By: JP Peralta
I sit down in a room in Sears to learn about the beautiful, soft sounds of the German language. I already learned many things about Germany during the summer I spent there. I am tingling with excitement to have a class where I can experience all the German things I have come to love so much. I set my coffee on the desk next to me and my bag into the desk on the other side, resting my feet onto the seat of the chair in front of me. Finally, I place my books onto the desk behind me. Perfect. Ready for class.
The professor comes into the room perfectly punctually, much like a German train. Herr* seems very rugged and strikingly foreign. I could almost feel the room fill with the homey smell of Schnitzel and Spätzels when he arrived. His messy Herr immediately indicated to me that he had come straight from a Biergarten in Munich to teach. My suspicions were only reinforced when he put down his no-doubt beer filled mug (because he’s German) and let his operatic cadence bellow out across the room. He truly has a firmness about him, like Lederhosen about the waist of a Leibeigenschaft**.
This fixedness transferred to his writing as well. I have never witnessed, nor even heard about, one individual pressing a marker as firmly as this man against a board in all my born days. It was like he was curious what was in the room next door and the easiest way to find out was not to walk into the next room, rather carve a hole into the wall using nothing but dry erase markers and that classic German efficiency. If the class was 20 minutes longer, I think we may have been peering into Mechanical Engineering 102: The Science of Building Mechanics. Each inky blotch on the board is accompanied with a sound comparable to a Krankenwagen screeching to a halt in the cobblestone streets of Berlin.
I was absorbed with every word that Herr spoke. I learned many things, but in my flurry of near-autoerotic admiration for German culture, I remember but a few.
Firstly, not everyone shares the same, superior sense of respect for boundaries that I and most Germans do. If I want to put my possessions on all the surrounding desks, it is traditional German custom to do so. Secondly, there are many different dialects of German and Herr certainly speaks one of them. He sounds nothing like I remember any of the other Germans on my trip speaking. Thirdly, and lastly, German is spoken in many places in Central America as well as Europe!
Professor Alavarez made that very clear when he projected the map of Mexico on the board while describing the most classic German foods, such as quesadillas, which I was surprised to have not known about prior. Fourthly, Dios de los Muertos will be upon us all soon, so stock up on your Kugelschreiber und Flügzeugen! These are all things that I didn’t know before the first class and that I think will be very valuable moving forward. I would highly recommend this class to any fellow Germanophiles seeking an enriching German cultural experience.
Until next time, adios mi amigos***!
*One of the many things I learned about German culture. “Herr” is the German title for “Mister” as in, “He brushed his Herr”
**Leibeigenschaft: A medieval form of German serfdom
***Adios mi amigos: An ancient German dialect meaning, “Entschuldigung, meine Freunde” or “We shall meet again, friends to whom this specific review was addressed”