visual stimulation 015
keeping things short and simple. here is a look at some of my recent reblogs from tumblr. for an extended look at what has been visually inspiring me lately, follow my public tumbler, inspiration247. For a look at my personal fashion choices (aka the crap I put on my bodaaay), follow my personal style tumblr.
add me on facebook
follow me on bloglovin
all images taken from: tumblr
anatomy of an outfit 005
Recently, I wrote about the unlikely circumstances that culminated in my arrival and, ultimately, long-term residence in Berlin. Also on that list of "things I never thought would happen" would be my fluency in the German language. I went through the better half of my life only speaking my native tongue (English) and had about as much interest learning other languages and grammar as I did stabbing myself repeatedly in the eye with an ice pick (because what real other usage is there for an icepick than inflicting pain? Am I right, or am I right, Catherine Tramell?) - which is to say zero. This is surprisingly funny, because my life was always closely connected to foreign languages.
Like most Americans in the public school system, my academic relationship with languages began in the 8th grade and continued into the 12th. This relationship was pretty one-sided, with Spanish and Latin calling me up all the time, pretending to want to hang out and shit when really all they wanted to do was conjugate and translate words for hours. Needless to say, I graduated high school barely understanding the concept of direct and indirect objects.
My personal relationship with languages began much earlier. I was adopted from South Korea at 4 months old and shipped halfway across the world to a small southern town called Chantilly. There, I made my way into my new home. I was too young to have had learnt any Korean, so my mother tongue ended up being English. My adoptive parents, new york transplants, happened to be Jewish, so I grew up learning Hebrew. It's all a lot less impressive than it sounds, as I only learned how to phonetically read in order to recite religious prayers. To be honest, I wasn't exactly good at the language. This probably had a lot to do with the fact that learning prayers for Wednesday evening and Sunday morning religious school was the last thing I really wanted to do as a kid. Still, I credit my early exposure to a foreign language with helping me establish an understanding for languages as an adult. Because, in the end, I actually turned out to be pretty damned good at languages. The missing ingredient had just been the whole bit about actually being, you know, interested in languages.
This interest was finally sparked in university, when I decided to take Korean. My reasons were purely personal and not at all academic. It was a link to my lost heritage, a way to get closer to the culture of my homeland. (I had actually begun to learn Korean in high school at one of the local Korean churches in my hometown, but it was tailored for Korean Americans who already had a basic grasp of the language from growing up with it.) I didn't all of a sudden grow to love grammar, and I still did most of my studying last minute, but the language seemed to make logical sense to me. Unfortunately, as the class was independent study and only met once a week, there wasn't any real way for me to progress to any true level of fluency.
I don't exactly remember what happened, but I think I had to focus on other areas of study and learning Korean just sort of fell in rank of urgency. Knowing how to recite the time in Korean wasn't going to get my ass a degree - taking and passing classes in my major would. Fast forward to my decision to come to Germany, and my true love for languages was finally realized as I busted my butt to learn basic German over the summer before moving to Berlin. I can now speak German fluently, and although it did take a lot of hard work and commitment, I also feel as though the language just made sense to me. It wasn't all that difficult to learn. My grammar is still not perfect, as I learnt the bulk of my more complex German here in Berlin through usage and not in a classroom, but just the ability to communicate in another language without having to translate first is one of the most amazing gosh-darn feelings in the world. I can't even imagine a non bi-lingual life.
I have also not forgotten my goal of learning Korean, which has again become a focus for me not only now that I have "finished" learning German and have the mental space to take on another language but also because I plan to return to Korea in the near future. I didn't really have the time for more school, what with work and all, so I began trying to learn a bit from the Korean woman, whom I babysit for. She is the sweetest woman ever, but trying to learn a language from someone with no prior experience in teaching languages never really works out. As luck would have it, however, the language gods took pity on my struggle and granted me the gift of at-home learning; About a month ago, I was given the opportunity to use Rosetta Stone's online course, TOTALe.
Now before you get all mad and feel all betrayed and shit because this post has ended up including a sponsored item, I want you guys to know that I spend the majority of the time turning down most sponsored offers. I just do not have it in me to accept shittons of free things I would have never normally bought or frankly do not like. At the same time, the job of a blogger is a labor and time intensive one, and if a company would like to offer a product that I actually can see myself buying and using and if I also think a review could be beneficial to you guys, I think there is nothing wrong with doing so while still retaining my integrity. But more on that in a future post. Now that I got that out of the way, I am here to say that although I just started using TOTALe for Korean, my honest opinion is that it is a pretty damned good learning tool, especially for those who are out of university and do not have the time to sign up for night classes, but still want to tackle a foreign language. You can learn at your own pace and even repeat lessons, should you have to take any long hiatuses away from the computer. That being said, having to attend a regular class would increase your chances of consistent learning, but this is definitely a nice option for us busy bees. At $299 for twelve months, this baby is not cheap. Still, when I consider the hundreds I dropped for a month-long course at Goethe Institut for German, $299 is quite the bargain.
I confess that I have only had time to complete lesson two, and having already learnt the alphabet previously, I have a bit of a leg up on the game - but the way rosetta stone works is extremely logical and intuitive and doesn't even feel all that much like learning. New words are learned by association and process of elimination. TOTALe also reads aloud all of the phrases and words introduced in each lesson, which helps guarantee that you aren't going to completely fuck up the pronunciation, because who wants to be completely fluent in a foreign language if no one can understand a damned word coming out of your mouth? Sure, you could buy a workbook and try to learn, say Icelandic all on your own, but take my word for it - if you can't simply move to iceland and start engaging with locals straight away, do the next best thing - sign up for a course or be lazy like me and do it in your pijamas from the comfort of your bed.
add me on facebook
follow me on bloglovin
DIY 003 Spring
SWEET ORANGE LAVENDER SCRUB. LACE BRA.| PRINTABLE EASTER EGG SEWING CARDS.|
add me on facebook
follow me on bloglovin
anatomy of an outfit 004
I have never been a fan of climate change, but I would be lying if I told you that the premature spring we are experiencing in Berlin isn't fucking awesome. Because, let's face it. It is. This time last year comparatively, went something like this:
10:00 AM - beautiful blue skies, sun shining.
Me: Well Berlin, it looks like today is going to be a beautiful day.
12:00 PM - clouds blanketing the sky, doom and gloom for miles.
Me: ...Nope. Nope. Nevermind. Silly me. How could I have possibly fallen for that one again?
Every. Damned. Day
Which reminds me of something else. I have been living in Berlin for nearly five years now. It's pretty mind blowing to think that the majority of my "adult life" has been spent overseas. If you would have told 18 year old me that one day I would be living here, 6 timezones away from everything familiar, with a flat in the former GDR speaking fluent German, I would not have believed you. When I envisioned my adult life, although I wasn't 100% sure where life would take me, I was relatively sure I would be living out the remainder of my life and ultimately die in the good ole' U S of A. I was never the stereotypical American, overly patriotic, with the notion that I was raised in the best nation on earth. Then again, I never was a stereotypical American. I bring this up because bleeding red white and blue can be a reason for having zero desire to travel outside of the States for little more than a 7 to 10 day holiday. Still, although I had always been quite interested in learning about different cultures, hoped to be a photojournalist travelling the world one day, and visit my birth country Korea again, it somehow never really dawned on me that the best way to learn about different cultures, and ultimately, yourself in the process, would be to uproot myself and live somewhere new for an extended period of time.
I did hop a plane to Bath, England to study abroad my junior year of college. But the decision to do so was spurred on by my current college boyfriend at the time, who had made plans to study abroad in Japan, not due to any particular desire on my part to live in a foreign country. Perhaps it was because I was young and stupid, but I thought that if I had to be so far away from my boyfriend, I might as well do it in a foreign country as well. It was a big mistake, because I just haphazardly picked a country that had no foreign language requirement (I only spoke English at the time) and I have learned that the prime motivation for doing anything needs to be yourself. The experience was less than savory. I was extremely miserable and the constant time difference, as well as a multitude of other problems, meant that my boyfriend at the time and myself were perpetually fighting. I was also part of a foreign exchange program and not at a proper university, which meant I was still surrounded by other Americans who I unfortunately did not click with. I was in a wretched state of mind as well and endured 4 months of hell, alone, lonely, and miserable. When I finally returned to the States, I was more than ecstatic to resume my normal life.
The pre-story of how Germany and I got together and started a full-blown relationship began a few months later when I opted to stay at college over the summer to take care of some credits. I ended up signing up for a course about Joschka Fischer. I didn't know anything about the green party politician, let alone the 1960s student movement in Germany, which he was a part of, but was required to take a class at the 300 level for my major and signed up. I was previously set on writing my thesis on a subject pertaining to american history, but fell in love with the post-war period in Germany and the concept of "Vergangenheitsbewältigung," or "coming to terms with the past." My direction changed, and I continued to take history courses about Germany and ultimately wrote my thesis on German post-war film. With senior year rolling towards a close, I began to think about where I would be heading next and wrote an email to the professor of the Joschka Fischer course. He offered me an internship in Berlin, and I accepted. A few months later, I arrived in Germany. And I have been here ever since.
Throughout these almost 5 years I have made new friends, lost some old, started a relationship after ending another, worked as an English teacher, had my first real break up & cried a shit ton, learned what it really meant to be painfully alone, grew a stronger backbone, partied until 10 AM, woke up with deadly Sunday hangovers, had some one night stands, dated, threw up in the u-bahn station, tried some illegal things, got a masters in German, began a new relationship, resumed my goals of becoming an artist of some sort, came to terms with my negative qualities, began to be proud of my positive ones, and learned that growing up is a terrifying and inevitable processes that often leaves one feeling pessimistic, alone, wonderful, terrible, and alive ... all at once. And all you really can do, is keep on going.
add me on facebook
follow me on bloglovin
photography & post-production: dean