Saturday, November 17, 2007

lass uns alles nachholen...

So, let's catch up on everything...I haven't written for maybe two weeks...

School has been going pretty well. I had to teach a lesson about Australia, which was pretty interesting, as I don't know anything about Australia. I also learned what participles are and taught them...did an interesting lesson on Emma Lazarus and the Statue of Liberty...political speeches in the US and rhetorical devices used in to read newspaper ratings in the US...and more on cultural stereotypes. I'd say I'm getting into the swing of things, but not ready to switch my studies to English as a Foreign Language. :)

On Friday, November 9th I went to Frankfurt with some other American teaching assistants to attend a Welcome Meeting put on by the German Fulbright Association. The topic was "50 Years of Europe, inside and outside perspectives". I thought this was really interesting, and the key-note speaker was a journalist with fascinating background of work with the German and French media. He talked a lot about French vs. German views of the role of the US in Europe, and how this point often is the most contentious and the most detrimental to Franco-German cooperation. Interesting.

While in Frankfurt I also went to an exhibit of prints of Albrecht Dürer, which was really amazing. Since they are so fragile, they are only brought out every so many years, the last exhibition being in 1971. I still haven't even been to the art museum in Saarbrücken yet, but we have a good Picasso exhibit right now so I need to get there.

On the way home from Frankfurt we stopped in Heidelberg and witnessed one of the coolest German traditions: Laternenlauf! All the children make little lanterns and put tea lights (or today sometimes electronic lights) in them and parade through the town behind someone on a horse supposed to represent St. Martin. St. Martin is always November 11th (11.11) and celebrated with a Lantern Parade in the evening, for example from the main square to the church. They sing songs like this:

ich geh mit meiner Laterne [I walk with my lantern]
und meine Laterne mit mir [and my lantern goes with me]
da oben leuchten die Sterne [up above the stars are alight]
und herunten leuchten wir.. [and down on earth so are we]

Laterne, Laterne
Sonne, Mond und Sterne!
[Sun moon and stars]
Brenne auf, mein Licht, brenne auf, mein Licht, [burn, light, burn]
aber nur meine liebe Laterne nicht! [but just don't burn up my lantern!]

Wednesday night I went to a talk about German-Russian Relations, which ended up being about the US and how we are going to start World War III. It was pretty frustrating for me, actually. The speaker grew up in former East Germany, and studied a long time in Russia and was an ambassador for the East Germans. I think he probably mistrusts the US because of this background in Soviet Russia and communist Germany. At the end of his talk he opened the floor up for questions and I was glad that some Germans also said that he has a pretty skewed view of the US.

Thursday night I went to a play of Franz Kafka's Die Verwandlung, "The Metamorphasis," and then went into town for the Primeur festival, celebrating the first day when this year's Beaujolais wine is allowed to cross the border into Germany. I have never seen so many people on the market square. It was like all of Saarbrücken was there. It was such a cool atmosphere! And you could get cheap wine and stand out in the freezing cold together! It was a pretty cold night, but they had heaters set up and Wurst stands, and tables...My pictures don't do the scene justice since I took them at the beginning of the evening, while people were still coming.

Friday I spent all day at the DFG (German-French Gymnasium) because there was a meeting of all three DFGs (there are also such schools in Buc, France and Freiburg, Germany). In the morning we had a meeting with the English department, trying to agree on a basic curriculum for the upperclassmen English classes, and then in the afternoon I went to the history department's meeting. This was really interesting to see which points they argued about. In France history curriculum is more designed according to themes than a strictly chronological order, and these two German-French schools in Germany wanted to adopt a similar structure, but they're not sure if they will be allowed to. Their schools are so unique it's interesting which challenges arise, especially in Saarbrücken because it's located in a populated border region. For example, for German students who are living across the border in France, this school is the only possibility for them to have free, state-education. But what about French children, living in France, who want to go to school there? Which taxpayers are paying for them? And which country should decide the curriculum? You see where the problems arise.

Last night I went to see the new Fatih Akin movie, Auf der anderen Seite, "On the Other Side." It was really, really good. Watch for it to come to the US. Today I slept in (finally) and went to the library for a bit and then the farmer's market. I talked to the guy who was selling squash for a bit, because I was interested in which varieties he had. I think they must come from the US. The Germans don't distinguish between "squash" and "pumpkin" in their vocabulary. The farmer selling told me he had "acorn squash" pumpkin and "spaghetti squash" pumpkin. In German he actually said "acorn squash." So anyways, interesting. He said he's already harvested everything and will probably only come one or two more weeks to the market. I suspect for all produce, like the orchard also, this will probably be the case. But maybe some of them have indoor greenhouses, because they still had a lot of selection. Then there are stands with sausages and cheeses and yogurt, and amazing bread, which I suppose could be there year-round.

Well sorry this was a lot because I haven't written in a while. Hope it is still interesting!

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