Ahhhhhh I can’t tell you how refreshing it is, not living in a 10,000 person town anymore! Maybe when I’m 98 and just beginning to feel the weight of time bear down on my shoulders I’ll change my mind, but for now I can’t help it — I need to be surrounded by and feed off of others’ studious/creative/ambitious energies! Suffice it to say, I’m much happier now that I’ve moved to Gießen, and the living situation is working out very well. My roommate Alex, the 30-year-old law student, is a great guy to live with. We cook and clean together, but share a healthy need for time to ourselves. Plus, he’s definitely built like a bouncer, so if I ever need a bodyguard I’m good to go! …I have a feeling he’ll make a very intimidating lawyer…
Lots of new projects are underway, mostly to do with one form of art or another. I’ve begun recording some songs with Kyra and one of Rick’s roommates, a multi-talented student named Max, from Munich. All I can tell you is that they’ll be sung mostly in English, but otherwise we’re just playing around with different moods and styles of music. Our instruments are limited to piano and guitar (and our voices of course), but it’s fun writing lyrics again…something I haven’t done since high school.
I’ve also met up with an amateur photographer from Marburg to do some brainstorming on what kinds of shoots we’d both like to do in the near future just to broaden our repertoires/portfolios. Given my facial features and hair, we’re definitely doing something Celtic-themed in addition to a few random ideas that popped into our heads…I think I’ll keep them a secret until I have the photos to show you all. ^_^ Mischief, mischief.
Along the lines of dance, I disregarded the early warning signs of sickness and opted to go to Cup & Cino on Friday for their monthly salsa event, which turned out to be well worth the cold that ensued…Victoria and Ana, my two new Spanish friends, and their stoic-but-friendly Belgian friend Jannick joined Rick, Rick’s Italian roommate Vincenzo, Kyra and me for a wonderful night of salsa, merengue, and bachata. The dj was an incredibly good dancer from Puerto Rico who wanted to know where I learned to salsa and was surprised to hear we do so much of it in Wisconsin! The night in general was reminiscent of Madison, since I actually know a decent chunk of the salsero/a population now…it’s a happy feeling…
Saturday night was full of eastern European/Balkan beats, laid down by a random dj at Jokus, a venue near my apartment in the center of Gießen. To give you an idea: large dance floor, the entire group made up of artsy people who don’t give a damn about who sees them dancing crazily (soooo much better than the usual German hesitancy) and music like the soundtrack of Everthing is Illuminated on crack as the main stimulant. Good times, good exercise, let me tell you.
Ah yes, as to the reason why I’m actually here: school is still going well, no worries! I’ve been shuffling around some of my classes, visiting some only every other week in order to reach more students overall. Next week I’ll be going with the school choir to the nearby town of Schlitz for a three-day rehearsal in preparation for the Christmas concert. Don’t ask me why, but three days with 80 middle schoolers sounds like fun to me!
I’ve also begun tutoring private English lessons on the side, and I can’t complain about getting paid the equivalent of $20/hour for it. I’m hoping to pick up some more clients within the next couple weeks and earn a bit of money under the table.
University classes have started, but due to scheduling issues I missed the first two sessions of my psychology class. This Friday I should finally be able to go to it, so get excited to hear about “Sensation and Perception”, a seminar lead by a real, live Oxfordian, hurrah! It’s essentially about vision and optics, how people perceive images, motion, etc. Should be “stimulating”, if all goes well.
I suppose this post turned out to be all about things related to self-development, but apparently that’s what this Fulbright year is supposed to be…can’t say I mind!