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What I Want To Be When I Grow Up: A Teacher Looking Back… and Forward

If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up…

at 8-10 years old, I would unravel huge dreams. First, I’d be an astronaut. That’d take some time, but by about 30, I’d be a lawyer, because it’s a really good idea to be a lawyer if you want to be president, and I did. “I’m gonna be the youngest president and the first female.” Don’t ask me how I knew at 8 that the president has to be 35 and that many of them were lawyers.

at 14-18 years old, lots of futures crossed my mind. At one point, I wanted to teach English literature in Germany so that I could live there. For several years, I was going to get my PhD and my MD so I could be a research virologist and discover cures for viral diseases. Later, I decided that one doctorate was more than enough, and I would go to med school so I could have a career where I got to marvel at the intricate wonders of the human body. I even applied to UMKC, Dad’s alma material.

at 18-23, I wanted to teach English and develop my web design skills. Then, Dr. Mark Trevor Smith and Dr. Biava introduced me to the field of linguistics. Noam Chomsky. Descriptive and prescriptive grammar. First and second language acquisition. Dialects, idiolects, regional variations. Language isolates… I could go on and on with the ideas that excited my mind.

by 23, I had started grad school and teaching, and, being quite averse to public speaking, I was all nerves the first day. But something clicked, and I felt right standing up there on the other side of the desk, armed with a plan and expectations.

by 25, I had secured a teaching job in a German university. I would teach English language classes for two years, and have the time of my life while doing it. It was hard, don’t get me wrong, but I learned so much while I was there, from my students, from my colleagues, from my in-laws, from grocery shopping and traveling.

at 28, I hated teaching. I had an awful semester. It wasn’t only the classroom that was bad during that time, but it was easiest to blame. At lunch with a friend, one of those who is blunt and honest and sees you for who you really are, I was told that I obviously hated teaching and I needed to get out, that it was okay. But what else could I do?

by almost 29, I wanted to be a social media virtual assistant, or an online community manager. I had gotten out of my rotten funk about teaching and re-discovered the joys it offers, too.

Now I’m almost 30 and I am trying to work out the future I want and the future Rob and I want and what is best for that, so that I can make it happen. Do I go for any old job, but get security and consistency? Or do I pursue a career with flexibility and frequent developments and new technology, that is still in its infancy, really; one that will satisfy me in other ways than an 8-to-5 would?

Who knows.

The World Cup from a Graphic Artist’s Perspective

I am surrounded by many insanely talented people, and one of those artists is Lorraine, who I met in German class at Missouri State. I love her taste in graphic design and style, and I am continually amazed at the beautiful pieces she finds around the web.

Now that both America’s and England’s Summermärchen are over (and Germany is through to the quarter finals!!!), I think some inspiring World Cup design might lift losing spirits (unless you’re rooting for Germany, in which case, party in the streets!!!).

[image source]
In her Weekly Reader: World Cup Edition, Lorraine shared a great article on World Cup iPhone apps ;), a history of the World Cup logos (I like Mexico 1970 and 1986, and Italy 1990; totally disagree with the author about the Germany 2006 logo), a very German World Cup guidebook, and a beautiful bracket tracker.

In closing… AUF GEHT’S DEUTSCHLAND, SCHIESS EIN TOOOOOOR!!!

USA vs. Deutschland: A Friendly Comparison

Tonight is our last night in America for at least a year. During my research-filled trip, I’ve been reminded of some of the advantages/disadvantages of America and some of the advantages/disadvantages of Germany. Some of these are highly subjective (chocolate-peanut butter!), but others are just facts of live (gas). Either way, I’m gonna cover these things in a quick little post, and then get back to packing.

Gas

It’s more expensive in Germany, but Americans whine about it more. Case in Point: When we rented a car to drive from Giessen to Berlin, we paid €1.65 for a liter of gas. Multiply that by 3.78 to convert liters to gallons, which is €6.237 for a gallon of gas. Using Google Calculator, that turns out to be $9.12 per gallon that they pay in Germany. It’s always been that expensive, but no one complains.

Popcorn

It’s buttery and salty in America, and sweet in Germany. Surprisingly enough, I prefer the American style and Rob prefers the German style (and he therefore loves kettle corn!).

Heating and Cooling

Oh, how I missed air conditioning! Only a few places have air conditioning in Germany. There’s nothing better than getting into a hot car and blasting the cool air. Or sleeping in a cool, dark room, snuggling deep under the covers.

Portable Storage

When we get our Sunday ads, the one thing I look for is the price of flash drives. When we left in Germany, you could get a Sony 4gb flash drive for €12.99 including tax (that’s $18.99). We saw an ad for a PNY Technologies 4gb for $19.99 plus tax. Not much of a difference in price, but Sony is a name brand and PNY isn’t as prestigious.

Sweet Flavor Combos

My favorite American flavor combo is peanut butter and chocolate. In Germany, where they have not yet discovered the mouth-joy of pb and chocolate, it’s hazelnut and chocolate.

Friendliness

It’s a pretty stereotypical idea that people aren’t friendly on the streets in Germany. When we arrived in Washington D.C., we were pleasantly surprised at all of the friendly people greeting us in our friend Jill’s neighborhood and out on the streets downtown. It was great. But it didn’t stop there. Almost everyone we have come into contact with in Richmond, Charlottesville, Williamsburg, and Virginia Beach has been great.

EDIT: In response to Lorraine‘s questions and comments, I have to add to this post.

I am sure that if you convert what we pay in euros to what we would pay for the exact same thing in dollars, it’d be more expensive here. But that really doesn’t matter, because we can’t buy the exact same thing in dollars right now. Maybe military people could (on base?), but one thing we have to buy in euros is food (unlike plane tickets, which we buy in dollars whenever we can).

Yes, the widespread public transportation here must certainly affect the attitude toward gas prices. Good point…