Germany — Dec 31, 2014

Frohes neues Jahr

That’s Happy New Year in German, a language I never thought I’d learn but have spent the last five months butchering. Luckily sometimes it’s as practical as the Germans themselves, and inventing extravagant compound nouns is not always incorrect. (One of my favorite examples is also topical: a glove is a “Handschuh,” aka hand shoe.)

In December I took a class at Kapitel Zwei, one of many German schools in Berlin. There’s a big range in price and quality, with the cheapest intensive courses (including this one) hovering around 200 euro for 60 hours of instruction. I’m namedropping this school because they did a good job making the experience personal. I was impressed by the incredible patience of the instructor. They also had a cute black dog who was kidnapped in Alexanderplatz and then ransomed. Here’s the school’s Christmas photo of our class.

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Breaking free from the bubble of Australian/Kiwi/Canadian/American friends was a nice a change of pace. My class consisted of one other American, three guys from Syria, one from Turkey, one from Greece, one from Mongolia, and women from Holland, Poland, and Israel. Not a bad spread.

I’ll take this opportunity to say happy new year. It’s my second in a row in Berlin, and we’ll be celebrating nearly the same way. Fireworks have been whistling overhead and exploding on our block for the past week. They’ve upped the ante this evening.

The other day we walked into a pizza shop carrying a crate of beer and party pack of fireworks on our way back from the grocery store.IMG_2279

That sort of thing doesn’t feel strange anymore. I’m hoping we can top last year’s efforts on the battlefield at midnight.

Happy new year to all my friends and family, and here’s to 2015 in Germany.