Missing You

Dear Oblivious,

It’s been so long since we’ve seen each other.  Funny how that tends to happen after you graduate high school.  How are your classes going? As for myself, I’m not particularly happy with my Spanish professor. But that can’t be helped.  The rest of my classes are cool.  Some of my classmates are the same as last year, that helps.  I haven’t really found anyone new to hang out with outside of classes.  Not that I have any time.  Busy busy busy!

Although I wouldn’t be so busy if I just buckled down and got my work done.  It’s funny, since I started college (and maybe this started towards the end of high school, too) I’ve been able to sit for hours doing nothing but thinking.  Okay, maybe not completely nothing; my nails are nearly non-existent from picking at them so often.  Everyone always attributes that to nerves, but someone said that it’s just a compulsion rather than a nervous tick.  Finally someone gets it!  It’s kind of funny, if you snap me out of one of my trances, I wouldn’t even be able to tell you what I was thinking about.  I think my thoughts are just inarticulate, shapeless blobs of emotion and swirling color.  No wonder I never get anything done.

Any of my thoughts that have the slightest coherence are often about my language courses in high school.  Good times.  It’s kind of funny, in college I’m not the best one in class anymore.  I’m just average.  It’s a weird transition.  That and being surrounded by more people that are truly interested.  Remember that kid that sat next to me and snored really loudly through every single class?  You didn’t know me in my eighth grade language introduction class.  Man that class was a breeze.  It struck me as odd that no one else found the numbers, colors, letters and pleasantries as simple as I did.  Which is funny because in elementary school, the process of learning a language other than my own was COMPLETELY out of my realm of understanding.  Parroting back phrases was one thing.  Forming sentences was a whole different monster altogether.  Now I call myself a polyglot.  Funny how that happens.  Although I must admit,  you played a role in my love of languages as well.  If you weren’t there to make the class super fun, I’d probably be pursuing a hopeless career in art.  Your enthusiasm was crazy contagious, too.

Sometimes my thoughts wander around until they stop at my parents.  The divorce is recent, but the detachment has existed for as long as I can remember.  I find myself wondering what a happy couple should look like.  Honestly, if they are anything like the couples at the high school, no thank you! Maybe tv has given me an overly-romantic, cutesy view of love, but I like it.  I like the idea of walking down a sidewalk hand-in-hand talking about everything under the sun and never running out of things to say.  I like the idea of laying in bed together, not doing anything sexual, but still being incredibly intimate.  –Oh look at that, I’ve gone poetic again.  That’s been happening a lot lately.  But in all seriousness, when I think of a loving, devoted couple, it’s you and your wife that come to mind.  You guys are so cute together and so perfect for each other.  It just makes me feel so warm on the inside.  Please don’t ever change.

We should get together sometime get coffee and catch up.  Not that that will happen anytime in the near future.  I’m super busy between school and work and lord knows you’re busy!  I’m going to be honest, I don’t even know what you like to do in your free time. I don’t think YOU know what you like to do in your free time!  I’ve known you for four years, we became good friends and that’s the closest thing to “hey, let’s hang out” that I can manage.  I mean, I can’t imagine what others would say if they saw a teacher getting coffee with his former student, or what WE would say for that matter.  It’s kind of funny, I’m never really sure whether I should refer to you as a former teacher, family friend or just flat-out a friend.  I know we’re friends, but would others find that weird?

I miss you! Which is strange to say.  I never thought it would be possible to miss someone that lives in the same small town.  I hope you find the time to write back! But if you don’t have time, I understand.

Sincerely,

Timid

On Divorced Parents

It’s been about six months now since my parents got a divorce.  To be honest, I’m lucky in a way, because the official name is a dissolution, meaning that both parties agreed to the separation.  Another reason to feel lucky, I am a legal adult.  I wasn’t the subject to any custody battles.  However, having been through six months, I’ve discovered the things that I didn’t know to expect.

It doesn’t feel that different.

Two people aren’t happy together one day then get a divorce the next.  There is a period of time when a couple no longer acts or feels like a couple.  Since my experience was agreed upon by both parents, there wasn’t any violent arguing. There just wasn’t much communication at all.  I can’t remember a time when my parents kissed or slept in the same bed. Not much has changed.  There is a huge difference in the point when two people legally are no longer a couple and when they emotionally are not a couple.  As for me, I’m still going to school, going to work and doing all the same things that I used to do.

Everything is different.

My parents no longer live in the same house, their cars are under their own names, bank accounts had to be split up, etc.  Immediately after the divorce my mind went straight to logistics.  Where will he stay? Who will get the Wii? Who will park and have the car ready after the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving? How is Christmas going to work? Will we all still get Ceder Point passes from my mom’s brother?  Who will do the dishes?  Who will fold the laundry?

I stayed with my mom in the house that I grew up in, mostly out of convenience.  My dad moved to a nearby apartment.  The house is empty just as often as my mom and I are in it.  I don’t hear the Wii in the playroom that has now been converted to an office that we don’t really use.  Then there’re holidays.  Thanksgiving has always been a maternal family affair plus my dad.  This year my dad didn’t come.  I think he stopped by the apartment complex’s event, which would be cool, except that he is a shy, introverted person.  He’ll only talk to people if they talk to him first, and even then he’ll feel awkward.  And Christmas? Yes we have always done multiple little Christmases because my extended family is all over the place.  But what now? Turns out, my parents put aside their difference and my immediate family had a Christmas like old times, which is sort of good and sort of bad.  My older brother got into town and we had all of our presents under our (much smaller than usual) tree.  My brother and I got presents from each other and both of our parents.  Our parents got presents from my brother and me… and my mom got a present from my dad.  Apparently it was a gift for the host: a bottle of Spanish red wine, something I remember her saying that she liked.  (That bottle is still sitting unopened on the counter in the kitchen.)

Because I have a life (okay, that one is still up for debate), I’m going to work, going to school, falling behind in school (not an uncommon occurrence for me), etc.  I don’t get to see my dad as often.  We had a family tradition where we would go T.G.I. Fridays and play live trivia.  We were regulars and we knew pretty much the entire Wednesday night crowd.  I wondered what would happen with this.  Just like Christmas, my parents put aside their differences and both kept going for the team.  Those Wednesday nights are pretty much the only times that I see my dad anymore.  I know there are others that are much worse off, and I apologize for the moping.

My parents have lives.

Well, my mom does.  My dad wakes up, goes to his office job, he might go play trivia somewhere on Fridays and Saturdays, goes home, plays something on the Wii, watches an episode of something on Netflix and falls asleep on the couch (habit I suppose?)

My mom, on the other hand, gets a weekly schedule instead of the Monday-Friday 9-5 schedule.  She goes to the gym and apparently also goes to Buffalo Wild Wings on occasion.  I don’t know what goes on during the rest of her day.  The part that bugs me is that she might possibly be spending a lot of time with another guy.  I would be fine if it were a good bit later after the divorce… and if I liked the guy, but I suspect that my disdain might come from his relationship with my mom, not his personality. (Although he doesn’t seem to have a healthy view of alcohol…)  She had been spending a lot of time with this guy months before the divorce.

The worst part is not that your mother might be a liar, it’s that you are absolutely CONVINCED that she is, whether it is true or not.  The worst part is being conscious of the fact that you are accusing your mother of something that you have absolutely no basis for and the guilt that goes with it.

When my parents told my brother and me of the divorce, they said it was most important to tell us first.  That being said, why wouldn’t my mother tell me about this new relationship?  Trust me, it is not a pleasant thought to imagine your mother getting hot and heavy with some guy that you hardly know.  It’s a strange day indeed when the child starts texting and calling the mother non-stop at midnight to figure out where she is and with whom she is, only to hear the explanation and not believe it.

Perhaps this is partially why I want so desperately to move far, far away.

Adventures with the Present and Past Perfect in German and Spanish

Happy Halloween!

pumpkin

I have been studying German for four and a half years now and Spanish for two and a half.  Speaking from my own and others’ experiences, your third language is easier to learn than your second.  To anyone who took the minimum required language classes in high school that sounds absolutely crazy, but to anyone that has taken at least a few classes in a third language it makes sense.  When you learn your first language, be it English, Spanish, German or any other language in the world, you learn how the language should sound when it’s correct, but you don’t know how a lot of it works.   That’s because you’re learning it outside of the classroom in the “real world.”  No one is using terms like the imperfect or past tense or the present progressive or the present perfect.  Many people will hear these terms for the first time in their foreign language classes.  Many of the terms translate from language to language (at least in my experience with western European languages).

That’s where I got myself into trouble.

Okay it wasn’t that much trouble, it was only a small assignment for my Spanish class, my third language.  How about a brief lesson to put this into context.  There’s the present: I learn, you learn, he/she/it learns;  there’s the past: I learned, you learned, he/she/it learned;  there’s the present perfect: I have learned, you have learned, he/she/it has learned; then there’s the past perfect: I had learned, you had learned, he/she/it had learned. (I’m sorry to all the English majors out there that just broke down in tears at that horrible sentence structure.)

In German, the present perfect is just called “das Perfekt” (Yay cognates!).  That looks like “haben+ge___t” in regular cases, haben being the present tense verb and a verb root going in the blank.  For example: Ich habe gelernt=>I have learned.  Unfortunately for me, my high school German class just “germanized” the pronunciation of “past perfect” instead of using the term “plusquamperfekt.” that would be “hatte+ge__t,” hatte being the simple past tense form of haben.  For example: Ich hatte gelernt=>I had learned.

In Spanish, the “perfect” tenses look like “haber+__ado/ido”  In the present perfect (el pretérito perfecto) “haber” stays in the present tense: he/has/ha. For example: Yo he aprendido=>I have learned.  In the past perfect (el pretérito pluscuamperfecto) “haber” goes to a form of past tense called “el imperfecto.” That would be había/habías/había.  Yet another example: Yo había aprendido=>I had learned.

In Spanish there are two different forms of past tense: el pretérito and el imperfecto.  For the purpose of this post, we’ll just say el pretérito is the past tense.

I’m sorry, that lesson wasn’t quite as brief as I had hoped.

Back to MY life because everyone is SO excited to hear about what is going on in MY life!   (Has that sarcastic font been invented yet?)  We hadn’t gone over the forms in class yet, but I had been exposed to the present and past perfect in Spanish.  My Spanish assignment was to “escribir la forma correcta del pretérito perfecto de los verbos en paréntesis.” (Or something like that) “Write the correct form of the verb in the present perfect tense.”  I saw two things: perfecto: ado/ido and pretérito: past.  I put those together and got past perfect: había aprendido.

The whole assignment was wrong.

Disclaimer (sort of):  To bring this back to German, had I known that the past perfect was called the “Plusquamperfekt” in German, I would have been more likely to look for “pluscuamperfecto” in my assignment than the literal translation of “past perfect.”

Beyond the Ballroom

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What do you see?  I’ll tell you what I see.  A suave black suit with tails.  Black shoes reflecting the light of day.  An elegant boutonniere.  A layered dress that flows in the breeze.  A delicate posture.  A shy smile.  Eyes that ask coyly, “What are you really thinking?” A gaze that answers, “You know exactly what I’m thinking.”  A connection so deep it seems virtually impossible for an outsider to even scratch the surface.

Now what don’t you see?  After the ballroom dancing lessons, she will go back to her messy apartment and he will go back to his house and to his wife.

She will fling her dress onto the arm of the couch and blast metal music from crackling computer speakers while she tries to recapture the energy needed to get in the shower. Her neighbors are actively trying to get her evicted on account of the noise.

He will walk into his house, find his wife and give her the sweetest yet most casual kiss a man could ever give his significant other.  He will help prepare dinner and set the table for two while his wife perfects the finishing touches.  They will talk about various events of their days.  The wife finished her quilting project today.  Beautiful embroidery embellishes the already stunning array of color.  He will recount the lunch he had with an old colleague.  The friend is going back to school for his doctorate.

She will stand in a daze under the running hot water, letting each drop add a layer of shine as it rolls down every firm curve in her body.  She will question every entity that makes its way into her mind why the two of them had to be born two decades apart.  Why she couldn’t fall for someone her age and available.  And most of all, but with the least amount of conscious thought, why he had to wear a ring on his left hand.

He will recount to his wife how that student had helped him set up and clean up the dance floor again.  She even helped the students that were struggling; an impressive feat given that her first dance experience was the first day in his class two years ago. “To me she’s like the daughter we could never have!” he will exclaim, grasping his wife’s hand in his over a glass of wine after dinner.

She will curl up with a bathrobe, layers on top of layers of blankets and a laptop to distract her from the real world and real feelings.  She’ll fall asleep reading the adventures and misadventures of heroes and normal people alike.  Her unfinished and forgotten homework will sit only feet from her to be done before class the next day.

He will wish his wife a goodnight while he catches up on happenings around the world with Letterman trying to sound funny about something in the background.  He’ll put everything away in its proper place before getting ready for bed.  The last things he will do before falling asleep will be placing his ring softly on the nightstand and giving one last tender glance to his loving wife.

Until tomorrow, my love.

Love is like…

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Love is like being sucker-punched in the gut.

Did you seriously just do that?  You were joking, I’m sure.  You would never hurt me on purpose.  Maybe it was an accident, your hand slipped… in the form of a fist… right at my stomach… I think I’m going to be sick…

Why the hell would you do that?! What were you hoping to gain?! You could have punched ANYBODY but you punched ME! You bastard, tell me why you punched me! That just ain’t right!

Okay, if you walk away now we’ll call it even.  You don’t go around punching me whenever you feel like it and I won’t go around without any oxygen in my system.  I promise I won’t bug you ever again.  Consider me gone.

You actually punched me.  You of all people.  You must hate me.  I’m nothing to you.  I’m never going to find the “One.”  I’m always going to be alone without any oxygen.  Can I have a hug? Just one…

I can’t punch you back and you have already found your soul-mate. Who am I to break that up? If you agree to stay my friend, I’m sure I’ll find someone that knocks my socks off.  I only want you to be happy and I’ll try to do the same.

Guten Tag, Buenos días, Bonjour, Good day. How do you do?

I’ve never really cared how one chooses to address me, however I don’t think I want to be called Loveless.  I will say this up-front, I am not a prolific writer and will probably only do this for a short while.

I feel that I should do more for an Einführung, er, introduction. Hmm.  I love languages, if that wasn’t already apparent.  My mother tongue is English, but I also know German, Spanish and a little bit of American Sign Language (not to be confused with American Sigh Language, which I’m convinced is a thing).  My post will most likely vary from a sprinkling to an overdose of some non-English language.

I’ve been struggling with an unrequited love, which will probably be the topic of most of my posts.  Please excuse the angst that comes from a first love.  I’ve also dealt with my parents recent divorce, also to be sprinkled among my posts.  And college freshman just screams “Write me!”

I think that will do it for now.  Bis den nächsten Mal, ¡Adiós!