We are really smart.

Actually, I am really smart – at least according to the German government, who, after logging the fact that I had received a degree (from an American institution, no less – Southern Mississippi TO THE TOP!) – a fact that had come to their attention in our endeavor to persuade them to give me outright permission to work, which they did not – decided that I was smart enough to teach myself the German language, as opposed to “compelling” me to take subsidized language and integration courses. I am very flattered.

Concluding that the Germans had completely out-Germaned themselves, my sweet, yet vengeful (in the most productive sense), wife brought me to the Stadtbibliothek, organized a year-long membership for me (because, remember, I don’t speak German), and we loaded up on three different methods that I have begun cross-pollenating. She also has lined up numerous colleagues and friends to serve as chatting partners,  I found (because all things exist) a flashcard app for my phone, and family and friends have been suggesting many online methods that they have used, so I am not short of choices.  I am two lessons in, and can talk about all manner of things, as long as those manner of things are limited to the size and color of my dog, what my name is, where I’m from, and how to count to 100.

Mein Hund ist groß und braun!

Mein Hund ist groß und braun!

On day two or three – not sure which – we went over to the apartment of one of the coaches from the opera house.  He and his wife were to be on vacation until the start of the season, and and asked my wife if she would drop by to water their plants, and while we’re there, to help ourselves to the herbs growing like crazy on their front patio. Perfect.  I grabbed a ton of basil, thyme and coriander, used a bunch, dried what I could, and on a whim, threw a clipping into a champagne flute of water.  I’ve always wanted to try to cultivate a clipping, but never with any success.  After a week, it was still alive, so I left it alone, figuring the worst I could do was let the waterlogged thing be. About two days ago, I realized that there was much more to report:

I put my root down...

I put my root down…

A formidable metaphor, no?

Today is the first day of the wife’s new job, and I’m incredibly proud of her.  It’s also where the rubber hits the road for me, especially as I will have no German classes around which I can organize my days. There’s lots to do on the DIY front. Luckily, there’s also the chorales, which have been providing a steady, albeit short, daily practicum.  So far, I hate sharp keys, but other than that, I can feel my fingers finding their ways. Yesterday’s chorale had a particularly sexy set of cadences in the A section.

sexy cadences

Unfortunately, it went to hell from there. Lesson – know when to call it for the day.


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