Ruth's Diary


I haven't written recently 'cos I haven't had anything to say/remark on. Now I've got a few things. Here's something that happened in the cinema before Krabat started:

"Deutsche Bundeswehr: Karriere der Zukunft" "auf Afghanistan!"

Basically the first line was said by the overvoice at the end of an honestly really cool and awe-inspiring ad for the German Military Forces. The second quote was a shouted-out retort from someone in the audience. Germans in general are very politicised, partly encouraged by the fact that their opinions are reflected in every vote (proportional representation-easy way of keeping power in check) and right now they're...not anti-military (actually yes, there are a lot of Germans against the military) but definitely against their current use by the government.

Now during my first week here I found myself fumbling around for the appropriate German vocab or trying to keep track of where words went in a sentence. I was surprised that few people noticed or reacted to the mistakes I kept making. After all, when in Germany I like to think I'm playing a game, the aim being make everyone think you're German. With some I've achieved this aim. But there are too many things that actually give me away. One being when I'm caught off guard so I either speak rubbish or my accent slides (people guessing my nationality have wondered if I have come from anywhere between Holland and the USA). Another being when people ask in a casual conversation where I'm from, the answer is obviously London (which always impresses people for some reason). There's also the well-known German trait of using English words, especially when it comes to technical vocab, so when I say an English word I never try to say it with a German accent. Another glaring give-away is my laptop. 'File' 'Edit' and 'View' along the top will always give away the language to anyone. Despite this though, the students and even adults are understanding and just allow me to speak German, rather than try out their English on me like teenagers tend to do so willingly. You see, that was what I was afraid of, but it hasn't happened.

So last Wednesday I finally got the guts to go to the Rederei (Debating Society) and I had a whale of a time. Since I was new they expected me to introduce myself so I had to say honestly: "Ich bin Ruth. Ich bin Erasmus-Studentin, und ich bleibe hier 2 Semestern. Ich komme aus London-" and I was trying to say where I studied but someone interrupted to clarify where I came from. So everyone knew from the start I wasn't a native. Despite this everyone had to speak, so in our little debating game, the topic for which was the pros and cons of legalised torture (I was on the for team so I had some fun with being slightly sadistic) we all had to argue for nearly 6 minutes. There was feedback at the end and everyone remarked how good a speaker I was. (I'll remember the word "begeistert" with glee.)

Speaking of extra-curricular activities I've somehow ended up in Bible study. It's actually pretty good. Rather than being in a formal class it's just me and the lovely lady Grace and we talk through a set of questions on various Bible stories. When I first saw the sheet I instantly prepped up for an exam...then I realised that I was not doing a comprehension exercise and that no one was marking me. So in that relaxed atmosphere I sometimes asked my own questions in answer to the set ones, since I just can't take the Bible that literally. For example, one question asks what is revealed about God through the way the first verses are written. (Each day ends with something like 'and God saw it was good, it made him glad'-my honest answer for that is that the writer had a very unimaginative writing style.) There are some questions that are interesting in that a certain train of thought never occurred to me before: one asks how the first few verses set the tone throughout the rest of the Bible and what kind of pattern we can expect. Makes it seem the entire book was planned, doesn't it?

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