The first day of 2009 saw me leaving my wonderfully blissful, cozy, tinsel-filled but all-too-short winter break behind, and returning to a strangely empty campus in time for the start of Winter Term. I live in Johnson House (J-House, as we like to call it), which is usually a calm and quiet place to reside. Located at the very southern end of campus and with just twenty-seven residents, it's not exactly the center of it all. At the moment, though, a more adequate description for the house would be... dead. There's no one here. Last night the house was completely lifeless except for me in my third-floor room, enjoying the reassuring chorus of wind whistling through the window cracks, mysterious creaks from around the house, and the intermittent hissing and squealing from the old radiators. I love J-House because it's old and huge and gothic - it has a tower! - but my undying appreciation for the place's architecture, spacious lawn (...spacious everything...), and general character does not mean I want to have it ALL TO MYSELF. I was expecting things to be a bit sedate around here since my roommate is spending her Winter Term at home in North Carolina (HI ELLEN I MISS YOU AND OUR MILDLY CRUDE YET OH SO RIVETING BADINAGE), but having a mansion of my very own wasn't on my agenda.
Today was officially the first day of Winter Term, and although I spent a good chunk of my winter break lamenting the fact that I had decided to return to campus for my project, I think things will be alright. I am here to take Intensive German in an effort to shove enough grammar and vocabulary into my head to take German 102 in the coming semester. After almost four hours of German class today, I can say hello and goodbye, ask people for their names, tell people my name, say the alphabet, count to ten (past that I am rather shaky), read phone numbers, name the days of the week, tell time (not always reliably), name a variety of objects to be found in the classroom (Kugelschreiber being my favorite there), and make pithy observations about the weather (Es ist kalt!). Starting on January 10th, I will also be part of a graduate student's orchestra project. I was told that partaking in two projects was a bad idea, but I have an unfortunate and incurable habit of giving myself too much to do... and who am I to say no --nein-- to Mendelssohn, anyway?
It's exhausting learning so many new words at once, which is why I'm sprawled on my bed writing this. It's eight o'clock on a Friday night and I've already eaten dinner and more pumpkin muffins than can really be good for a person. I have no plans for the evening other than lying around reading, and listening to German phrases online so that I can parrot them back to my computer screen. I'm sure things will pick up, but life here at Oberlin is moving at a bit of a snail's pace at the moment. Plenty of time for me to finally get into the swing of a regular blogging schedule, but punctual updates on my budding German vocabulary? I hope you're all into that. Stay tuned.