“My English is today me failing. What would vorstellen mean if I said it in English?”
As to be expected, my German speaking abilities have improved since March. As a side effect of this, German words sometimes come to my mind faster than the English ones. For example, I was writing an email to my sister, and I wanted use the word predict. The trouble was; I couldn’t remember that word. All that I could think of was vorstellen, (which actually translates closer to imagine than to predict), and it would have been the perfect word to use if I were writing auf Deutsch. Aber egal. (But it doesn’t really matter). Eventually I figured out what I wanted to say.
One of the fun parts of interacting with the other JYMers is that we all understand each other’s Denglisch. Whether that comes in the form of using German words in place of English ones or using German grammar while we’re talking in English (zum Beispiel: accidentally saying “in the near of” instead of “nearby” because “in the near of” is a literal translation of the German phrase in der Nähe von), the dual language flows naturally. And sometimes the phrase just sounds better auf Deutsch. That’s when you know you can speak German, right?
As I mentioned last week, hearing a different language helps me appreciate how much German I actually do know. This weekend, I had the opportunity to travel on a class trip to Prague, where they speak Czech. However, German used to be a common language in the Czech Republic, so some of the older generation can still speak it. Several German-speaking authors and artists also came out of Prague. For example, Franz Kafka (author of The Metamorphosis) lived in Prague, and we visited a museum dedicated to him. His original works and letters are written in German, and I enjoyed being able to read them. Or parts of them rather—his handwriting was slightly difficult to decipher.
Of course, the best part of Prague was the food. I had the best Gulasch I have ever had, and the breakfast at our hostel was quite delicious. THEY SERVED NOODLES. I repeat, for breakfast. I was able to prove to my family that I’m not crazy for eating leftover spaghetti noodles with cheese for breakfast while I was growing up. They did also offer yogurt, granola, toast, sausage and cheese, but obviously, the noodles and veggies were the highlights.
Or maybe it was the inside jokes and memories created. Seeing the largest palace in Europe. Or perhaps the scavenger hunt around the city using a map instead of GPS technology. Or taking crazy pictures or learning our way around the Prague city center because we walked through it many, many times. Not that I minded. It was beautiful.
And it made for some good yearbook pictures.
Aside from class, I have spent most of free time this week working on the yearbook with my fellow Jahrbuch team members. Designing the yearbook has its advantages: free food courtesy of JYM, the chance to do something fun and still feel productive and accomplished, and a place to escape the heat. The temperature is climbing in Munich again, and my non air-conditioned room gets pretty hot with the direct sunlight streaming in.
So yes, I am looking forward to having A/C again (for a few weeks at least) in about two weeks. I’m excited to see my family and friends back home, and I’m looking forward to all of the adventures ahead. I had hoped that my time in Germany would bring more clarity about the future, and maybe it has in some ways, but in others it’s brought more options, question marks, and complexities.
But although many things are uncertain, I also feel peace. Being in Munich has given me a chance to unwind, relax, reflect, and remember that God is in control. And while I am sad that this chapter is coming to a close, it doesn’t mean that the next can’t be just as great.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”–Steve Jobs