Definitely messy. Assorted magazines, tan newspapers, and opened letters are strewn around past, present, possibly late assignments and intermixed with monochrome notebooks, brochures, and various writing utensils. Wires swing comfortably over the edge straight down. Do-it-yourself projects lay unfinished; a bottle of Bath & Body Works lotion is propped up against a cubic, floral-print Kleenex box. Light bounces off of the protruding tissue, creating a cool underside to the synthetic carnation blooming from the top of the box. Dusty and unused, a sleek, black keyboard lies in the far corner, long replaced by rather bulky laptop. That is my desk.
It might come as a surprise for me to pick German to learn. German gets a lot of slack for not being a Romantic language. When asked to mimic a German accent, most people emphasize the harshness of the language, making it out to be the varieties of sounds a particularly vicious animal can make when it’s being choked. It seems to be angrier than the typically chipper East Asian languages like Japanese and the polar opposite of the beautiful, well-loved French. So why German?
German, though deemed an “ugly” language, is more than meets the ear. Though German undoubtedly does not flow off the tongue, what shapes peoples’ impression of German is what they hear in German. I don’t know about most people, but I’m willing to wager that the most German the typical teenager has heard doesn’t exceed Hitler’s many speeches, a clip or two of Triumph of the Will, and the angry German kid Youtube video. In which of these works is German not presented as biting and militant? However, if we take the time to look at German Disney songs for example, you run into a whole ‘nother ballpark.
I don’t think we can say that German is a hands-down hideous language when it can be this pretty. We all know what they say when it comes to beauty.
So here’s the moment I think I’ve been sitting on this whole year. I’m actually deciding to do something rather than writing about doing it or being inspired to do it (really big leap, huh).
Honestly, I find it really hard to tell people what I want to do because I feel like I don’t want to make them dissapointed in me. I don’t want to hype something up and proceed to let people down, so I’d rather just keep things under wraps and come out when I feel like I can do things and I’m certain of what to do. However, if I’ve learned anything about life this weekend, it’s that life is too short to wait around for the perfect time, for the perfect circumstances. If the only thing at risk is embarrassment that will stay with you for a max of one more year, you’d be an idiot not to take whatever opportunity that was. It kind of goes back to the idea of teenagers being self absorbed. No one is staring at you. They’re too busy worrying if someone is staring at them. Really, people won’t even remember that you messed up then, or that you really blew it (unless it was funny, but in even in that case, it’s still harmless); you’re only hurting yourself if you don’t chase after what you want.
A really good technique I learned to set goals is to tell other people about your goal, and I can see multiple reasons why this works. One is that putting things in writing always seems more official. Second, playing off the whole “world-revolves-around-you” teenage complex, you’re more likely (and of course, I realize that not everyone that reads this is a teenager, but I feel like people are all self-conscious to some extent) to work on your goal because there will be people interested in your progress. Now this might not be true for random strangers, but family members, relatives and friends would (probably) be delighted to know that you have a goal and maybe even help you keep on track. Also, an even better plus is that the people around you might ask you about your goal, and you’ll have the chance to talk about it! Of course, this is assuming you’re pursuing something you’d like to talk about, which entails that you actually enjoy whatever you choose to do (which I feel is a pretty valid assumption).
Without any further ado, here’s the introduction to what I’m going to do:
The contest is well over (it’s almost been a year now), but the challenge still holds: one completely new language, five months.
My pick is German; here I go.
I’m in awe, as an avid do-it-yourself fan and just as a person.
During my recent foray into wardrobe minimalism and a general engagement on the philosophy of what to wear and where to find it, I’ve been thinking a lot about buying well-made clothes. And well made in two senses: made with a high degree quality and made in an ethical and socially responsible way. I’d love to jump off the fast fashion train entirely, but let me tell you, it is hard to find affordable, ethically made garments. If you get tired of searching, you could be like my friend Maggie, who just makes her own clothes.
Yes! She makes her own clothes. Even though I was homeschooled, I cannot even imagine attempting the same. But I find her endeavor so inspiring, and I wanted to sit down with her and talk about her lifestyle of dressing herself in handmade garments.
Interview with Maggie Stein, Who Makes Her Own…
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