down my cheeks and stinging my eyes.  And I can see them.  Oh, I can see them standing two feet below me, five feet away, crying and waving.  I can see their faces so clearly through the tears, even though I know that I couldn’t have.  I see it all.  I relive it all the time.  And it bring back the feeling of cutting off a piece of myself to throw to them.  Here, keep my this part of my heart with you.  I don’t think that I can take it back.

Sometimes, I feel very lost.  I feel lost in this place that I live in.  I feel like it doesn’t quite fit me, or maybe it’s something that’s not quite real.  I worry if I’m alive.  I worry if I’m seeing all the beauty that I can.  I worry that there really isn’t any beauty.

It’s why I go down to the Missouri River as often as I do.  Sometimes, I just need to take a walk by it, throw some pebbles into the ice, sit on a bench and think.  Then I get coffee and read and walk some more.  The agedness off Main Street reminds me of Europe.  Sure, nothing there is six hundred years old like the homes in Rothensburg, but it’s a start.  The quaintness, the feeling.  I love it, and I miss it when I’m away.  Whenever I go back home, I have to go to Picasso’s to get some coffee, read, and then walk around.  And, during this summer, you can bet that I will be spending nearly every day down there that I can.  I’ll dress up quite nicely.  Eclectically.  I’ll read an old book with my coffee.  The tourists will take pictures of me to show to friends, “Oh look, there were people in town.  So quaint.  They act like they don’t have a car in the world.”  I’ll stare at the river beyond what I need to, wonder, meet new people, see new people.

And I’ll probably think too much.  But that’s a problem that I’ve always had.

It’s what makes me start crying when I think about Germany in the first place.

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I’d say that if there was one thing both liberals and conservatives agreed on, it would be that America’s schools are falling behind when compared to the rest of the world.  But, unfortunately, both parties are misinformed about the issue.  They believe that adding more time to school and more standardised tests will fix the problem, but this is almost exactly the problem.  Obama wanting to add more time to the school day only further insults kids that they are inferior to adults by making them work nearly ten hours per day at school then work more on homework after school.  Let me ask you: where the hell do their personal lives fit into this?

Actually, there are two problems with the US’s system: the fact that we no longer teach to learn but teach to test and that American kids just don’t give a shit any more.

There was once a time when you were valued for being knowledgeable.  In fact, you were basically shunned if you didn’t do well in school since you couldn’t be the pride of the family.  Nowadays, the American life-style is a bit different.  And, I don’t want to blame this on the media (because most people who just blame “the media” for problems don’t know a damned thing about the actual subject), but I’m afraid I have to.

How many times have you seen a television show where the main character, whom you’re supposed to agree with, makes fun of the nerdy kid?  How many times has the “dumb jock” been glorified?  How many times has the kid who likes to learn been portrayed as snobbish or ugly?

Let me give you some examples from my childhood on television or films:

1. Lizzy Maguire: Remember how that nerdy boy was shown as a complete freak who ate worms and was made fun of constantly?

2. Hey Arnold: Pheobe (or whatever her name was) was constantly being walked on by Helga, and never did this seem to be a problem.

3. Powerpuff Girls: How many times was the smart one (Blossom) shown as being a cold-hearted bitch for being smart?

4. How many times is the smart kid dressed dorky and made fun of while the main characters just sit there and watch?  They never do anything; they just talk about “O, woah is me; I was once treated like that!” And then they cry to themselves about it.

5. How many films show the cheerleaders as idiots?  Did you know this wasn’t always the case?  Once upon a time, cheerleaders were popular and smart, which is what made them so appealing.  Bet you didn’t know that was the case even less than forty years ago.


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