Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Chères soeurs,
I need not be reminded that I am so dreadfully incapable of apprising you regularly on my daily comings and goings. But you see I have become so frightfully listless during my stay in Germany; I fear I can't summon the energy to do much of anything, least of all relate the events of my humdrum existence.
Today I woke up particularly out of sorts, owing much to what I perceived to be a social slight the night before, or at least miscommunication that verged dangerously on a social slight and left me to the mercy of the wolves. I returned to my shabby rooms and, naturally, availed myself of the two bottles of Beaujolais that I had purchased for use in a more social atmosphere. It would thusly be too cruel to judge me too harshly for skipping class today; to begin with, my contributions are hardly of a terribly substantive nature, so it was really to the benefit of all that I absented myself.
I also rejected the idea of eating at the cafeteria, such a dispiriting affair, and thought a little Thai at a nearby restaurant would prove revivifying. If it wasn't such an apt commentary on my most desperate of situations, it would be humorous to relate how, quite like everything else in the country, German Thai is so overwhelmingly insipid. And while not being a stranger to the glaring inadequacies of service at such establishments in the US, I was still quite appalled to find that the staff seemed to stop at nothing to offend my sensibilities.
I really need not narrate the content of my daily excursion to the library; its rather too prosaic, save for the presence of a vicious man who controls the comings and goings of the reading room to which I have found myself so unpleasantly foisted.
More recently, I went in search of late afternoon tea and cheer to fortify me for what is sure to be another gloomy night. Unsurprisingly, you would say, I only discovered a cafe that rather ought to boast its atmosphere of unmitigated oppressiveness.
I decided a savory crêpe would be in order, as a fair approximation of the dinner I shall not treat myself to. Folly on my part assuredly, a crêpe surely made for some lesser life form or a viscious joke played at my expense, seemingly like so many before it. I now only have the thought of my near immanent return to sustain me, while everyday I fear the prospect of another.
This might very well be my last little missive from Europe; and as such, I hope it serves as a cautionary tale to the dangers of idle prattle. How I would like to ring the necks of all who have said that Germany was a country of interest, for I am not certain if ever a more bland, uninspiring and featureless place ever existed. I am writing this of course as someone loudly plays Enya in the background, most certainly to make mockery of my overwrought emotions.
Yours foudly,

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Total solitude

Chères soeurs,
I find much need in consulting you and much solace in doing so. As you might know by now, Germany has not proven the palliative to an otherwise unfortunate year that it once promised to be. Instead of being embraced for my warmth and love of knowledge, I have been thrown to the wolves, to embarrass myself at will, and without a friend in sight. How can this be?
I have now just returned from my inaugural trip to the beer garden I scouted out just this Saturday, on what was then only my ten thousandth solo stroll around the old city of Heidelberg. I return to my dank room faced with the choice of an early night's rest (it being only 830 or so) or a few more episodes of Brothers and Sisters, which never fail to lighten the soul. Instead I have decided to begin anew my little journal, at a time most dire. Allow me to recount my day's activities.
I woke this morning to the sound of my 805 alarm, signaling the beginning of another, depressing day. But today I can not marshal the strength to get out of bed, so I decide to arrive tardy to my course, after our habitual 1045 break. Alas, I have managed to make no friends in my course, but at least have noticed a shift in my colleagues opinions of me, from unpleasant indifference to more nuanced feeling. For instance, a dear young Jordanian boy, seems to regard me with equal parts amusement and contempt. I tried to rectify this by giving him a cigarette this morning but I am quite sure, he said something nasty about the length of my shorts when I went to give my presentation on the Zeit, a German weekly oriented towards the working woman. Conversely, I have managed to make a lunchtime pal of a young man from the US, which has lessened my daily solitude by at least an hour daily.
Tomorrow is shaping up to be another disaster, as I am being forced to visit the ruins of a castle with my course; having no friends, these excursions always inspire dread in me, as I must navigate the thin line between quiet disdain and openness to any friendship opportunities that should come my way. I am skipping tonight's movie, not to create a sense of mystery, which has hitherto proved an astonishing failure, but to rest for tomorrow's activities and perhaps take in a quiet yet uplifting episode of Brothers and Sisters, as I have mentioned previously.
Oh, how the fates can be cruel! I see no end to my troubles and the beginnings of what can only become an expensive prescription drug addiction. I do hope you keep me in your thoughts, as I only have fond thoughts to sustain me now.
Yours, most fondly,

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

premier(s) jour(s) à travers le monde

Chères soeurs,
I am hopelessly remiss in not having written something of a "how to" for first day engagements - does one not so often feel like a lamb led to the slaughter? - especially with my realm of experience in (all) fields scholarly, cultural and strictly, work-related.
It is vital to strike "attitudes", posturing a strong belief in ones self marks one way above the fray, or at least, is fresh fodder for awkward first day conversation. More precisely, if of a generally uncritical nature, emphasize a (much too) latent contempt for ones new environment. Otherwise, moderate scorn, unless (as is my general experience) greeted by a frustrating level of inadequacy in those around you.
Always have a cigarette on hand; preferably (for non-smokers and smokers alike) take a quick, harassed drag and immediately put it out, feigning impatience and irritation with upcoming tasks.
Arrive "en retard", but purposefully, (and if one can manage) slightly vacantly.
Clothes are an altogether personal, yet, seriously important consideration - by what other means is one judged ? This is to say dress conservatively, certainly avoid accentuating genetic mishaps.
I, by all means, don't mean to sound like a scold, but if one goes wrong early on, one is so often sunk beyond redemption, leading one to inevitable frustration, punctuated by an (oft-noble, if slightly overwrought) resignation.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

la tempête

Chères soeurs,
As a faithful reader, I have been following your seaside adventures with the keenest of interest. Of course, it is most dismaying to myself that owing to the absolute fullness of my life here, I simply couldn't even conceive of finding the time to take a vacation, of any length; I could hardly find the time to compose this little post.
You see I must simply take any and all advantage of my time here...and it is much too stimulating to consider doing otherwise. For instance, the social make-up of the city of New Haven is like, way dynamic. I hear from a very good source (a real New Haven insider) that there is the most interesting of communities in this bustling mini-metropolis, the bike hipster. The bike hipster is the epitome of big city aspirations, generally, emigrating from varying pockets around Connecticut to the big city. I suppose they heard (from no less a good source) that New Haven is simply where it's at.
I have made casual inroads into the bike hipster community, usually by tossing off my wide-eyed student hat in favor of a street savvier fit. For instance, last night, more like this morning, I was caught in a bit of a tempête with a few of that sort, and really had the chance to observe them at comfortably close quarters. I say it was quite the experience! Even better than spending the night listening to podcasts, as was my original plan.
The weather still looks ominous, but I have very good reason to believe that that won't keep my new friends in doors...nor myself, if you need even ask.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Où on peut me trouver

Chères soeurs,
I have proved myself wildly inept in my first little musing; I hardly gave any space to the charming little city in which I live. As I say, New Haven is simply charming, charm itself if you may. There is color and there is charm, and New Haven is most definitely the latter; it, therefore, strikes one as most odd that one should be cautioned to walk with vigilance in this darling city, so charming. And I really don't know how I shall be able to sleep without the sweet, omnipresent sounds of the New Haven police sirens, alive at all hours of the day and night.
I fear the naysayers, in their fashion, misrepresent the city. For instance, the legions of idle, slightly addled, vagrants seem perfectly sweet to me, soaking up the New Haven charm, one can only suppose.

Première réponse

Cherès soeurs, Firstly and foremost, you ought to welcome me to the blogosphere in the next posting of your simply charming collection of musings; I need not state that it is, most certainly, the lady like thing to do. Secondly and equally important, one ought to anticipate that I shan't be able to keep up in terms of the sheer volume of postings - but it rather goes without saying that I will in terms of quality.
Life is much too full for me here in New Haven and I am making oodles of friends; oodles being a commonly used word, here at the college of course. I simply couldn't get into their various quirks, as it would simply fill up books and books.
I hope, earnestly, that you are representing yourselves well - as ladies, so to speak - in la Maroc. I needn't say that at the college there is quite a premium placed on the sophistication of ones manners.
As you posted something of a despairing little note on the weather in la Maroc, I must say that it is most unpleasantly hot here in New Haven, even a late afternoon cocktail seems unable to chill one, perhaps a second will do the trick.
I will leave it to successive musings to lay out how rewardingly rich my courses are; and how I really have become something of a school legend in my first weeks...unprecedented, I know. I am having much too much fun, so it doesn't pain me quite so much to say goodbye (virtually).
Fondly, Saint-Denis