Monday, August 30, 2010

My room is a MOMA exhibit.

Well, I'm in Munich. It's raining, the institute classes start tomorrow, and my landlord is slightly crazy. I'm going to love it here. :)

So I cam down from Erlangen to Munich (or, as the germans say, München) this morning with my great aunt and uncle, and we had to spend the whole 120-mile drive in the rain. To give you an idea of just how bad the rain was, we had to drive 75mph most of the way and even had a 60mph rain-induced speed limit at one point. Such things should not be.

After arriving in München I went to the Goethe Institute to take my third and fourth incoming tests respectively. It turns out that the results from my previous test were confusing, because I did really well for the beginner section, pretty badly in the intermediate section, then nailed the expert session. Go figure - I chalk it up to boredom. Anyway, some bureaucratic European Union committee came up with this thing called the Common European Frame of Reference for Languages, or CEFoRfLqsTdf, for short. They split of language abilities into six categories, from A1 to C2 - the former meaning you know how to introduce yourself and gargle mouthwash in the foreign language, and the latter meaning you can write cohesive and beautiful sonnets about the gargling of mouthwash in the foreign language. The first test I took in the states got me a B2+, meaning that I wasn't quite smart enough to be a C1, and today's test for speaking placed me at C1+, which means I must stick to german limericks for now. In a way, it was reassuring doing decently, because I work hard and it was some sort of validation that that's paying off.

My landlord is a modern art painter, and in coming days you shall see photos of my room. Though the walls are white, my bed is red, my entire cupboard has been painted a la Moderné, and the average number of pieces of art on each of my four walls is 4.25. It's awesome. He also strikes me as not entirely sane in a very pleasant and friendly way and I think I'll get along fine here.

I bought a week ticket to use all the transit stuff here in town today because it's not September yet, and I wandered over to the church building, chilled with the elderly couple there, then enjoyed a nice family home evening for people who were neither family nor home. It was very nice.

Non-sequitur awesome quote:

"The journey to truly superior performance is neither for the faint of heart nor for the impatient. The development of genuine expertise requires struggle, sacrifice, and honest, often painful self-assessment. There are no shortcuts."
(K. Anders Ericsson in The Making of an Expert)

Tomorrow everything really begins. Should be interesting, I suppose. I'm in a city where I genuinely don't know anyone, aside from a few acquaintances from FHE tonight. It's strange, because I think this is the first time that's happened. I think I'll do just fine -- but write me an email, just in case. :)

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