Maxwell Peterson (student at Austin College):
"Verteilung, auch am Vertrautesten nicht ist uns gegeben."
The first line of the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke's poem "To
Hölderin" has always been profoundly significant to me. Loosely
translated, it means that we are not permitted to linger, even with that
which is most familiar, a concept that I have struggled to internalize
for many years - the painful regret of the thoughtless and hurtful words
I said that ended a friendship and the thought of what a beautiful
relationship we could have had, the longing for a return to the
togetherness of my family before my parents' divorce and the visible
pain and anguish of my parents that came along with one of the most
difficult decisions of their lives, the desire for a class load as easy
as Freshman year, when I could party every single night and still round
out a solid B+ average with not much work. Yes, dwelling on the past is
something that is almost second nature to me, but it hasn't improved my
life in the slightest.
This past Summer after my dad, brother, and I moved into our new house,
leaving ten years of memories in our old home, I found myself yet again
reminiscing for a time that would never return. For a few days, it felt
as though an emptiness was constantly bearing down on me until I came
across Rilke's poem again. This rereading of his poem that I had already
known for years came at just the right time, allowing me to begin to
leave the past in the past. So that very night, I drove downtown to get
those eight words tattooed on the inside of my left arm.
On the drive back home, I went over those words like a mantra, repeating
them over and over again in my head, all the while feeling the more
difficult periods of my life settle down where they belonged - in the
past. When I arrive back at my dad's apartment, I had to read the poem
again before I went to bed, but was absolutely shocked when I read the
"Verweilung, auch am Vertrautesten nicht ist uns gegeben."
The first "t" of my tattoo was supposed to be a "w."
I thought to myself, how could I be so foolish as to misquote one of my
favorite poems? Anyone who can read German or knows Rilke is going to
immediately think less of me. I'm going to have to cover this up when I
study abroad next year. I need to get this fixed immediately.
After a few hours of thoroughly freaking out, it dawned on me that this
mistake was one of the most beautiful that I had ever made. If there is a
better way to internalize the quote, "We are not permitted to linger,
even with that which is most familiar," than to mess it up in a tattoo,
the most familiar of objects, I certainly can't think of it. Certainly,
the past is important and we should respect and learn from it, but
denying new breath, new love, new life, while focusing solely on lost
breath, lost love, lost life is not a way that I want to spend my time.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Monday, October 15, 2012
Tanner Bierstedt (student at Austin College): "My main reason for learning the German language is to keep my rich heritage alive. I am tired of sitting on the sidelines of my elders conversations. I want to hear all the stories of the old country, of my ancestors, and the family secrets. Learning German is the only way i can obtain this knowledge and pass it on to my children and theirs in the language of their ancestors. When I raise my children I intend to make sure that they are fluent in both English and German. This will help them keep their horizons broad and the family heritage alive and well. Taking a German course will mean a lot more to me than just getting a credit, it will mean the survival of the Bierstedt heritage."
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Cameron Kubacki (student at Austin College):
Why I wanted to learn German and what I hope to do with it
"I have wanted to learn German ever since I was about thirteen years old. My mother lived in Germany when she was young and she would always tell me stories about her time there. Growing up my father would watch German foreign films (with subtitles of course!) and that cemented my interest in German. I am fond of the way German words are spelled and spoken. I took three levels of German in high school and that made me decide that I wanted to at least minor in German in college. My interest in the German language and German culture makes my struggle with learning the language extremely exciting and rewarding. In fact one of the reasons I wanted to come to Austin College was the study abroad program. I have never been to Germany but it is the first place I want to go to when I finally leave the country. After graduating college I would like to find someway to use both Environmental Science and German together, so that I can put two of my interests to good use."
Cassandra Broeker (student at Austin College): "One of the most rewarding school experiences I had was Oktoberfest at the German Free School in Austin Texas, otherwise known as the German Texas Heritage Society. The German Free School is a place to hunt down antiques, eat German food, take language classes, or to just go and hang out and have conversations in German. I discovered it through my high school. Every year for Oktoberfest, the German students would get together, get in costume, and go perform traditional folk dances. It was a great time, and the School remains one of my favorite places in Austin."
Monday, October 1, 2012
Jessica Smith-Salzinger (Austin College Class of '07, Double Major in German & Political Science:
"I studied abroad my Junior Year in Munich and immediately fell in love. Sure, I met my husband that year, but the absolute first thing I fell in love with was the city. It didn’t take long to know that I had found the place I wanted to call home. And now, five years after officially moving here after getting my BA from AC, I still can’t help but fall back in love with the place I live. It doesn’t take much to take the city for granted. We all get stuck in the grind of work, but one of the reasons I love it here so much is the work – life balance that Munich offers. It is practically unheard of for most people to work more than 45 hours a week, giving everyone here time to enjoy the city and the people they love the most. Every day going to work, I ride my bike through the English Gardens, through the beautiful Schwabing area and over to Nymphenburg-Neuhausen. I still can’t believe how beautiful the buildings are that I pass regularly.
|Englischer Gasten in Munich|
I am incredibly grateful for my study abroad experience, and encourage everyone who has the opportunity to take advantage of it – not just a Jan-Term, but at least a semester! Getting to really know the lay of the land and the way of the people has completely changed my life, and truly feel more gemütlich in my own skin. I would never have become the person I am today, and don’t think I could ever found the kind of happiness I feel from living in a place where I feel like I honestly truly belong."