Sunday, March 6, 2016

My week: March 6 ed.

I lost some hair this week, pre-gamed wine on a train, practiced German, and came home with a load of inexpensive German books. Sounds good, eh?

-To put the hair loss situation in context: I stopped by for a much-needed haircut. I think the last time I got my haircut was in November and it was so dramatic to see all of my hair on the ground at the salon. Now my mane is a bit more under control ;)

- Apparently I wasn't listening very closely in German class. The teacher last week was a substitute and we have our regular guy back. While I like both teachers, I dig the guy's style especially.

I also met up with my original tandem partner and we howled with laughter over what we believe (and hope) is her misunderstanding of a new acquaintance's profession. She created a special lesson for me this week after I hit a "rock-bottom" feeling of language learning last week, in which I bemoaned my stupid accent when I speak German and my pitiful vocabulary (oh so dramatic, I know). We practiced pronunciation and she taught me some new words. She is such a sweet and helpful person.

-I traveled to Neustadt to meet up with friends C+K. We enjoyed some wine at their apartment, then some wine on the train, and made friends with another train passenger, a retiree who was drinking his beer. We found common ground in that we both wore wine glass holders around our necks. C gave him the rest of the bottle of wine that we had been enjoying, after exacting a promise that he would not be offended by the Badisch wine showing up in the Pfalz. Such is life as one takes the train to wine festivals in the Pfalz.

The terminus of our wine-soaked journey was the Bad Dürkheim Weinbergnacht (wine mountain night). I attended last year (read allll about it here) and felt rather darn cool to show up with my special wine glass holder-necklace-purse-thingie that the nice lady from last year gifted me. You know, it was as if I actually belonged.

It's funny to return to events which are now becoming traditions for me. Last year, I went with the two S-es and didn't drink that much (we still had fun). This year, I showed up after already enjoying some beverages and felt a bit more unfocused, but we powered through the light rain, dodging mud as well as we could. (In other words, when I got back, I thought, dang, my boots and the bottom of my trousers are muddy!)

The three of us sampled various regional cuisine and snagged some wine, of course. I knew the score this year after having many wine sampling tickets left year; I suggested that we only buy two tickets for the three of us, and I brought the wine glass I already had. Since we had pre-gamed on the train, we had tickets left and used them to "purchase" a bottle of wine to go. We were apparently two tickets short but K made sad puppy dog eyes and the booth employee was kind enough to let her have the bottle anyway.

-It was the weekend of the annual Pfennigbasar, a charity rummage sale to benefit local organizations. I'm happy with what I bought, the price I paid, and that the money went to charity. I picked up three pairs of jeans for 4,50 euros and an armful of books in German for 50 cents a piece, including some on my favorite local topic, hiking in the Pfalz. I was also in the need of books to practice German and was able to find a YA book that I've read in English. My main problem was finding books that looked interesting but were short enough that they won't take forever to read. I'm willing to buy secondhand books that don't suit perfectly because I can't justify buying new books for practice when I'm going to mark them up with definitions.*

One day, I volunteered at the sale and mostly spoke German. It was funny when Americans would come up to the booth and nervously ask me if I spoke English; this was my life when I first got here. 

*I come from a family that does not write in books, especially because we normally would borrow books from libraries. My niece found an old book of her father's. As a toddler, he had scribbled in it. She showed it to her grandmother and in a disdainful, 3 year old tone, stated, "we do NOT write in books." Good kid! As I'm trying to learn German, I'm going to put aside this rule with the practice books.

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