Friday, November 13, 2009

Playing Catchup

Last time I posted, I had not started university yet. Now I’m rounding the fourth week of classes. My schedule is finally set. I opted to take a competition law class on patents and trademark law. It is interesting, and the only textbooks I have are the Law. Everything else is from the lecture. The class is taught in the form of business school though. So it does not go into deep detail and does not dissect real cases, rather looks at practical usage in business situations. It is not exactly that challenging though. My most challenging class is by far Tonsatz (Compositional Technique). Not knowing anything about music theory going into the class definitely impeded my initial understanding. The course objective is to be able to hear notes or beats (so a song) and be able to reconstruct it note for note. It is alone difficult for most of the music majors to do, and even more so for me. I think it is good though, because the class demands me to keep learning and thinking.

Last Saturday was also my first choral performance in 8 years. That was a blast. We learned the songs in 3 hours over 2 weeks (practiced a bit at home by ourselves) and brought it onto the stage for the Uni-Ball (University Ball). All of the songs were in English, so that definitely helped me out. However, we have already started learning new songs for our next performance, in January. Our repertoire will be over 10 songs! Double digits! Back to the ball. It was really great. I bought a suit for 80euro (H&M), which totally rocks. The ball was in the historical concert hall. Absolutely beautiful. In the main room there were tables setup for people who had money for such things (professors and faculty). Along with that, there was a dance floor for standard dances, your foxtrot, tango, slow waltz, Viennese waltz and other ballroom have-nots. Live band with a great singer. Upstairs there were two rooms. One was a huge hall with a DJ. What was cool though, was that a woman sang over all the songs live. She did not change the songs; just performed them live to the music. Much cooler than just a DJ spinning just his iPod on stage. In the other room there was a big band: Stand-up Bass, Piano, Drums, Singer (lady of course). The all wore zoot suits. Wow. Great band. They played newer and older songs, all upbeat, and all with a big-band vibe. Unfortunately they had the smallest room and the largest crowd. Caught the last bus home.

Tuesday was great too. Went to Cologne for the night to watch the election. I stayed up with a bunch of Americans way late (I actually did not get home until Norbert [host dad] was leaving for work). Surely everybody has their own personal stories about election night. I spent mine surrounded by American ex-pats. It was weird, to be all so different and from such different backgrounds, huddled around one display watching results trickle in.

Ralph was one of those ex-pats. He has lived in Germany for 27 years. His accent is indistinguishable, a fact he holds slight bitter attitudes towards. He has a wife and two daughters. His wife is German with German citizenship, he American with American citizenship, and his daughters have dual citizenship. I cannot rearrange his thoughts well on the page, but he said he was struggling with the idea of identity. When he went home nobody would believe he was from Connecticut. And when he was in Germany there was still a cultural barrier he knew would be impassable. I do not think fathoming his dilemma is possible, but it was somewhat palpable.

Well, that is it for now. I will try to push a little more recruitment into updating. New pictures via Google web albums are available, however there are still more to put up. Hopefully that will come by next week.

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