Growing up, we had a pretty strict T.V. policy. T.V. and movies were only allowed on the weekend and only after our homework was completed. As in all things to do with Christmas, magical things happen and it truly becomes the most wonderful time of the year. During the season of chocolate and mistletoe, there were sometimes small exceptions to this rule as we would gather as a family and watch ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas. One of my favorites ~ to this day ~ is Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town… you know the one where the young ginger Kris Kringle saves the day from the evil Burgermeister (It sounds so vicious but it just means mayor.) *Side Note – There is actually a fairly comical youtube video about the differences in words between languages that you should watch – German Language Compared to Other Languages *
While these cartoons are somewhat silly, there are valuable lessons to be learned. Kris Kringle sings a song about putting Putting One Foot In Front of the Other. I’ve tried to apply that to my life and I believe it has served me well. Diving in, whether figuratively or literally, comes easy for me. Even at age three or four, we have videos of me running to a diving board and jumping stomach first into the water. When I perform or give speeches, or meet new people, I have no fear. What is to be gained from a lack of self-confidence? Or, perhaps in better terms, be a go-getter, ask questions…otherwise we limit ourselves to what this short and beautiful life has to offer AND we limit the world to what we can give as well.
After yesterday, I was feeling slightly under prepared in my ability to communicate here. I had prepared what is lovingly referred to as “Hospitality German,” meaning I can speak pleasantries, ask where the bathroom is, talk about the weather, etc. Today, I was determined to change that experience that had left the last taste of bitter licorice in my mouth. Instead, I aimed to replace yesterday with the lovely aromas of schokolade…And I did!
The market is close by and takes maybe 3-4 minutes by foot. I stopped at an ATM outside and took out some cash and I understood every word on the screen. As I went into the grocery store, I just smiled. There were aisle labels everywhere that I understood. I read significantly better than I speak here. I grabbed some fruit and shampoo and conditioner and some chicken. Too be honest, if I never saw another sausage, I would probably be ok. My host family eats sausage at every meal. EVERY meal. They also don’t eat vegetables very often. Their diet consists exclusively of bread, butter, sausage, and nutella. My poor body just cant handle that amount of red meat. So I bought some chicken and veggies as well to supplement the drastic changes in menu here.
The groceries here really were not that expensive. At least the few things that I bought. I greeted the cashier and we exchanged a few words. I had my first real conversation with a native speaker in their language. I realize that it’s a small accomplishment, but it’s something that gives me hope! As she slid my groceries down, I looked down the line and there were no bags and no bagger. I asked for a tote ( In German!)… It cost about a dime, so note to self, always bring your own bag. I kind of had my first, “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore,” moment…Because, this ain’t no Pulix, Y’all. There is no “paper or plastic,” or “mam, may I help you with your cart?” I now know for next time.
In an hour or so, I will begin my first full week of teaching. I believe the sun is just now hitting the east coast. Good Morning America!