I'm sorry I'm so reclusive and not reading anyone's journals any longer. I really do want to know what's going on in your lives and I need to figure out a way to get back into livejournaling and blogging, etc. Let mw know if anyone has any suggestions. And no hard feelings, ok?
P.S.: Happy Valentine's Day.
(This is also my seven-year anniversary of being a licensed driver. Neat, eh?)
it’s been so long since I’ve written anything here.I do have excuses, but you probably don’t
care about them.In any case, I should
probably tell you about what’s happened in the mean time.Unfortunately, I think in order to get this
story started, it’s most appropriate to unleash an old cliché:
rains, it pours.”
So...I spent about a month and half
looking for apartments and applying to jobs with absolutely no luck at
all.On a Sunday in late October I saw a
few places and really liked one.I
called the guy later that day asking if he’d be interested in offering the room
to me and, to my surprise, he said he would.I saw two other places that day and on Tuesday and Wednesday, the
tenants of the other apartments each asked me if I’d be interested in moving in
with them.Weird, isn’t it?The only apartments I was offered after
months of looking were the ones I saw all on the same day.In any case, I’ve moved in, I love having my
own room again (well, actually two rooms). My rooms are cool; I have maps of Germany,
Denmark and Iceland
hanging on the walls, I have digital cable with a station called “German TV”
and I have a wireless internet connection.
after the whole apartment-thing worked itself out, I started to hear back from
a few job applications.I had a first
and second interview for a position as a bookkeeper/administrator.I ended up not getting the job, but a.) it
turned out to be a good thing, and b.) I couldn’t imagine being let down in a
better way.The guy told me he felt like
I could use him as a reference if I ever needed to.Also, about a week later, he tried to find me
a job with one of his clients!In any
case, I ended up getting a job I never even applied to.Believe it or not, I got my job by posting my
résumé on craigslist.org.I’m now
working as a proofreader for a translation firm.Basically, my main job is to compare a source
and a target text (for example, an English text and its translated French/German/Spanish/Polish/Hungarian/Chinese,
etc. counterpart.)I look for things
like missing text, missing periods, numbers that are wrong, margins that are
off, font size or style errors, etc.It
sounds a lot more boring than it actually is.When the text is interesting, it can be pretty entertaining.I also do some language editing
(French/German/Swedish/Danish into English or English into German or Swedish)
and I’ve done some minor translation (so far, German/Swedish/Norwegian into
English.)I get to use my language
skills, I’m actually doing something that my degree has qualified me for, and
I’m making a decent salary.So yeah:
things are a lot better since I last updated my journal.The downside to my job, however, is that it’s
a lot of work.You basically work until
you’re done doing work.This means that
I usually get off sometime between
and , and I’ve stayed as late as .I don’t get any overtime either –so yeah, I basically haven’t been able
to find any personal time to write e-mails or read online journals or anything
like that in a while.Things are
starting to slow down a bit though.
things that have happened in the past month or so: I grew a beard for my
awesome Halloween costume.I then shaved
off the moustache to really emulate the look of a swarthy sailor (complete with
turtleneck and pipe!)Kim visited me and
we had a royal blast.Among other
things, we went to the Amazing Maize Maze, where we raced through the race a
little too fast, and then turned back to get all the clues and such…which I
don’t think we ended up accomplishing.We also won books from this guy who totally ruled.He was the author and wrote a book on the
history of labyrinths and mazes.It was
totally odd.They raffled off two copies
of his book, and Kim and I were the two winners.(Ironically, we were also the last two people
to arrive, AND the box of raffle tickets blew over during his speech and many
of the tickets fell out and blew around.Coincidence???)
In other news: The Amazing Race 6
has begun.So far they’ve hit Iceland
and Norway and Sweden.I’m not sure whether to be totally stoked
that the Amazing Race is hitting all of my favorite countries, or to be upset
that I’m not on it this season.
I probably should be writing about
a lot more…saying more about my job or my roommate or my neighborhood or the
freaking election –but Wetten Dass...?
is on German TV right now, and it’s just a tad too weird to be missing.
Props to an expat. So...I doubt many people were looking forward to the guy who runs http://electoral-vote.com/ to out himself more than I was. I know, that sounds odd. But the thing is: I knew he was an expat. He just updated too early in the day not to be one. And, from reading his site daily, I got the impression that he was really intelligent. Well, I was right again. On his "Outing Page", he wrote something that just really hit home for me as a former expat. I don't think most Americans think about how their government's foreign policy affects people (foreigners and Americans alike) because it generally doesn't have an impact on their day-to-day lives (despite the fact that it does have a less visible impact). I just hope the thousands of people who visit his site daily read it and understand -tell their neighbor and hear first hand from the Americans they know and love who live abroad. Expats are 7 million strong and we DO matter, we ARE affected by American policy, and we end up acting as America's embassadors in one form or another. Please help to make our job easier. And read this below.
Recently, in a journal entry my
sister wrote for her website, she linked to my live journal instead of my
website.I guess her reasoning is
that I update my live journal more often than I update my website.In fact, it’s been about two and a half months since I’ve updated my
website –which is probably a record since it’s been up.There are various reasons why I haven’t updated it...at first I was
having too much fun with my girlfriend and didn’t want to take any time away
from that.I was actually living my
life –just about none of it online.But
I think the bigger reason why I haven’t updated is because I don’t like
showing the down-side of myself to a larger and often anonymous audience.If you read entries from a year or a year and a half ago, they tended to
be kind of funny or at least lighthearted.In
all honesty, I’ve been pretty down since I moved back to the States and my
natural reaction is to either internalize it, or when it gets really bad, only
share it with people I know and won’t think of me as a “whiner” if I talk
about things like missing my girlfriend, not finding a job or losing an
apartment at the very last second.I
don’t know.I consider myself
friendly, smiley, fun-loving and all, so I don’t want the outside world to
consider me whiney and depressive.
But things are hard here in New York.I knew the real world would be a
bitch, but I just didn’t think it’d be this bad.I can’t count how many jobs I’ve applied to (probably close to
fifty), but the zero responses don’t really pose any mathematical problems.I spent 6 hours at a brokerage last Thursday, another five working things
out on Friday; we got money orders ready and we were about to get the keys to a
HUGE apartment when an unbelievably irresponsible 27 year-old asshole/first-year
undergraduate photography student known as Todd Archibald from Portland, Oregon
decided to screw me and a third roommate over because he found out he could get
a much more expensive dorm room come January. This
story is much longer and more ridiculous than I’m making it out to be, but the
entire situation has made me so angry and hateful that I loathe going into the
details.But the fact is: I’ve
been here three weeks and I haven’t accomplished anything yet.I’m still sleeping on my sister’s floor, I’m running out of money,
and I don’t really have any desire to keep this up.I just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.No matter what I do this year, it doesn’t bring me any closer to what I
want to do career-wise, nor does it bring me any closer to Antje.It’s hard to see a reason to keep doing what I’m doing, yet there
really isn’t any other option but to plough ahead.The thing is: I just don’t want to.
Everything is just really getting
me down.There’s so much I really
need to do that I’m not doing.I
wanted to write thank-you notes to people who came to my going-away party, and
I’m scared now that it’s too late.I
never finished the website for the
excursion course...although I have all I need –I just need to put it
need to write some e-mails –specifically to Kevin Brochet, among others.(Actually Kevin, -if you have one- send me your phone number with
country code and I’ll call you.)I
guess it’s just that I can’t get past not having a home or a job and thus,
I’m not letting myself live my life.I
guess I’m in some sort of vicious cycle revolving around not having any
I wish someone had really made it
clear to me that a.) the real world not only sucks, but it really truly sucks (read:
no upside AT ALL), and b.) no matter how well you managed in school, how good of
a worker you are/could be, or how talented and skilled you are; none of that
matters in the real world: you are a nobody –fit only to walk dogs or clean
I hate to say this, but I wasn’t
cut out for this.Now don’t
misunderstand me: I’m not saying at all that I shouldn’t have to go through
this or that I’m “too good” to walk dogs, all I’m saying is that there
is no ounce in my being that was made for fighting for a job that won’t help
me at all in my career goals.I know
I need money and everything, but everything’s such a major struggle here, and
I can’t live happily while living in a pointless struggle.I just want to hibernate for a while.
The Debate. What a freaking bloodbath! All I can say is: 1. That was the best two hours of television I've seen since the Amazing Race finale. 2. I'm utterly excited about this campaign now. Democrats really have something to celebrate and we have a leader we can really stand behind, and who really stands behind us. 3. If Kerry could do this well on the debate on foreign policy this well, imagine how well it's going to go on the 13th when the issue is domestic policy. 4. And finally, if the goal of the candidates was to get the undecided vote, Kerry nailed it. Bush's main argument was that Kerry was a "flip-flopper", but all we saw was a stead-fast and unwavering senator with a message and body-language to match. Anyone who's undecided and open-minded saw an elloquent and hard-hitting candidate tear the president down. This is huge for the democrats.
In the coming days, we have to talk to everyone we know, go to school with, and work with and through conversation, really go on about how well Kerry came across and how foolish and incompetent Bush appeared. The media will help, and in the coming days, the polls will change to reflect more accurately the performance of these men tonight, the failure of the Bush presidency, and the promise of the Kerry presidency.
The few, the proud, the hipsters. I really don’t get it. Someone needs to clue me in, because apparently, there’s something everyone else knows that I don’t: why would you sacrifice so much to live in New York City?
I had a conversation with my sister’s roommate, Steve, last night about going to grad school. I mean, I wouldn’t stop at anything less than a master’s degree and I hope I end up getting a doctorate. So, we were talking about finding work and I mentioned to him that I really only want to work one year (this year) and return to grad school the following year. I would prefer to be in grad school now, but thanks to application deadlines and such, that’s just not a possibility. Anyway, Steve wants to go to grad school too, but not in New York. I, on the other hand, would like to live in the same city for the next three years –I’m tired of moving around all the time. I want a place to stay –a room where I can really make my home and hang up all the posters and postcards I’ve ever had and just be happy –I don’t want to tear that stuff down after 12 months. I told him I wouldn’t go to any school to get my masters that didn’t give me funding. That’s when Steve went nuts on me.
He thinks that it’s obnoxious and arrogant of me to expect to be funded, especially in New York City. He said ~ ‘here, you’re up against kids that went to Harvard, and you went to Pitt, and you just expect to be funded by any school you apply to?!’ Well, yeah, I do. And he should expect to be funded too.
Let me explain: I went to the University of Pittsburgh –obviously not an Ivy League, or even a private school, but it’s not a bad school by any means. I got a double major and a minor in four years, I have a near-perfect GPA (my lowest grade was an A-), and I garnered a teaching position and an unpaid TA position as an undergrad. I’ve studied twice in Germany, and despite my disappointment in my own German skills (they're simply not perfect) anyone outside of my skull would label them as pretty damn good. German programs are generally funded anyway –I remember as an undergrad, knowing only ONE master’s student (in both linguistics and German) who went unfunded, and he even got funding after his first semester. That’s basically 100% in those departments. My father was an undergrad in Civil Engineering at a university that wasn’t even as good as Pitt at got a FELLOWSHIP at an Ivy League school when he went for his master’s. And that’s a field that generally goes unfunded. I don’t know –if I would end up not receiving funding because I didn’t end up not going to an Ivy League school, well, that’s just sad –because I got my 3.97 without the help of Ivy League grade inflation. I just think that if I “lost the battle” at age 18 because of which university I went to –then something is wrong with the system. Given what I had, I couldn’t have worked harder and achieved more, and if a university would be unable to recognize that, well then –that university would be a lost cause. If 90% of the universities out there would gladly give me funding, why then (as Steve thinks) should I feel honored to be accepted without funding by a university in New York City?
Steve was talking about how my academic success and job at the University of Pittsburgh was just the result of “a bubble”. He maintains that here (i.e.: NYC) is the real world and what’s outside is just a bubble. I see it as the other way around: NYC is a bubble of over-exaggerated competition and hard-knocks. I haven’t met anyone yet who’s being employed to their full potential –except my sister, who’s not employed in NYC, but rather in Philadelphia. I see people paying insane money for crappy apartments smaller than the average jail cell. It seems like everyone hates their day jobs and hates what they’re doing. This place makes everyone have to fight to prove themselves because they all know they’re settling for less than what they should. I think the main reason Steve got upset with me was because I showed him I’m not willing to settle for less than what I should.
Let me give you an example: I was out with Steve, Beth (my sister), and Litza (my sister’s friend from high school) last week and I was talking to her about how I didn’t think I was going to get a place to live in. Anyway, in an effort to comfort me, Litza told me how she literally lived in a slum her first year here. She was making it out to be worse than a housing project. I just thought to myself ‘why the hell would you do that to yourself?’ I mean, if she had moved to Seattle, Boston, Chicago, DC, San Francisco, etc. she would never have had to live in a slum. So why did she do it? Was her draw towards NYC so great that she was willing to do away with basic standards? What the hell could be worth all that?
And I keep asking myself why I want to live here, what could be worth all of this, and I keep getting silence as the answer. The only answer I’ve gotten from others is “the people”. I’ve been told I’ll meet so many great people here. But I don’t see that happening. Everyone I’ve met so far seems to think they’re simply an awesome person because they live here. They put up fronts of superiority because they’re among the privileged few who get to overpay for everything and live like a starving artist. People aren’t cool or friendly –they see you as competition. They want to see you break down and cry about how hard it is to make it in this city, because they went through it to. They want to see you lower your standards because they had to lower theirs just to be here, just to be among the “cool” people.
But the thing is: there are cool people all over this world –and ACTUAL cool people. There’s nothing superior or cooler about people in New York –in fact, I think it’s just the opposite. In any case, it’d take a miracle for me not to give up on this place now.
(I found this meme thanks to tsarjames , but I only copied and pasted those that more or less applied to me and/or my family. Still quite a few though.)
You've never referred to Philadelphia as anything but "Philly." And New Jersey has always been "Jersey." You refer to Pennsylvania as "PA."
"You guys" is a perfectly acceptable reference to a group of men & women.
You learned to pronounce Bryn Mawr, Wilkes-Barre, Schuylkill, Bala Cynwyd, Duquesne, New Tripoli, Tunkhannock, Punxsutawney, Tamaqua, Susquehanna, Allegheny, and Monongahela.
You know what a "Mummer" is, and are disappointed if you can't catch at least highlights of the parade. (This how my mom spends every New Year's Day.)
At least 5 people on your block have electric "candles" in all or most of their windows all year long. (My mom's actually one of them.)
You know what a "State Store" is, and your out of state friends find it incredulous that you can't purchase liquor at the mini-mart.
Words like "hoagie", "crick", "chipped ham", "sticky buns", "shoo-fly pie", "pierogies" and "pocketbook" actually mean something to you. (I was probably about 17 when I first found out that pocketbook was not standard English.)
You can eat cold pizza (even for breakfast) and know others who do the same. (Is this a PA thing? I used to do this all the time!)
One of the highlights of your life was a field trip to Penn's Cave and Horseshoe curve. (Ok, I've never been to either of those places, but Crystal Cave was a highlight for me, so I'm keeping this one.)
You know exactly what to do when your mother tells you to "red up" your room.
You don't think people from Philly or Pittsburgh talk funny. (Philly no, Pgh yes.)
You consider an exotic vacation to be a trip to Ocean City, Virginia Beach, or Myrtle Beach. (Ocean City was the only vacation destination I knew as a child. We went to Disney World twice, but yeah -I've probably been to Ocean City 30 times or more.)
Words like "hoagie", "chipped ham", and "pop" actually mean something to you. (I'm actually a soda man.)
You think very little of an Amish buggy on the road.
You can go 2 weeks in winter without sunshine and think this is normal.
You know that Blue Ball, Intercourse, Climax, Bird-in-Hand, Virginville, Paradise, Mars, and Slippery Rock are all PA towns.
There is no such thing as a "Philly Cheesesteak". It's just called a "Cheesesteak." (THANK YOU! And you don't put anything on it besides steak, cheese, onions or ketchup! NO tomatoes, NO lettuce and NO pickles!!)
You not only have heard of Birch Beer, but you know that it comes in several colors: Red, Blue, White, Brown, Gold.
You consider Pittsburgh to be "out west," and you know the fastest way to Philly is the Turnpike.
Know that Yuengling is pronounced "Ying-ling," and believe that it really is a premium beer.
You have an uncontrollable urge to buy bread and milk when you hear the word "snow." (You guys have no idea. Working as a cashier in a grocery store during a "snow scare" is quite the experience.)
You live within two miles of a plant that makes potato chips, corn chips, pretzels, candy, or ice cream, or that packages turkeys, beans, or bologna.
You say things like, "Outen the lights," "I'm calling off today," and "They're calling for snow." (I've never heard of "outen the lights" but I had no idea the other two were dialectical!)
You only buy your beer and soda by the case.
You think the roads in any other state are smooth.
Hearing horses clopping down a paved street doesn't bring you to the window to see what's going on outside.
You never see any Confederate Flags, except on the Gettysburg Battlefield.
You prefer Hershey's Chocolate to Godiva.
School closings due to snow take the radio stations a half an hour to finish, because just about every town has its own school district. (Not kidding in the least. 534, 535, 536, 538, 539, 541...)
Elect pro-life Democrats and pro-choice Republicans for Governor. (Parents elected Bob Casey...)
Frequently go "with," e.g., "You going to the market? Mind if I come with?"
When you were a kid and somebody really pissed you off, you said, "I'm gonna deck you!" (Is this a PA thing??)
You love the Phillies (unless they stink) in which case you love the Orioles (unless they stink) in which case you solemnly swear that you've never even liked the Phillies or the Orioles, but have always been a Penn State fan.
You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from Pennsylvania.
Peasant's Quest So...I've been playing Peasant's Quest, and I've beaten the game with 149 of 150 points. I've even closed the drawer but I can't get that last point. Anyone have any idea? Before I ascend the mountain, I have 107 points. I'm thinking I need 108. Any tips would be appreciated.
Also...anyone have any idea what to do with the shirt? Or Naked Ned?
[Edit: I started over and somehow got 150. Still missing one item though...]
It’s been nearly two months
since I last updated my journal.I
feel like I have good reasons for being so distant, but that doesn’t change
much.I’ve become even more
distant to those whom I’m already physically distant to, and I’ve even
become distant to my friends in
Kiel.I owe people e-mails, pub dates,
phone calls and visits and I’m not sure I’ll deliver on any of these before
it becomes too late. I feel guilty
and overwhelmed and my natural instinct to retreat only compounds this problem.Ugh.In any case, let’s see
if I can update you on what happened since May Day.
and I went to
.It was a fun, yet rainy trip.
Celle’s very beautiful and
is kind of kitschy.
took a trip on my own to Hannoversch
Goslar.Hannoversch Münden was nice,
but not worth the trip, Göttingen is a really neat university town.Quedlinburg has a ton of pretty half-timbered houses and
was the bomb.You guys should
really check out that place.
semester, I’ve been taking a course called Jylland: samfund, geografi og historie or
Jutland: Society, Geography and History.In
any case, its aim was to take a 9 day excursion throughout
at the end of May.It was
utterly amazing.I took over
1000 photos while I was there and we had nearly perfect weather. I saw amazing things
and afterwards, Tim Peters and I made a website as part of the excursion’s
exhibition.It’s not 100%
finished (but it’s getting closer every day).It’s in German and Danish, but even if you can’t read either
language, there’s still some good things to see on the website –such as
the gallery and the
2 megabyte map that shows in detail where we were.
visited Heidi in
and we traveled down to Lutherstadt Wittenberg to see a re-enactment of
Martin Luther’s wedding.It
was a blast to see her and fun meeting her other fullbrighter friends.
was hit by a car.It wasn’t
serious, but I had to get stitches in my chin.For a while, I couldn’t shave there, so I had to grow a goatee.Now I just have an ugly scar there.
finished my semester here at
Kiel.It makes me quite depressed to
think that my official classroom learning of Swedish, Icelandic and Danish
may end here.Even if it
doesn’t, I don’t know when I’ll ever start up learning them again, and
no matter what I’m definitely going to miss having Torsten as my Danish
has grown on me and I’m feeling torn.I don’t think I’ve officially told everyone yet, but I will be
moving to NYC come September.Part
of me is super excited about going back to the
US, but part of me doesn’t want to leave
Kiel. In any case, it doesn’t
matter because I have to go.
have a girlfriend.This is a
recent development.This, of
course means I have really bad timing.Her
name is Antje and I went and visited her parents outside of
two weekends ago.
been having a lot of health problems that have required a lot of x-rays,
ultrasounds, CT scans and MRIs.I
had planned to travel around during the summer, but it doesn’t look like
I’ll have that much time thanks to more and more hospital visits.I have one tomorrow and one in a week.It makes me depressed to think that all the traveling I had planned
and all the places I wanted to visit will go unvisited because I have to
visit doctors instead, getting painful procedures done.I talked to my mother last night –at one point I mentioned wanting
to stay two weeks longer to travel a bit.She just told me it was “time to grow up.”I guess she’s right, but honestly, growing up is the last thing I
want to do.
I can’t think of anything else to write right now.I’m planning on having an Abschiedsparty before I leave
Kiel.But let me know if any of you want
to get together before I leave.(Lasse:
we never finished our bike ride.)I’m
still looking for a roommate in NYC and a job.Let me know if you know of anyone in need of a roommate or any job
possibilities for me.
The Amazing Race Firstly, I'd like to say...I'm sorry I haven't been keeping up with LiveJournal. I haven't been reading, nor have I *really* updated since May first. I'm really really busy -I mean it.
But listen...I have a big favor to ask. I NEED someone to tape the first two months of this season of the Amazing Race for me. I will pay whoever does this any costs incurred for buying videotapes, sending videotapes, packaging, electricity used, whatever. I'll even throw in some extra dough for the effort. It's that important to me. I mean, for Christ's sake: I own an Amazing Race T-shirt. And I've tried to apply for the show even. Like I said, it's really important to me, and missing an eppisode would be unthinkable. Last season, there was a heavy thunderstorm that pre-empted one eppisode and it caused me to write hate mail to the CBS affiliate in Washington DC. In any case, they re-broadcasted it later, and all was fine...but you get the idea. Someone really needs to tape this for me. NEEDS. PLEASE. THANK YOU. :*