Peder with a D

[plays well with others]

Posts Tagged ‘german’

Big Party Tonight: Techno Karneval!

Posted by Peder on 13 February 2010

In Europe, Mardi Gras is called Karneval and is a huge party celebrated in major cities and small towns across the continent.  Costumes, music, people, laughter.  It’s all there.

In keeping with this most fun, if not grandest, of European end-of-winter traditions, the Germanic-American Institute (my employer) is hosting its annual party tonight!  In recent years the numbers have listed into the hundreds as people from around the region stream in with their crazy costumes to get their techno freak on.  You should definitely check it out!

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a German party, but they are not to be missed!

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Stufen (1941), von Hermann Hesse

Posted by Peder on 26 January 2009

Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse

Wie jede Blüte welkt und jede Jugend
Dem Alter weicht, blüht jede Lebensstufe,
Blüht jede Weisheit auch und jede Tugend
Zu ihrer Zeit und darf nicht ewig dauern.
Es muß das Herz bei jedem Lebensrufe
Bereit zum Abschied sein und Neubeginne,
Um sich in Tapferkeit und ohne Trauern
In andre, neue Bindungen zu geben.
Und jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne,
Der uns beschützt und der uns hilft, zu leben.

Wir sollen heiter Raum um Raum durchschreiten,
An keinem wie an einer Heimat hängen,
Der Weltgeist will night fesseln uns und engen,
Er will uns Stuf’ um Stufe heben, weiten.
Kaum sind wir heimisch einem Lebenskreise
Und traulich eingewohnt, so droht Erschlaffen,
Nur wer bereit zu Aufbruch ist und Reise,
Mag lähmender Gewöhnung sich entraffen.

Es wird vielleicht auch noch die Todesstunde
Uns neuen Räumen jung entgegen senden,
Des Lebens Ruf an uns wird niemals enden …
Wohlan denn, Herz, nimm Abschied und gesunde!

Like ev’ry flower wilts, like youth is fading
and turns to age, so also one’s achieving:
Each virtue and each wisdom needs parading
in one’s own time, and must not last forever.
The heart must be, at each new call for leaving,
prepared to part and start without the tragic,
without the grief – with courage to endeavor
a novel bond, a disparate connection:
for each beginning bears a special magic
that nurtures living and bestows protection.

We’ll walk from space to space in glad progression
and should not cling to one as homestead for us.
The cosmic spirit will not bind nor bore us;
it lifts and widens us in ev’ry session:
for hardly set in one of life’s expanses
we make it home, and apathy commences.
But only he, who travels and takes chances,
can break the habits’ paralyzing stances.

It even may be that the last of hours
will make us once again a youthful lover:
The call of life to us forever flowers…
Anon, my heart! Do part and do recover!

This poem hung on the wall of the teacher’s lounge at the Germanic-American Institute. While I had read over it before, I hadn’t really read it until yesterday, my last day of work there. It really spoke to me as I prep to leave … again.

Translation provided by Walter A. Aue and Bertram Kottmann.

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Remebering German Music Videos

Posted by Peder on 12 January 2009

A while ago I wrote about my job with the Germanic-American Institute, where I have a lot of flexibility in developing lesson plans.  As one of my classes comes to a close I’ve been looking for some different pieces to bring to the class.  When I was a high school German student I loved the songs my teacher would bring out.  Dorky as they were, they were really helpful in remembering vocab.  And as a professional language teacher I’ve learned adding music to a lesson is a fantastic way to boost language retention — almost without equal, no kidding.  Back in the day we sang Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand and Sie Liebt Dich from the Beatles.  We ironically sang traditional beer-drinking songs too.  And we sang 99 Luftballons.

I love that song.  An symbolic anti-war song set to a rocking 80s beat.  If I had to pick a theme I’d paraphrase Vonnegut from Cat’s Cradle, “Where’s the threat, where’s the war?”  Here, enjoy it in all its proto-techno glory:

So here’s where am I going with this.  When I broadcast on Twitter that I was looking forward to teaching the song to my class, an old friend pointed me to some other less-heralded songs of the German persuasion … that I might einführ them instead.  Thus I present thee, die Ärtzte and die Prinzen.

“The Doctors” rock.  I’m a fan of their upbeat punkish rock.  Other favorite songs of theirs include Westerland and Wegen Dir.  Here is “Hurra” from 1995.

“The Princes” are significantly cornier, be warned.  But I had to learn this song in 10th grade.  Other songs we learned include Millionär and Küssen Verboten.  I can’t believe I’m admitting to this.  Whatever, here’s “Gabi und Klaus” from 1991.  The 1:25 mark is priceless!

Pretty sure I’m going to completely self-indulge and bring all three of these songs to class on Thursday night!

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Real Life: Berlin

Posted by Peder on 14 December 2008

Looking through some old stuff I found this photo I took about eight years ago in Berlin:

real life close-up

Real Life-Instructions (Jan 2001), originally uploaded by Peder with a D.

It reads:

REAL LIFE … Instructions

You should / not

  1. Burn your passport
  2. Destroy geography
  3. Accept statelessness
  4. Reject citizenship
  5. Jump national borders
  6. Abolish nations
  7. Ignore continents
  8. Dissolve cities
  9. Abandon republics
  10. Separate yourself !
I assume it’s a list of things not do do, or maybe it’s being ironic with the whole “should / not” thing.  Do I have a choice?  Also, notice it’s right outside a bus stop, imagine reading that everyday you head into work.  Heavy.
In random unrelated news, I was talking to my buddy last night as we were listening to the new Kings of Leon album.  I like it, but he says he misses the more guitar-centric riffs of they’re first albums.  “This album is a lot more polished than their previous efforts,” I offered.  “More singer-centric.”  He agreed, but like many indie rock purists, claimed the polished sound wasn’t what he wanted to hear.  Then, when the chorus started to hit on “Use Somebody” I had to pause and kind of laugh, “I guess the guitar build up is pretty cliched by this point,” I said.  “Yeah,” he says, “it really hit it’s peak with ‘Sister Christian.'”
That was the song I was listening to when writing this post.  “We’re lucky to bring them back, and please welcome right now, Night Ranger, with their new single … all right!”

Posted in Music, Stuff That Gave Me Pause | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

My New Job: The Germanic-American Institute

Posted by Peder on 30 October 2008

Click to Watch the Music Video

Hang on, I gotta crank some 99 Luftballons before I start writing.

Hast du etwas Zeit für mich?  Dann singe ich ein Leid für dich … von meiner neuen Arbeit bei der GAI.

In this great Fall of Change that is my Autumnal 2008, there is one constant I’ve been banking on the last few weeks:  The Germanic-American Institute.  Located on scenic Summit Ave, near downtown St. Paul this organization was originally developed as a cultural/heritage society for local German immigrants around 100 years ago.  Nowadays it still stands at the center of Germanic culture in the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota.  They organize language classes, culture exchanges, dance lessons, wine/beer tastings …

I go there to teach – Ich bin Deutschlehrer.  I was first brought in at the end of September as a substitute teacher for a woman who went on maternity leave.  Seems now, by way of the mid-term course evaluations, the students have selected me to continue with them until the class is over in January.  I’m also starting to get some tutor students.  It appears all is good in the ‘hood.

Teaching isn’t completely new to me, in fact I’ve had a track record of success before.  I taught EFL in Shanghai for two years, first with these guys then with these guys (sorry, regular site is in Chinese & Flash).  I taught ESL and German for Berlitz as well for a stint.

I like teaching this group in particular.  First, they’re adults — infinitely easier to teach than children.  No one’s on a sugar buzz, everyone pays attention and I don’t have to use a “timeout” chair or the Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes song to keep the peace.  Second, they really like being there.  These courses are expensive and everyone is motivated to gain as much as they can from their time there.  Third, I learn so much from them — from travel stories, to cultural experiences, to what interesting things happened at work that week.  (I live vicariously through others’ work stories these days.  le sigh.)

Tonight we move further on our chapter regarding foods and being in restaurants.  We’re supposed to spend three weeks on each chapter, and this is our third week, meaning I have to make sure everything is covered.  Not a problem, normally, but two weeks ago we got behind with some games and lots of questions, and last week we were delayed by those mid-term evaluations and a surprise visit from the regular teacher with her new baby.  Cute kid and a welcome visit, but I couldn’t help shaking a feeling that her real intent was to check out what was going on and figure out why no one was calling her to come back and save her class from the ills of a substitute teacher.  Sorry ma’am, but there’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Peder the Teacher.

Currywurt mit Pommes

Currywurst mit Pommes

But we’re cool, since we’ve gotten behind I have most of my lesson plan already written for tonight.  We got some grammar drills, a game and a stereotypical song about Currywurst.  All is good in the ‘hood.

– – – – –

(I’m a little surprised we’re covering food topics so late in the course.  I’d cover it first, if I were writing the curriculum.  A couple years ago a friend was leaving for a Peace Corps mission in central Sichuan.  He asked me which words he should first learn in that language.  “Food words,” I told him, “you can learn whatever else you need to know once you get there, but you’ll have to eat on day one.”)

– – – – –

99 Kriegsminister, Streichholz und Benzinkanister.
Hielten sich für schlaue Leute, witterten schon fette Beute.
Riefen “Krieg” und wollten Macht. Man wer hätte das gedacht?

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