feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
The semester starts tomorrow. I'm prepared, but I'm not ready at all. I have my first week's lesson plans made, with the option of shifting things as I need to. I have all my books, and I am going to have many shit-tons of reading on top of my grading (of which there is more, because the language program coordinator got rid of most of the auto-graded (multiple choice etc) assignments and replaced them with free response, which takes 3x as long to grade.)

I'm not quite sure when I'm going to sleep.

My new apartment is nice so far. The property managers are very helpful and are going through and fixing everything the previous property managers never bothered fixing (or fixed badly). The central a/c is a huge plus over my old apartment.

And I joined my local roller derby team. Partly because my friend said I should try it during new skater boot camp, partly because describing a sport as "roller skating with violence" is fun, and partly because the logo is super bad ass.

I'm going to review my plans for tomorrow and the next day then try to finish one of the books for one of my classes (it's really short, and I'm already halfway through).
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Uh, hi, I guess I didn't update my journal very often. I kept a paper one, though! Because I needed to keep track of stuff so I can turn in a paper for the people who gave me a grant.

Hamburg was nice; I met with a professor whose research interests me, and he gave me some advice on things to look at (including some translation theory, even) and wanted to hear more about my research in the future, because it's an interesting topic. (So I know one place I'm going to send my exposé once it exists, even if the prospect of living in Hamburg doesn't fill me with glee.)

Dresden was AMAZING. I really liked it there, and the Altstadt was beautiful, even if half of everything was under construction. I took day trips to Leipzig, Bautzen, and Pirna, and Ben and I went to Saxon Switzerland, which is a place I could definitely go back and spend a week in a cute vacation rental or hotel and go hiking and work on a novel. But there isn't a university for me there, because the TU doesn't have anything that matches my research interests.

Berlin was, as usual, great. I got to see [personal profile] kriski and [personal profile] dirtyzucchini and kriski gave me a copy of her poetry collection, which I am excited to read. I flipped through and the one about the woman at the knitting group punched me in the stomach. Good job! I can't wait to share these with my classmates.

I also got to see some parts of Berlin I'd never made it to before, because I didn't have to go to the obligatory tourist sites. I didn't even set foot on the Museum Island!

I have all my photos up on GPhotos; let me know if you want the link (or if you have a GPhotos/gmail you want me to share it with). They are sorted by city but otherwise unlabeled. That's a huge project...

I learned that you don't have to live in the same city you are doing a PhD in, if you are doing a solo promotion and don't have to meet f2f with your advisor very often, which means that theoretically I could live in Berlin while promovieren in Hamburg and go there every other week or whatever. And that your student ID is valid at all the libraries in all the universities :O

I just don't know which city Ben would have better luck finding a job in. Both have a lot of tech/software stuff, but they're both also full of young jobseekers who are more the type (ie cheap labor) startups want. So idk. But any decision is at least 2 years off, because I won't finish here until May 2019 (that's the target) and I doubt I'll finish my thesis and immediately want to write the exposé for winter admission (October). Summer admission (March/April) might be better, even though I'll probably have to turn it in around October anyway.

... yeah, I kind of fell into a really cool dissertation idea, so...

I'm going back to Georgia on the 2nd, so I have another week here. I'll start packing up at the end of this week or the weekend. Mostly I just have to put my clothes into suitcases and streamline a lot of loose crap floating around.

Oh, and I'm going to a roller derby boot camp, so I might join a roller derby team. (My academic schedule may prevent me from participating much this semester, but we shall see.)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I finished Sociolinguistics, and I think I got an A. Grades aren't officially posted yet, maybe at the end of summer.

My flight leaves at 5:41 pm today. I'm going to Paris, where I have a 4-hour layover, then on to Hamburg. 4 hours should be plenty of time to get through customs, recheck my suitcase, and all that. I can get a Real Croissant in Paris (at the airport, ok, but whatever) and experience Parisian attitude about language in person.

I got a fancy notebook/journal thing to write about my trip in, and a set of 6 fancy pens. I have to write a short essay for the grant people about what I learned or whatever, so I'm going to make myself write down, in addition to what I did, how I can use it for teaching purposes. I can even take notes on the teaching methods/activities, though I probably won't be teaching that level at UGA ever.

It would be a lie if I said I had no apprehensions about the trip. There's so much violence happening in Europe (mostly England at the moment), and the child in charge of the US could start a war or something while I'm gone. My last surviving cat is getting older, and, while she's pretty healthy, so was Claire until she died very suddenly of a blood clot. I already feel terrible about spending so much time away from her; I would be crushed if she died while I'm away.

Something could happen to me; something could happen to Ben. Something could happen that makes it impossible for me to get home. But I can't let worry stop me from doing things. That's what terrorists want.

If you're in Germany (especially the Hamburg, Dresden, or Berlin areas) and want to do something (like get dinner) let me know!

Maymester

26 May 2017 05:07 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Intense. Damn.

So, class is 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 15 days, in order to get an entire semester's worth of instruction in. This means we read approximately a chapter a day, with 1-2 articles a day in addition (a total of 50-80 pages or thereabouts). Taking graduate-level German classes has me saying "300 pages a week? In English? With no other commitments? Pfffff, easy."

The class has a lot of discussion and presentations, and we had an individual project and a group project. My group project is ok? I guess? but I had to wrangle undergrads, which is annoying. That's due Tuesday, and I can't start data analysis until the last data points are collected.

But the prof only counts the 2 highest tests, and I'm satisfied with my current test scores (100 and 96), so I won't take the third test, which is Wednesday. That definitely makes my weekend a little less stressful. "All" I have to do is write up my paper and put the rest of my things into boxes and take them to the office.

I'm moving out of my apartment, so I have virtually nothing in it. My furniture is at a friend's apartment, so I'm sitting on a spare couch cushion and using a lap desk. I've been eating TV dinners and things I don't need dishes for, using paper plates & bowls and plastic cutlery. I feel very College Student. Small remaining things are going to my office (cleaning supplies, what little furniture I have left) over the weekend, and Tuesday will be the final clean-up before the walkthrough, and I'm driving home Wednesday morning (staying with a different friend Tuesday night).
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
Tomorrow after class I'm driving to Atlanta and hanging out with Ally (Midnighter comics and ice skating boys), because she's driving me to the airport on Thursday.

Then I'm going to Austin for http://glac2017.weebly.com/ ! My poster arrived safely at the hotel yesterday, according to the postal tracker. I'm going to hang out with Laura, who lives there, Thursday afternoon before the conference, then there's a grad student gathering in the evening for dinner & drinks. The conference starts Friday at 8, bright and early.

(Ugh, they rearranged some of the panels, so there are some I want to go to at the same time :/ More than there were before. But it looks like there are a few mostly empty spots, so I might be able to work on memorizing Old Icelandic vocabulary...
feuervogel: (sakura)
Update the first: I was accepted into the Linguistics MA program! So I will be in Georgia one additional year (and hopefully only the one). Ben doesn't want to move to Georgia, so we will be maintaining 2 residences. I found a new apartment that is closer to campus, has 2 bedrooms and a kitchen with actual cabinet space (though still not a lot of counter space) AND is almost $100/mo cheaper. Plus it has central HVAC. I look forward to it.

Update the second: The paper I submitted to a conference was accepted (as a poster)! I will be going to Austin April 20-23 to hang out with a bunch of Germanic linguists and tell them about how cool my research about German memers on tumblr is (and get them to tell me what else to look into). I applied for a travel award through the department, and I hope I hear about that soon, because I need to book the hotel room; if I don't get the grant, I will beg for floor space with a grad student at UT (or find a roommate).

Update the third: GERMANY! I bought my plane tickets and have an itinerary. I will be in Hamburg June 5-30, Dresden July 1-13, and Berlin July 13-17 (and fly out the 18th). While I'm in HH, I will be at the Goethe Institute, so I'll be spending the afternoon there and doing as much of their Kulturprogramm as interests me (tours, excursions, museums; probably not ballet, though if there's opera, I'll go). I don't know how much free time I'll have.

The class I was planning to take in Dresden was cancelled, so now I'm on my own for there. Because of the grant I'm getting, I have to make it related to my education as a teacher, so I'm going to keep a journal of how I can use various things to teach my students. I'm mostly going to go to Cold War-related sites (including a day trip to Leipzig), but also the usual Dresdner Altstadt stuff. (I'm going to have to go to the Oper for reasons relating to the story that's coming out in fall.) Ben is probably going to come join me for part of that week. I want to try to swing a trip out to the Sächsiche Schweiz, but I don't know how much time I'll have.

Then in Berlin I want to see an exhibit in the Alliierten Museum, probably stop in the Deutsches Historisches Museum to spend more time in the modern section than I had last time, and go to the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer, and if I have time/schedules work out, take another Berliner Unterwelten tour. I also want to try to see a Hertha training day (if they're there and not off in Turkey) and meet up with friends.

Classes and stuff: the 2 classes I have that aren't literature are going pretty well. Old Norse is fun, and the term paper, in which we translate something and justify our decisions, sounds like fun. Syntax seminar is harder, but also kind of fun, because we get to talk about language acquisition, and our term paper is partner work and will be about second language acquisition. Literature seminar is still overwhelming and I have no idea what I'm supposed to write about; the instructions are "choose something in the broad thematic we've discussed this semester" and we read a novel every week how the fuck do I even begin with that.

In fall I will have 4 classes again and be teaching 2 sections of 2nd semester German, I am going to die. But Phonetics & Phonology is supposed to be not a lot of work, and Language, Gender, and Culture may or may not be; Medieval Courtly Literature will be tough but fun because we're reading parallel texts of Middle High German and modern translation. Culture Seminar will be Jewish Studies because of who's teaching it, and we will have to read a lot of novels (but less than this semester, thank god).
feuervogel: (heart's desire)
After discussing it with the appropriate graduate coordinators, I am applying to the MA Linguistics program here to get a dual MA in (hopefully) 3 years. I *think* the application process is mostly a formality, because I'm already enrolled in the graduate school.

My thesis advisor thinks it's a good idea and is supportive (he's both German and Ling faculty, so he's on the committee to select grad students there, too).

This ... changes a lot of things. Like I don't want to stay in this apartment 2 more years; 20ish months was going to be pushing it as it is. So that means I need to look for a place. Fortunately, now is a good time to do that.

But the wrench: I'd like Ben to move down here temporarily, because 3 years is going to be sucktastic (especially once I hit the "oh god why am I doing this" phase and am drowning in trying to get 63 credit hours in 6 semesters) and Meyrin is getting old. So I may need a 2-bedroom (more space + office room) vs a 1-bedroom. But I don't qualify right now based on income, and he doesn't have steady income-income (capital gains don't count for that, only paychecks apparently), so he needs a job. Fortunately there are potential jobs here or in ATL with possible part-time remote work/wfh, so he may be doing that.

But moving suuuuuuucks so much.

The bigger wrench: we own a house. Do we pack our shit up and put most of it in storage (or sell some of it) and sell the house, or do we rent it out once our shit is moved elsewhere? We have a LOT of shit after living there for nearly 16 years. Also we need to replace the carpet and fix up some grody stuff from cat pee and toilet floods and fix some toilets...

But *flail* 2 MAs. Then I will be qualified for pretty much any PhD program anywhere (perhaps overqualified), should I decide to continue. I have a pretty cool MA thesis idea that I'm really excited about, so maybe I can carry that forward.
feuervogel: (moo)
The forecast has been calling for dire weather since about Monday. It's been raining since mid-afternoon, and it's getting closer and closer to freezing. The current forecast has it changing to sleet around midnight, then snow around 1.

Because this is Georgia, the highs Saturday and Sunday are supposed to be in the mid-30s, so stuff will melt, then when it gets down to 18 overnight, everything will freeze into a nice sheet of ice. Because this is Georgia, there aren't a lot of snow plows or brine trucks, so Monday morning is likely to be really interesting.

I'm freaking out less about the literature class, though I'm sure it's still going to be terrible. I'm also not entirely certain the professor understands how US university courses work, so that's going to be exciting.

I have created a side tumblr for collecting a corpus of posts for potential thesis purposes. There are currently 65 posts in its queue, in addition to the handful I posted before thinking about the fact that I had a lot of posts and didn't want to be banned for spamming. And I only went through the google doc I'd put together for my term paper and my likes, not my tags/reblogs. (That can wait.)

Tomorrow, since I can't actually leave the house or anything, though I might put on my rain boots and walk around the complex, I'm going to revise the abstract I'm submitting to a conference (due next Sunday).

I still don't feel like the semester is real, but I've only had 2 classes so far & TA'ed one. By next Friday, things should be better. I hope.
feuervogel: (shiiiiiiiiiit!)
I got the syllabus for the literature seminar today.

I'm going to fail.

We have to read in their entirety 6 books, totalling 1660 pages, plus probably 500 more pages of excerpts and secondary literature. Here is the info from the syllabus:

Course Requirements
 Regular attendance
 Participation and careful preparation of all readings: Complete all of the readings on time
and come to class prepared, with questions, etc.
 Class presentations: Give a presentation on one primary text and author.
 Three response papers in German, the papers should be included a discussion of interesting
questions and present a first interpretation.
 Final research paper of 10-12 pages in English or German

Grade:
Response papers 20%
Class presentations 10%
Class participation (attendance, preparation) 30%
Final paper 40%

I will get at best a B- in this class. Because I can't read 2000 pages for one class, and I can't convincingly bullshit my way through something I've read a third of (which is apparently a thing you learn to do as a literature major??? I studied chemistry, y'all). In literature seminar last semester, we had to write comments on the course discussion forum about the texts, just a few sentences minimum, and I struggled to get a paragraph, so SURE YEAH 3 response papers will be g r e a t. And I'll totally be able to participate in class.

I am going to leave that class in tears every fucking week it'll be great.

OH AND FUN TIMES??? I've gotten 2 of the books for the class and neither of them is the first 2 books we need to read (by Feb 2 and 9). The library may have them but not 7 copies of it (because I doubt I'm the only person who hasn't received their books yet).

So I can't even get started on the 400 pages I need to read by Feb 9 because the books aren't here yet. Y a A A a A a Y
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
Grades are in. History of German: A. Teaching College German: A. Languages in Contact: A. Seminar in German Studies: A-.

I was honestly concerned I'd get a B in SGS, because I have no idea what I'm doing in that class, and 40% of our grade was a term paper, which I had no idea what I was doing for. I'd never written a literature term paper which had to rely on other people's ideas and various theories of X (in this case, memory). I can't say I particularly enjoyed it. I much prefer talking about what is in the text itself - symbolism, characters, narrative arcs, tropes - than about what other people have said about it (which is apparently what they call "research" in this field?).

I mean, I wrote several thousand words on narrative arcs and themes in the first season of Iron Blooded Orphans (and would do it again), but that isn't what you're Supposed To Do In A Real Term Paper, which is complete bullshit IMO.

I would have been pretty upset with myself if I didn't get an A in Teaching, after the Goethe Certificate and all. The principles are largely the same, but for US secondary education, the application is a little different, because we have a mostly homogenous, English-speaking group, and we can use some English in class.

History of German was kind of annoying; we had a lot of little homework assignments to turn in every session, and he basically never graded them or turned them back. He didn't give back our midterm before the final. (I got a 96 and a 91, respectively, according to the Blackboard-equivalent UGA uses.) It was interesting, in that it's useful to know why German does some of the weird things it does (and, by extension, why English does), and there's a lot more sociolinguistic stuff in the last section of the class. Also we got to talk about why nationalism is bullshit and language purity movements are stupid and why capitalism is garbage (though that was my point, mostly; we read Marxist philosophers and historians, what do you want me to do?).

Contact was neat, and the comments the prof left on my term paper should be useful in me turning it into an abstract for the big German linguistics conference in spring. They're due 1/15, so I'm going to need to figure out what to do with it pretty quick. I want to look at sociolinguistic aspects of bi-/multilingualism for my thesis, I think, so that should be really helpful for me.

Spring semester, I have Seminar in German Literature (topic: the metropolis in literature), Seminar in German Linguistics (topic: syntax of some variety, using Universal Grammar), and Old Icelandic. I'm also auditing 4th semester Russian.

I am actually really glad that the old department chair got a new position as assistant dean, because that means his Goethe seminar (which would have been mandatory) was cancelled, and I can take Old Icelandic. And I don't have to have 2 horrible literature seminars in one semester. I'm already cranky that I have to take one 3 of 4 semesters as it is.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
UGA gives you a whole week off for Thanksgiving, which I think is pretty fucking great, because it gave me a lot of time during which I could frantically write papers and work on projects, without having to do annoying shit like "go to class" or "teach class" or "prepare to teach class" (though one of the things I did was revise a lesson plan).

I wrote a term paper (14 pages) and an essay (3 pages) for the same class; I made a rough draft of my final project for pedagogy seminar; I read a large stack of papers for my literature seminar term paper; and I made a study guide/quick reference for History of German for our take-home final (12/1-8). I did all the rest of my Russian homework for the semester, and I did half my homework for HoG Tuesday.

Lest you think all I did was work, I watched cartoons with Ben, and I mostly took evenings off to hang out with him (and the cat) and read comic books. And on Sunday, we went to see Arrival, which was REALLY GOOD YOU GUYS, go watch it. It's like The Martian but with less cardboard characters/dialog/acting and for language nerds. Today we took a walk to catch and hatch Pokemon and stopped by the pub for a quick beer.

For Thanksgiving, we went to a friend's house and did a potluck with some damn good food followed by boozes. (Becherovka: tastes like cloves and gasoline, but it grows on you.)

I'm going back to Georgia tomorrow morning, boo. I need Sunday to go grocery shopping (because I can't go during the week), plus traffic should be less sucktastic than it will be on Sunday. I might go to the office and print out the papers I need to read for pedagogy seminar on Tuesday and my paper & essay drafts so I can revise them.

Six more days of classes, then finals start, and my first semester of grad school will be over. Holy shit.
feuervogel: (sideways days)
My ModCloth order came, and all the dresses fit! One of them may be too low-cut for work, but I have scarves I can use to accessorize over my cleavage/bra.

I'm working on my final project for pedagogy seminar, and I'm using a poem by Selim Özdogan, a Turkish-German poet from Cologne, and it's great. Here's the last stanza followed by a not-very-poetic translation from me:

Wenn wir uns umblicken
sieht es aus
als würden wir uns irgendwohin
bewegen
aber selbst die besten unter uns schaffen es nur
auf die Dächer von Gefängnissen
und
keinen Schritt weiter

If we look around ourselves
it seems
as if we were going
somewhere
but even the best of us only manage to get
to the roofs of prisons
and
not another step further

This would be a great thing to discuss in a college class; get the students thinking about whether they want to follow a life script laid out for them or whether they want to break the mold.

Saturday night there was a party to celebrate the release of one of our faculty's book, and one of the professors said she liked my new tattoo and said it was very suited to me. It made me happy.

My sister and her husband are visiting tonight, and I need to get this project's outline done before they get here (in 45 minutes I think), but I just wanted to mention this poem because it made me happy.
feuervogel: (never too late)
I chose the icon because I had that phrase tattooed on my arm about a month ago. Here's a picture of when it was fresh. I should take an updated one now that it's healed.

Since I last posted, I've mostly focused on studying, lots and lots of reading, oh god the reading in a humanities program. We're on our 4th novel in the literature seminar, plus all the other readings for our other classes.

I decided to accept the grant to go to Germany next summer, and I'll be spending June in Hamburg and the first half of July in Dresden. If I can have a bit of couch, I'd like to spend a few days in Berlin before I head home (though I may have enough of the grant left over to get a room if I have to). The GI in Hamburg says that out of legal reasons (!?!) we cannot use the internet connection in the homestay apartments, which means I'd only have internet access from whenever I get to the GI (noon, say) until 7 pm when they close, and I'd be in class 1-6 ish. So, uh, no. But they have a guest house with private apartments for 700 Euros for the month, where there's wifi to use all day, but it's way more expensive than the homestay (which is still like 500 Euros.)

So, if any of you know anyone in Hamburg who's looking for a one-month WG-mate, put us in contact. I made an ad on WG-Gesucht and have gotten 4 responses...which are probably all scams, because the first 2 refused to Skype and both want me to pay them in advance (which is against the TOS). The other 2 have really garbled English and German, so I'm guessing also scams.

I went to my first conference as a grad student! We hosted WILA, the workshop on immigrant languages in the Americas, and I met a lot of neat people, including the guy who wrote the textbook we're using in History of German (who was also our professor's thesis advisor), several of the current grad students in that program, and a very friendly, happy Norwegian dude who sings in 2 bands (and I bet it's death metal, because a) Norway and b) he's so happy). It was nice to be able to talk to other people who are interested in linguistics, because I am currently the only student in the department (out of 7) who is a ling person. It's depressing.

So anyway, while I was helping clean up one evening, I talked with one of our profs, and I mentioned that I felt a bit adrift, like I don't know what I should be doing to get the most out of grad school or how to figure out if I want more grad school after this. We talked about that some, and her experiences in grad school (where they had a bigger, PhD program, so the environment was different) and how they had workshops on things like writing CVs or submitting papers to conferences. I asked if she thought we could implement that here, and she suggested that I ask my peers.

So I messaged our facebook chat and had a few in-person conversations before deciding to send a Google survey to everyone. The short version is that most people are interested, and I may be presenting the results and a proposal at the faculty meeting next week (if it's ok for me to attend, because I'm not the grad student rep; I need to ask on Monday).

While I was reading for History of German for Tuesday, I learned about a sociolinguistic approach to historical linguistics, Sprachgeschichte von Unten, and I may have said, "holy shit, this is amazing" and looked up the references in our library and previewed the ones that we had ebook access to, then ordered one of them because a seller on Amazon had a used library copy for $20. (It usually retails for $200.) It's coming from the UK, so I had it shipped to the house.

Speaking of ordering things, I ordered 3 fall dresses from ModCloth because they had a sale on dresses and I had store credit from returning a top that really didn't fit at all. After the sale, I got them for $30 each--almost half price!

On Monday, I get to register for classes. I'm required to take Seminar in German Literature (this time: the Metropolis in German Literature, which sounds interesting but because I can't take literary criticism seriously, I will probably hate it anyway) and Seminar in Linguistic Theory (Syntax, and I'm told the professor rocks). I have 1 placeholder class (3 hours), 3 hours of masters research (for the reading list), and an elective. I'm taking Old Icelandic, because I can. I'm also taking 4th semester Russian, though I'll probably switch to an audit for less stress and because I can't get credit for it anyway (because it's an undergrad course). I'm TAing 2nd semester German, which might be my fall real teaching assignment. It'll be helpful, because I'll have a lot of lessons and materials prepped.

I'm probably submitting a poster to GLAC, the Germanic linguistics conference in spring. It's in Austin this year, but I'll have to miss 2 days of classes right before the end of the semester (like, it's the 20th-23rd of April, and our last day of class is the 26th). But if I tell the professors in advance, maybe request extensions if necessary... IDK. I need to talk with the linguistics/German prof sometime this week...I should email him.

Right. I should get some sleep. Tomorrow is groceries, laundry, cleaning, and working on my microteaching that's due on Tuesday. After I finish that, I need to look over some secondary literature to come up with ideas for a 10-page paper for literature seminar, and also read the second half of the current novel and a couple essays by its author. Plus I need to decide finally on an 'authentic material' for my final project for teaching seminar (due Tuesday).

All the work. So much reading. The glamorous life of a grad student!
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I didn't get one of the grants to go to Germany this summer, and I was cool with that. I'd planned to spend half a month here and the other half home, alternating like, and get some reading in for the MA exam (February year 2).

Or, alternatively, if I can get my shit sorted and find something interesting, apply for grants to do field work for my thesis.

Today I got an email from the soon-to-be-former grad advisor (because he's the new department head) asking me to his office, which made me really nervous (because yikes, did I do something bad?) He said it was good news when I got there, and they got another $6000 grant from the foundation and I can go. I just need to make plans and such.

My options are to spend 6-8 weeks somewhere like the Goethe Institute or to be a Gasthörer at a university. (That's someone who goes to lectures but isn't officially at the university, and they work it out with the professors in advance.)

Benefit of B is that it's much cheaper, so that grant will go a lot further. 6 weeks at the Goethe Institute in June/July is half the grant already, then add airfare. Benefit of A is that I can focus on the language, rather than learning something in German. Which could be interesting, but as I'd only be there for like the middle third of a semester, I don't know what I'd actually be able to learn. Plus at the end, I can take the C1 exam.

I'm looking at a 4-week intensive in Hamburg followed by 2 weeks in Berlin. (I'd like to be back in the US for more than 1 week before classes start on August 10.) I'd have to take the C1 exam in Hamburg, because it's only offered at the end of the month, but ehn.

But sometimes tbh spending the summer chillin with my spouse and cat seems like a good idea... IDK. I haven't had a chance to talk to Ben about it and won't until Friday. *flail*

HI

10 Sep 2016 05:21 pm
feuervogel: (never too late)
I went to DragonCon and even got most of my homework done before I went, so I didn't have to spend half the con in my room studying. I still mostly just hung out with friends and looked at costumes, but it was worthwhile, because I got to see people I hadn't seen in a year.

Grad school continues apace. I'm still enjoying my 2 linguistics classes (History of German and Languages in Contact), and I think Teaching College German is going OK (thanks, Goethe course!). I'm not overly fond of the literature seminar, but I like the second book we're reading better than the first (so far; I'm only on chapter 2.) It's by Günter Grass, so it's dense and complex, sentence wise, and it looks like it's about modern right extremism, which is always interesting.

My classmates are generally nice, but I haven't really Made Friends with any of them. We spend time together at school and sometimes out of it (which reminds me, I want to ask our facebook chat if anyone wants to get dinner this week after either seminar or History of German). Part of it may be because I live a little over a mile away (and not in the same apartment complex as all the Germans apparently) but also because I'm really boring and come home and do homework at night and go to bed at 10.

Thankfully I'm busy enough with homework that I don't have time to sit around being sad about my extrovert battery draining (though dragoncon helped that a lot).

On which note, since I got groceries, cleaned the bathroom, and did some prep for the class I TA, it's time for dinner and some homework so I don't have to do ALL THE HOMEWORK tomorrow.
feuervogel: (hetalia germany with beer)
The 1st of August, right after I moved here but before I cut my finger, it rained really heavily for a while in the afternoon and overnight. There's some construction going on across from my department's building, which apparently is affecting the drainage, because the ground floor/basement (where the TA offices are, of course) flooded.

(The rain was kind of like this, taken 4 days later.)

University maintenance got there with dehumidifiers and fans and cleaned it up, but they had to replace the carpet (and probably some other stuff). One of the offices had tile under the carpet, so that added to the delay. So, long story short, none of the TAs have offices right now. My teaching mentor is letting me use her office to drop my stuff between classes and if I need to work quietly. There's also currently an empty office which the profs are letting us use in the meantime. They aren't sure when it's going to be finished, but they hope before the end of the month. (There are also 2 classrooms down there, which we need.)

These stitches are annoying the crap out of me, and I can't wait to get them out.

My apartment is an ongoing saga of maintenance requests. First, my hot water was nearly boiling when it came out of the tap. Apparently the hot water heater had been set as high as it goes. Then when I decided to try my mailbox key, it worked, but there was no point, because the lock mechanism was absent entirely. (A lot of mailboxes have that problem here.) I picked up a washer and nut and a flange off the ground, where there are dozens, got my wrench, and fixed it myself.

Then my air conditioner started leaking inside, which resulted in a new unit being installed, because the old one was clogged and pretty fucking gross actually. And now my oven doesn't work properly. I decided to make a pasta bake, turned on the oven, and the upper element (broiler) didn't heat at all. The lower element did, so it baked, but not efficiently at all. Also there was a mysterious smell of gas, which is doubly bizarre because there isn't even a gas hookup here.

Now for some more positive things.

I'm really excited about History of German, and there's a small conference that we're hosting in October, which is required for that class. It's during fall break, which is kind of a bummer, because I had planned to go home that 3-day weekend, but I'll survive. I can go the previous or following week, maybe. I'm done at 11 on Fridays, so if I don't have a lot to get done and don't have to wait too long for buses, I can head home in the early afternoon.

We're supposed to attend all departmental events, like conferences and colloquia and invited speakers, which I understand but I hope doesn't conflict with spouse visits.

The other grad students are nice. One of them is also a nerd and he has piercings (like, plugs and snakebites and a septum, etc) and he watches Steven Universe. There are 2 Germans and another American woman. I seem to be the only linguistics-focused person, but I'm ok with that. After the horrific experience of my residency, I was apprehensive about living alone and being in a place without people I know, but I think this should be better. (And I have friends a mere couple hours' drive away in Atlanta if I need it, and Ben's 5 hours away, rather than across the country.)

My course load this semester is History of German, Teaching College German, a post-war literature seminar (I don't recall the title), and Languages in Contact. Next semester I have 3 required courses and might be taking Russian 4 (I'll need to catch up/keep up on my own this term somehow).

I may or may not have explained earlier that I need a second non-English language for the MA, and I picked Russian for reasons. I took a year at UNC, and I was going to continue this semester but a) it doesn't fit into my schedule and b) it's an undergrad course and doesn't count toward university requirements of 12 graduate-level credits. But the program director and the Russian head are working with me to find something that works. Which is good! They seem to want us to succeed.

Now I'm going to see if I can find the new Steven Universe and watch that. And probably redo my toenails. Tomorrow's the first day of teaching! (I have accelerated elementary German, which is for people who've had some before but didn't place into 2000 level.)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I was cutting carrots yesterday afternoon, and one of them rolled, resulting in (eventually) 3 stitches and a tetanus shot. About 2 hours after it happened, I drove myself to the closest urgent care (after getting the bleeding to stop enough to put a bandaid on, then waiting until I was sure I wasn't going to pass out and also drinking sugary tea; I also ascertained that the trip was covered by my NC insurance).

If I'd been home, I'd have yelled for Ben (or called him, if he had a job) to drive me to urgent care while I held a paper towel on my finger. I don't really know anyone here yet, but maybe I could have gotten one of the apartment people to drive me, but they probably wouldn't have wanted to wait.

I'm not super worried about future events, but I'm trying to decide which of the department staff to tell "ok, here are things that could happen; probably won't, but if they do, here's what to do."

I'll update more about my apartment and life here later. I'm so sick of driving across town for things at Target, though >:[ I've been here not quite 5 days, and I've gone to Target 3 times. This Target's layout is a fucking mess, too, so good luck finding anything.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Since I last wrote, I've gone down to Athens to find an apartment. I looked mostly at complexes, but stopped by a few Craigslist roommates wanted places. One of them was almost perfect, but I didn't want to flake on the appointment I had the next morning, so I missed out because the other person who looked at it said yes first. Boo. So I went back to my favorite complex from the previous day, took measurements and a couple pictures, and filled out an application.

I don't know how long their application review process (background & credit check) takes, but hopefully I'll know where I'm living come August really soon. This place would let me move in Saturday the 30th, which is great, because Ben will (hopefully) have a new job by then and be less able to just fuck off to Georgia for half a week to help me move in. (He may need to take Monday off for the drive back, but 1 day is easier than 3.)

I'm making a list of what I can scavenge from the house and what I need to buy, and I'm organizing everything on a spreadsheet. As I pack things into boxes, I'm listing them and color coding so I know what I've packed already and don't have to go "augh did I already pack my extra pens? What about the hand towel?"

Of course, there are a lot of things I'm still using and will be, but we have an overabundance of dish towels and such, so into a box it goes. I'm most likely going to be leaving fall/winter things here until late September or October; I can put them into their usual off-season storage bins and set them aside, then if they fit in whatever vehicles we take (my MINI and a rented something), yay; if not, they can come down later. Not like Georgia is colder than here very often.

I also need to learn how to reupholster a couch. I thought mom knew, so I asked if she would come down and help, but she said that was all grandpa, and that was that. :P So DIY tutorials on the internet will be my friend. Anyone know of a particularly good one?
feuervogel: (happy)
I got my official acceptance letter from UGA in the mail yesterday, and now I have a million forms and things to fill out. I haven't gotten my funding offer from the department yet, but I have some unofficial news from the program director in email, so when that's official and formalized, I'll let y'all know.

So yeah, I'm going to Athens, GA, for 2 academic years to study German linguistics. Whee!

Updates

15 Mar 2016 02:34 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
We lost Claire a few weeks ago. It hurt too much to write about, so I didn't. It was very sudden; she had a blood clot, and there was nothing we could do.

My GP agrees with me that I have Raynaud's and probably some form of Ehlers-Danlos (hypermobility type).

I should be hearing back about grad school soon. Russian class is going well.

Stuff

10 Nov 2015 04:19 pm
feuervogel: (heart's desire)
I took the GRE a week ago and finally submitted my grad school application. I don't have official scores yet, but the computer told me when I was finished that I had 163 verbal and 155 math, on a scale of 130-170. (They rescaled it to make 50th percentile for math, around 152, actually in the middle, as opposed to 680, where it used to be. I am still rubbish at GRE math, but give me actual algebra problems to solve, and I am fine.) They can't give you a preliminary score on the essay part, obviously.

I have officially applied to grad school! This is terrifying. I haven't submitted my writing sample yet; I'm still working on making it not terrible. I want to get in, but I'm nervous about what will happen if I do, and scared I won't. And I won't know until probably April -_-

One of the professors I talked to while I was visiting last month said a PhD is worthwhile, because then you can teach at a university (adjuncting, not just full-prof). But I don't think I want to do that; I mean, it's a lot of work for crap pay. So I have no idea what I'd do with a PhD that I can't do with an MA.

So I've been researching what you can do with a Linguistics PhD (though German studies is also a possibility; I think I want to focus on sociolinguistics/dialects/ethnolects/language contact for my MA thesis, so ling is more appropriate probably.) And it's like, well, you can be a professor, or work for the government, or if you do computational linguistics you can work for machine translation places, or you could coordinate language education programs. (This is the most useful thing I've found thus far, and it's not that helpful.)

So anyway, friends, do any of you have experience with this sort of thing? I don't want to put myself through the torture of a PhD program if I'm not going to use the degree and if I don't need to. (I'm looking into programs both here and in Germany. Not very seriously at the moment, bookmarked for later.) I haven't completely ruled out the idea--if during my MA studies, I read a paper that's really cool and I get inspired for a PhD thesis, yay; if not, I'll have an MA and be able to teach community college here & elsewhere. I'm like 99% sure I don't want to do a PhD because of the effort etc.

Let's see... I took my car in for an alignment today because they told me my back tires were wearing unevenly, and they need to replace the control arms ($500) and at least the rear tires ($250), preferably all (another $250). I said just to do the rear tires, because this is all really expensive. Hopefully they'll have it done today so I can get my car back before I have to go to class tomorrow.

Speaking of class, Russian is going well. It's not too hard yet, but I'm waiting for the shoe to drop in second-year. First-year is all basics, like all 6 cases, verbal aspect, and verb conjugations; I don't even know what's in second semester yet.

Um, I'll be having a fandom yard sale sometime eventually, once I have time to catalog (photograph) my stuff. Which could be a while.

Things

5 Oct 2015 04:52 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I'm doing pretty well in Russian class. I think I have a 98% in the class. We've just encountered the first weird thing--verbs of motion. The "weird" part for me isn't that they distinguish between going by foot or by car, or that they take the accusative after prepositions (German does both, though the former with less strictness than Russian). No, the weird part is that you distinguish between uni- and multi-directional movement. (Which my professor explains as determinate vs indeterminate, and I think that's better than in the book.) It makes sense, but it's not intuitive, so I have to think about it a lot.

I have a vocabulary quiz on Wednesday, and there's a lot of vocabulary this chapter. And a lot of verbs. Hooray for flash cards. We also have our oral midterm on Friday (or Monday; I plan to volunteer for Friday). We get *practice* in class on Thursday. I am surprised at how much hand-holding there is.

I'm driving down to UGA next week, and this time I'm actually going to see the department and campus with students in it. Which will probably make me go "argh, students, go away," like Chapel Hill does. I'm excited but also nervous. I want to be enthusiastic but not trying too hard, and that's ... a difficult balance to strike. This time I'm staying in a hotel practically on campus, so I can walk to various campus-adjacent things as well as to campus. I'll be leaving right after class on Wednesday, or as soon as the bus gets me to my car (2:40ish) and I pop into WSM for a sandwich or something to eat for dinner on the road. It's 5 hours plus stops & traffic (I'll hit Charlotte at 5, which will suck, so I may stop at a rest area and eat my sammich), so I'll get in pretty late. Well, 9 or so, which isn't *late*, but I typically prefer to arrive places around 7.

I haven't gotten any editing to speak of on the novel since the semester started, but I'd like to start setting parts of Tuesday & Saturday (or Sunday) aside for that. Weekends keep being busy with things I can't do during the week; Tuesdays I end up running errands a lot. (Tomorrow I need to get an oil change, and I have to learn so much vocabulary...)

That's my super exciting life right now.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Let's see. I started playing Flight Rising, this dragon breeding game with forums and mini-games and monster battles. It's fun. Look at my pretty dragons.

I started Russian 101 on Wednesday. So far we've learned the alphabet and the weird Russian pronunciation rules (regressive assimilation, vowel reduction, palatalized consonants). It's very strange being in a class with 18-year-olds. For example, yesterday, two classmates were talking before class, and one of them asked when Chernobyl happened. I answered immediately and without thinking, "1986." They both were like "whoa, you just knew that!" So I said, "Well, I was alive then..." They asked what it was like, and I don't really remember, because I was 10, you know? But there was a lot of confusion and no internet to get information from, just TV news and newspapers, and it wasn't like Russia was terribly open about what was going on over there...

So yeah. It's weird. I don't want to be aloof or standoffish, but I also have this "well, I'm a LOT older than y'all, and it's weird to try to be friends with you because it could come off really creepy." So we'll see how things go.

Dragon Con is in less than two weeks oh fuck.

Still working on revising the spy novel. I'm getting close to the part where things get exciting, but there's a bit of rewriting I need to do, not just sentence-level revision, so, ugh. Also I don't have as much time per day to write, so I'll probably do something like spend a couple hours each day on the weekends and squeeze in some during the week. We'll see.

Helsinki won the 2017 WorldCon bid, so I'm planning to go to that. As long as it doesn't conflict too badly with grad school (if I get in). Their dates would get me back to the US about a week before the semester starts, which could make, you know, course planning exciting, especially if I go to Germany for language class on a grant.

But let's not put the cart before the horse, here. I haven't finished my application yet, because I haven't taken the GRE yet and I haven't uploaded transcripts. They at least take unofficial ones at the application stage, which is great, because those are free and things I mostly have on hand.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I posted this on tumblr, so sorry if you see this multiple places.

I’m going to get this damned novel to the point where I can call it complete and send it to people (what I call a first draft). Here’s how I’m gonna do it.

For the next month, I’m going to revise, rewrite, or write at least 2 scenes a day. (A scene is the basic unit of composition in Scrivener, which is what I use. You then compile scenes into chapters. I find this much more manageable than writing in Open Office, perhaps due to the aphantasia.)

Once the semester starts and I have 4 hours of class a week, plus a good hour of travel on top of it, I’ll work for an hour before class and an hour after homework. (I’m learning Russian. There will be homework.)

I have other things on my schedule, like working out, class prep if my ad-hoc class happens, and (hopefully) making Shatterdome ATL 3 happen, so I’ll have a nice busy schedule.

If I can, and all goes well, I’ll have a finished draft by the end of the year. (90 scenes/2 scenes a day=45 days, but no guarantees on how much I can do while studying Russian.)

Today I’m rebuilding my outline (and timeline) so I can dive in tomorrow.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I met the grad program director, two faculty members, and the department chair. I got a tour of the department and some of the nearby campus buildings (library, fancy student union/classroom thing).

It's comforting to see that universities everywhere stick their humanities departments in aging buildings.

I liked it. The faculty were nice. They had a crapton of German books. The grad director is a medievalist and has a shelf full of Tolkien (and he said that sometimes a guy in LING offers an Old English/Tolkien class, and on occasion there's a course in Gothic).

I will have to learn a second foreign language, but I could refresh my Japanese or take something like French. I'm looking into getting a head start here, depending on what I take.

The department chair said, "You could apply for spring admission." I didn't know that was a possibility, and I'm not sure I want to? I mean, yeah, sooner started, sooner finished, but that's 6 months away. Application deadline is Sept 15. I could probably swing that, but I don't know. Do I want to start in the middle of the year? It sounds like the setup for something awkward, like not belonging to either fall admission cohort. (Then there's the question of finding an apartment January 1...) IDK. I emailed the program director and asked about that (and about the 2nd language.)

So yeah. I want to make this thing happen. Here's to making my application the best I can.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
I drove down to Athens, Georgia, this morning to visit UGA. It took about 5:45, including 2 stops (1 for lunch & pee, 1 for pee & turning on GPS). Not a bad trip, even if Maps routed me through the least scenic way at the end.

I decided to start getting my bearings by walking from my hotel to a game store practically on campus (to drop off some flyers for Shatterdome Atlanta). It was only about a mile (each way), though it was 90 degrees, sunny, and humid. So by the end, I was really sweaty. And apparently my shoes get looser as my feet get hotter, because they started sliding enough to give me blisters on 3 toes.

Even though the place I wanted to get dinner was only half a mile away, because my feet were hurting, I drove. I went to a vegetarian restaurant called The Grit, where I had pretty good food (Grit Staple (beans, rice, cheese) with a side of falafel, grasshopper cake; local beer) for $19 including tip. Not bad. I was super full at the end of it.

I found the Target after dinner and bought some band aids, then I went to the other gaming shop, which is on the south side of town. The guy there was nicer, and there was gaming actively going on. Lots and lots of dudes, but no one was a jerk, so I'll call it a win.

I drove back by getting slightly lost on campus (the sun was in my eyes, so I couldn't see the sign and turned too early), so now I'm sitting in my hotel and relaxing. I'll probably turn in early, I dunno.

Tomorrow I'm meeting the director of the graduate program at 11, then having lunch with some faculty and meeting the department head at 2, then I'll come home. So I'll be getting home around 9 pm I guess, since I'll have to stop somewhere for dinner, though I can go to like taco bell.

I'm really glad I looked at the department website yesterday to come up with any questions I might have about the program, because either I missed or they added a requirement for a second foreign language. Which means I need to learn a second foreign language. I don't know if it can be done concomitantly with graduate work, but I can't imagine it'd be easy trying to learn a language while doing everything else. So I'm going to ask about that, and see if I can start by taking a year of Turkish at UNC, assuming they actually offer it every semester. I emailed someone in the department yesterday, but I haven't gotten a response yet. So IDK.

They do offer Turkish at UGA, but see above re ZOMGWTF. So if I only had to take one year, that might be easier? La.

So anyway, that's what I'm up to. More later, probably.

Plans

2 Oct 2014 04:45 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Apparently the HS student who I was supposed to be teaching canceled, possibly permanently, while his mother shops around for a teacher. Never mind that they said they were looking for someone who would be able to teach him the next two years and wanted consistency. If I named the town they live in, any local would say, "Oh, of course." Well, private lesson 1 was interested in meeting twice a week, so we could do that instead.

I've finished reading the material for the second to last module in my certificate course. Since I'm traveling next weekend, I won't be starting the exam until after I get back, which gives me more time to make lesson plans for my classes that are actually meeting as well. I also am missing a DVD for the other module I need to do, and I hope it arrives soon.

I submitted a story to an anthology. I'm still waiting to hear back on a piece I sent to an editor last November. The slush reader said he's looking into it. (It's in the editor's inbox, somewhere. You have to ask him about it.) So I have three stories out right now.

If all works out, and I can get this nonfiction book read in time, I might try to get a reasonable first draft of ACARP together. (It still needs a title; I do not like naming things, I am bad at it; I don't understand how people name their cars and houses and stuffed animals and things.) I was planning to do that after I finish the certificate, so we'll see.

Also, convention planning continues apace.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
http://www.uic.edu/gcat/LAGER.shtml#d (too expensive)

http://www.gsstudies.uga.edu/programs/german-MA.html (I know a lot of people in Atlanta now)

http://artsandsciences.sc.edu/dllc/GERM/MA (Columbia isn't *that* far...)

https://www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/germanic/GraduatePrograms/Overview.php (I know people in Austin now, as long as they don't move away soon)

https://sllc.umd.edu/german/graduate/maprogram (I know a LOT of people here, and they state up front that people NOT going into academe are welcome; shit, son, living inside the Beltway is expensive)

Stuff

9 Apr 2014 05:29 pm
feuervogel: (moo)
I got a notice that one of my stories out on submission made it to the second round, after which point it has at most a 50% chance of being acquired at this publication. I have 2-4 more weeks' wait on that.

My other story out on submission right now is at 142 days. Other people are reporting responses around 145-150 days, so maybe I'll hear on that soon, too.

I also have a flash piece out right now, and I'll hear back on that in another month or so.

I submitted my exam for the 4th module in this course, and now I'm in that weird period where I'm waiting for the result and not starting the next module because I don't know yet if I'll have to rewrite the exam. (I am very not confident about this one.)

Now that I'm halfway through this thing, I'm frustrated because no one here seems to recognize the certificate, and (of course) everyone requires experience, which you can't get without a job, and fuck that. So I've likely wasted something like $4000, between tuition and costs for the internship I did, because there's only one school in this area where they teach German to adults, and it's been a month since I applied there and I've heard nothing.

Community colleges here require an MA to teach, and there seems to be no interest in an evening non-credit German course (I emailed Durham Tech). And we can't move to Germany next year, where this certificate is widely recognized, because of Ben's job, four cats, and a house. Ugh.

The alternative is for me to apply to one of the few grad schools that offers a terminal MA (Maryland and Georgetown; Middlebury) and get teaching experience that way.

Which is peachy, until you remember that the reason I decided to take this certificate is I don't want to go to grad school. Also with the cats getting older and more complicated, I can't just fuck off to the DC Metro area and leave Ben here. And he can't come with me because of his job.

*sigh*

Week 2

17 Feb 2014 09:02 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I don't want to go home :P My flatmates are nice, and I feel comfortable here. But I need to go home and see Ben and the cats. Also all 11 kg of my course materials are at home.

I've been poking around the GI website, because I'd like to take the C2 exam (the Grosse Deutsche Sprachdiplom) eventually, and I was looking for some self-study materials, etc. They have some free online, or I could buy this book. They recommend a distance learning course in grammar, which I may opt to do even if I don't take the exam. (After I finish the current study thing. Two at once is absurd.)

I don't know that getting that qualification will do anything special, other than show that, hey, I can speak German really well, so I'm not going to teach people terrible German.

Of course, afaict there are no sites in the US where it's given. Oh, no, they'll give it at the GI in DC and Boston. Getting to DC would be easier & cheaper for me, though since my sister moved back out to Maryland, I don't have a convenient downtown location to sleep for free. The one in Boston looks like it's on the red line between Arlington and Copley.

Either way, this won't be happening this year, and next year looks less unlikely, but they only offer it once or twice a year. So.

La. I think I'm going to go take off my makeup and wash my face.

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