Sunday, November 27, 2005

everyone loves Platt

I had my second thanksgiving with all the Rotary exchange students saturday. I spend the night at Brian's house friday and then helped with cooking and things saturday morning before everyone arrived. Maria (I visited her in Bielefeld a few weeks back) came too and we all had a wonderful meal and then the two of us rode the train back here to Esens, in the middle of no where land. This morning I showed her around and then we biked to the coast (I think I almost lost a couple of toes from frostbite), had some typisch ostfriesisch tee and then biked back to my house so she could catch the train home.

since then, I have been on the computer reading the websites of all the local villages in an attempt to become better informed upon community happenings. I have discovered it is 30 minutes to the nearest town over 15,000, 45-60 minutes to the nearest town over 40,000 (depending on the mode of transportion), and an hour and a half for anything over 70,000. As well, any student that is smart enough to get through the german school system has left and most do not return, therefore leaving this funny phonomenon that no one between the age of 19-30 lives here.

The process also makes another impact upon the population, those who stay are not of the most intelligent quality and thus the populus is more inclined toward the physical pleasures of life... sports, farming, food, etc. More intellectual activities are few and far between, including busy spiritual churches, public music and art, dance, historical societies, and the like. There are actually many book shops and a library... but they have only modern authors and subjects. The schools are partly to blame because the students are taught mostly theory their entire education and given little chance to apply it (imagine a music class where everyone can read the music, tell you what key it is in, and compose a harmony, but can't find the c key on a piano or sing a note... or an art class that has anylized the artistic merits of every famous sculpture but doesn't know the difference between working in charcol or pencil).

For me, it is quite depressing to learn that there actually are theater groups here, but I can't watch or join them because they are in Platt, not german. ***Platt is a mixmashed language spoken only on the Frisian islands and in north, east, and west Frisia (I live in East Frisia, West Frisia is in the Netherlands, and North Frisia is near Denmark, but still German). This crazy little language that has a different dialect for every 10 miles is some sort of cross between english, german, and dutch.*** Other frustrations of mine with Platt include portions of the newspaper, shop signs, anything that is typical east frisian, and anytime I want to go into a store I need everything translated to me into real german.

To further disapoint me... there actually are a select few art exhibits in the area and music groups, however i have confirmed that there is a public transportation system that could rival the one found in the greater rochester region. translation: almost non-existant, if you exclude the single line railroad used to transport non-existant winter tourists to the ports so that they may be ferried to the islands. Therefore, unless I become tragically fascinated with the sport of tennis or take a sudden interest in drinking every weekend to the beat of bad american pop and rap songs, it's pretty much a hopeless case here. Anything else that I could possibly take interst in is impossible to do during winter, costs hundreds of dollers a month, or I will not be able to continue once I move to my new host family in January, 15 minutes further into the countryside.

I hate Germany.

*Correction... I love germany; I hate East Frisia*


Anonymous said...

These posts are increasing negative and depressing!

YOU are in a foreign land, because you chose to be there. You are there "all expenses paid," with little more responsibility than to absorb the culture around you, go to school, and travel when you are able.

Meanwhile, in the States your peers are working hard, studying hard, and living hard, as they transition to adulthood.

Please FOCUS on the positive - find JOY in the little things around you, and LOOK for "cultural signals" to awaken you to the wonderful opportunity you have before you.

Just STOP WHINING! - We love you!

Grandpa Volzer said...

Becky, I am sorry you are down for the moment. In a little while you will be UP again. Maybe this website will help. I enjoyed it. At the least you should enjoy the food prep instructiones. Hope you will be able to fix the desserts for me when you are back in the states!