Uni Application Update

I’ve worked my butt off this week getting my application ready. It is by no means finished but it is more than halfway done.

My German resume looks nice, with the appropriate photo to accompany it. I feel that this is perhaps, hmm ridiculous if not superficial and perhaps at times could be a tad racist. But if they want a photo they’ll get a photo.

What I am most pleased and satisfied with though is my personal statement. I’m writing this and my resume in German to make an overall stronger impression, that I’m not just another English native speaker in Europe that uses English as a crutch to make her life easier.

Honestly I hate writing in German. Maybe it’s just cause I’m not very good at it. Or maybe it’s cause my senior year was spent writing a senior research paper in German, while I was experiencing hefty amounts of reverse culture shock and depression.

Actually I think I hate it more because I literally have to check every single noun, to make sure that the article is correct. I dearly wish I could go back to my 13 year-old-self, learning German for the first time and say, hey, guess what these stupid articles that you are ignoring, are actually the most important thing about this language. Oh well, bought a book specifically for that issue, and it seems to have helped.

However with the course I did and the writings I submitted, I saw my German writing again from a new perspective. Like any foreign speaker it’s sometimes a tiny bit off the mark, which is why it’s good for serious learners of a language to rely on commonly used collocations/double check everything in a dictionary. This is what I learned from my kids. Your language skills may be fine, but if you stop being so lazy and take that extra step, they can be excellent. That’s always the common denominator separating good from excellent: more care and a tiny bit more effort.

Any rate, my letter is kicking butt. It might be the first thing I’ve written at a C2 level in German completely on my own. I’m actually finding the words in my brain, double checking them and being astounded that they are actually the word I was looking for. I spent the WHOLE day on it Wednesday (11am to 2 am) and was pleasantly surprised to have a first draft I was really satisfied with.

This letter really needs to be good too, cause I’ve also got an 2,500 word essay to write and my lack of recent academic study in the field is a bit troubling. Well I can deal with that soon enough. On Tuesday I’ll be in Freiburg and meeting the woman who I hope is as nice in person as she is per email. Perhaps she has a suggestion.

Thank God for a break right now. I think I needed all of Tuesday to confront my fear that I’d write something so crappy, that an application would be useless. Tonight I’m taking the train to see some friends in Basel. I’m super excited it’s my first time in Switzerland. the bf is a bit bummed. Work is crazy and he can’t get the day-off he was supposed to. It’s also a shame cause we’ve been talking about visiting Switzerland together, even discussed moving there one day, but oh well. He hates train rides anyway, and I love them so there’s no one to rain on my parade tonight.

I’ll catch up with friends, learn about the university and then head back to finish a second draft with things I’ve learned from the visit. Then it’s holy week, so I’ve promised the bf’s mom yesterday that I’d help her with cookies and treats and Sat with the cooking. Got to take care of spring cleaning and promised the sister-in-law a coffee together. It’s nice feeling part of a family here. I didn’t think I really wanted it, but I’ve got no complaints.

The bf reminded me yesterday why I love him. I was looking at my Greek stuff (I write 10 sentences everyday to improve my spelling etc.) and I mentioned that my last day was back in March and now I’ll have a whole ton to make-up. But he just said, you’re on vacation. You get these 2 weeks off. You can make-up the rest of March when school starts. Then laughed at me as I was stumped and had to agree with his logic and decided to play with my Greek computer program for a few hours insteadbecause I am nerd like that.

I was looking at all the silly things on my pc from when I was single and I’m so glad I’m not dealing with that nonsense. I also feel so lucky to be with someone who gets me, makes fun of my weird behavior but encourages me. Life is good. And now it’s time to finish packing for my little trip.

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Day-off Potpourri

I have my first wrinkle. Well actually I think it’s a laugh line and you can only really see it when my skin is tired. BUT for goodness sake’s. I thought this would be an issue when I hit the big 3-0. At any rate that is the current joke with the bf, that from now on I’d try to keep my face expressionless. Guess my youth is departing.

Although thinking back, most of my life has been spent laughing and especially these last few years with the kids and in a new relationship with a very funny guy. There are worse things. At least they aren’t frown lines and crow’s-feet!

Which reminds me of a very superficial decision I’ve made recently. So in German there are these things called umlauts (ä ö ü) They are my enemies. The first one is ok. It’s like the sound in bear. The second two suck. You have to round your lips like you’re waiting for a kiss, push them forward and push the air out, (with the second the bottom lips juts out a bit more). Unfortunately, when speaking quickly, this is something I can’t be bothered with. I either say it with a MEGA annoying American accent, or stop everything I’m doing to round my lips and focus on getting out a öööööööö and not a ough, which looks idiotic of course.

If I choose the first one, I have to repeat things a few times, because the person doesn’t usually expect me to be foreign and are typically caught off guard and stop listening. If I choose the second, it comes out right, but meanwhile I’ve stopped, taken a deep breath and look like I’m a few cards short of a deck. Plus from the two years spent observing my seniors, I’ve noticed that they all have major lip wrinkles, and my personal theory is, not that they were all smokers, but umlaut lovers.

Call me vain and superficial but lip wrinkles are disgusting, and I don’t know if it’s a wise use of my time to spend hours correcting my accent, when I’ll just be laying the groundwork for a something I’ll wish wasn’t there later. Plus despite how irritating I find my accent, others think it’s cute. So oh well, my German accent can suck forever, and the other languages I’ll learn to say things correct the first time. Laugh at me all you want. A woman’s first wrinkle, it’s a wake up call.

Anyway it’s my first day off for these two weeks. But this morning I woke up with a start at 7am after having a dream about a particularly trying class that was taking a test and cheating. I was in the middle of confronting them; my pulse was racing and it took a minute to calm myself down. Now that is my favorite way to start a break: having the kids exhaust my patience in my dreams as well as reality.

Not that the kids are all bad. I keep coming up with various new things to get them producing quality work for me. I actually got one class to play mad libs successfully. They were a group of quiet girls that can’t say so much in English yet. So I’ve been joking that I’m like a crazy bum talking to myself. But they got some creativity hidden in them, and they’re not full-blown too-cool-for-school teenies yet, so I was hoping it’d work. I had another class similar to them and we had lots of fun with silly stories.

The first about a sandwich was a moderate success. But then we got out the secret admirer one (for girls), put in the name of one of the girls with things like stinky and smelly and that was it. They were in stitches. I’ve never seen them laugh so hard.

On Saturday it’s the same age level too. (my favorite really) They like to ask me everything in Greek on Saturday and I answer in English. One little girl has a question a minute. I don’t know what’s going on in her brain but I love it. They kept trying to get me off-topic, so asked them why I was even coming and getting money for teaching. I told them I was their joker, and they responded, no you’re not a joker, you’re an entertainer. When they left, my little question-asker needed to hug me goodbye (I never hug the kids), then all the girls had to hug me, then I said to the boys, it’s not fair only the girls get a hug, so they got one too. I told the bf about this later and he was shocked, What is this littlemsami’s cuddle course!

I strive to be a good teacher and that takes a lot out of me during the week. Both to the seniors and to the kids. It’s easy to slack off when you’ve only got yourself to disappointment, but it’s incredibly difficult to inform a group of 12-15 pupils that you’ve forgotten or neglected to do something. I did that enough the first year and got myself out of that habit really quickly.

*edit*

I didn’t manage to publish this yesterday. I was too busy getting my photo taken for my application, waiting at the dr’s office for allergy meds and finishing my CV in German. It’s nice to actually get things done for once!

So I’m gonna end with a quick moan and get back to work.

I just can’t win with my eyes. I wanted to get lasik, they’re too bad. I considered the lens insert surgery, too expensive. I wanted to get hard contacts to save the cost, nearly 200 euros, cause of my bad eyes. And need to be replaced in 6 months to a year according to Frau anal wannabe doctor. So I stuck with soft contacts, because if they break it’s not a money emergency and my eye sight hasn’t worsened in at least 5 years, so wearing them has had no bad effects. They’re expensive too so I thought I’d try to save money by wearing glasses during my planned Uni time.  I don’t expect to have lots of contact money during my studies, so I need another option. I’d really rather use this money towards a surgery, but meanwhile I’ve got to see on a daily basis.

Well my glasses are super heavy. They leave a permanent nose pad mark on my nose, which will probably lead to ugly broken capillaries by the time I’m 40. So I thought fine. I hate glasses but screw contacts for the time being. But I know it’ll be round 200 Euros for a new pair because of my prescription. Clever me, I’ll order a really lightweight pair online and save a bundle!

So yesterday, surfed around found adorable frames that I filtered through based on weight, but when it came time to put in my prescription it didn’t go past -10. (Mine is -10,25 and-10,75) So I’m nearly blind but not THAT far over this arbitrary boundary.

You know what screw you Germany! I went online to a similar website in America and they have until -18 and charge a bit more, but you know what that’s ok. As long as I can save on frames, I’ll pay extra for lighter lenses. I’m tired of being monetarily punished for my bad eyesight. I’ve had this bad eyesight for a while, but I never felt like I was limited in my options or the ability to wear contacts in the US. But here, wherever I go I balk at the price or express shock that there’s nothing else and all I get is a finger shaken in my face and shrugged shoulder with a pech (i.e. serves you right for having bad eyesight, what do you expect?)

Yeah American health insurance may suck, but at least they don’t make me feel guilty for having bad eyesight. And they don’t take everything so seriously that they can’t offer higher prescriptions online. I really thought Germany was great for people with glasses, but over the last year I’ve collected so many piss poor interactions, that I’ve actually made up my mind to buy my eye wear products (except replacement contacts) from the US from now on.

For now though I’ll concentrate on getting my applications finished and sent and figure out where I’ll be studying and moving to, and then I’ll sort of this glasses fiasco.

Sometimes the only way I can sum up my expat-life is to say it seems at times like everyone wants my money. But at least I have the option of spending it in whichever country offers me the best deal, even if I need to buy a plane ticket to take advantage of it!