Sunday, February 7, 2016


Deutschlanding has now moved here!  So, if you'd still like to keep up with potentially-sporadic travel posts, please adjust your screen accordingly.  This site will stay up for posterity's sake, but there won't be any more updates here.  See you on the other side!

Saturday, January 9, 2016


To be honest, guys, I don't know what's going on with this blog.  It ended quite abruptly in April and never really took off while I was living in England.  But my year in Leeds was one of the best so far, and now that I'm back at my (gracious) parents' house trying to find a suitable job, I find myself greatly missing the hustle and bustle of Leeds life (despite its many drawbacks).

I don't really know what to do with this blog.  Every time I get excited about reviving it and making it more interesting and nuanced, I try fooling around with the layout and get discouraged then and there.  It's happened quite a lot.  Blogger doesn't have the layout I want, and (right now, anyway), I'm very ignorant about the processes to design a blog that suits my style.  So, for now it just resembles a hospital room.

I could recount mine and AR's (aka, boyfriend's) travels while I was living in Leeds, though I'm unsure that would 1. be very interesting, or 2. be very accurate, seeing as some time has passed.  And there are plenty of travel blogs that center around bragging about where people have been, aren't there?

I've always enjoyed writing on here, but my lack of organization and determination hasn't made it a very good read for anyone.  So, I'm at a crossroads...

Should I call it quits, or should I clean up my blogging act and take the steps to make this the blog I've always wanted it to be?  I don't have an answer.  Perhaps (all two of) my readers could give their two cents.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nothing to See Here; Move Along


I'm not even going to mention in detail about how, once again, I've failed to keep up a consistent blog.  I think we all get it at this point.  Let's just think of this blog as a piece of candy; usually missing from a (relatively) healthy person's diet on a regular basis, but it's always a nice surprise to get it from an unmarked van near a children's playground every few months or so.

As I type, I'm "taking a break," so to say, from some grad work--namely, research on the Critical Period Hypothesis for my Second Language Acquisition final paper.  I'm coming to an end to a four-week holiday from classes, which means that I've saved the majority of my research 'til the last week before classes resume.  But that's okay; I'm only slightly panicky about my self-inflicted workload.

As far as current occurrences go, I've been up to a fair few things: studying at cafes, taking naps on our ridiculous comfy sofa, hopping off to Rome for a couple of days...  So, nothing too fancy.

Nothing fancy at all.
As a sidenote, Rome is one of the few cities I want to return to at a later date.  Two days in an ancient city only makes me craving more, much like the abundance of pizza and pasta I consumed.

A trip to Ireland may be in order soon; Adam used to live in Galway and is interested in returning later this month.  Be assured that we'll be playing Steve Earle's "Galway Girl" throughout the entire trip, much like we sang "Rock the Kasbah" while in Marrakech back in January.

Thought you could catch a break from my cat posts, didn't you?

But on to more normal stuff: to counteract the grad school stress and accumulated flab that tends to happen whenever I live overseas (damn you, English cuisine!), I've taken to doing yoga.  And no, it's not about that third eye business; stuff like power yoga is painful.  But now I can annoy Adam by insisting that he look at my very minuscule bicep bump, and that makes everything worth it.  Above, you can see my old man cat friend (and contraband visitor) Sonny giving cat-cow a try.

And speaking of grad school stress...I think I've finally decided on a dissertation topic: the acquisition process of adult second language learners of German (with English as their first language)--particularly German V2 word order and case markings--and how looking at SLA from primarily psycholinguistic and generative viewpoints can influence how instructors can teach these phenomena more effectively.  That's the very, very general gist of it, anyway.  If that makes no sense to you, don't worry--I have no idea, either.  Well, I do, but let's just go with the flow of my disjointed thought process and feeble attempts at humor.

Anywhom, let's all rejoice that my stubborn refusal to do anything productive resulted in that stranger-danger candy post you just read!  No sound promises on when the next one will be, or when stranger-danger jokes will stop being funny for me (I'll admit, it's kind of creepy), but I'm sure you'll see me on here again with more bad jokes.  See ya later, alligator.

EDIT: I occasionally post pictures on Instagram.  I don't claim to be good at this newfangled contraption, but if you're interested, you can find my disconcertingly cat-laden page here.  Subscribe at your own risk.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Late Apologies and Even Later Blog Post

It's been quite awhile, hasn't it?  I don't believe I've gone this long without a post while actively maintaining a blog, but that's life, I guess.  I've got loads to tell (the two of) you, which means that I need to get my butt in gear and write.

Life in Leeds has been going very well; classes keep me very busy, as does travel.  I've traveled to Africa--how cool is that?  I mean, I only visited one country, but I'm very interested in exploring more parts of the continent based on my brief vacation there.  I had a dear friend of mine visit me back in November, and we went on a wild and crazy tour of Edinburgh and London (well, not so wild and crazy, but it was fun!).  I visited Swansea in October, which is the Wales equivalent to the awkward middle child (right up there with Madrid).  I also spent a day in Saltaire, a world heritage site near Leeds with a pretty cool mill-turned-arts-center.  And, as far as musical ventures go, I've seen a bunch of cool acts and went to the opera for the first time in four and a half years.  Whoo!

There are many more adventures to recount, of course, and hopefully I can get myself motivated to cover everything in better detail.  Since I have a huuuuuge backlog of posts (yes, I'm planning to do detailed posts of almost everything since October of last year--'yikes, she's bonkers!'), I hope to churn out a whole lotta posts in a relatively short amount of time.  I figure I'd try this before my workload increases and I have a reasonable excuse to neglect this blog yet again.

But, yes; life is pretty great, and I'm having a good time here.  As a sort of reconciliation, here's a pic of a burger phone from a local antique shop near my flat.

Looks good enough to eat!
'Til next time!

Friday, October 17, 2014


I guess the older I get, the less reliable I am to write blog posts.  However, I'm still going to try my best to be semi-regular with this blog, even though discussing grad classes isn't the most exciting thing in the world.  (Today, we learned about FRICATIVES!)  (Actually, that is pretty interesting.)

So far, my classes continue to be pretty awesome.  I feel that I'm at least keeping my head above the water, and I spend a lot of my time at one of the university libraries studying and researching for my potential dissertation.  I've met with a potential dissertation supervisor, and she's among the top scholars in her field: second language acquisition and English language teaching.  I've also become the "student course representative" for my program, which pretty much means no else volunteered.  Still, it means I get to interact with classmates and faculty concerning students' thoughts on the program, which will then be addressed by said faculty.

I've also managed to have some fun while not studying--generally, being able go goof off with Adam by watching ridiculous movies like Hocus Pocus and going to Manchester to see Kishi Bashi perform.

Intense violin playing!  How wild we are.
If you've never experienced Kishi Bashi's music before, I highly recommend taking a gander at his NPR Tiny Desk Concert recording.

I've been making a couple of acquaintances in class, and I really like the fact that our program consists of a very wide variety of ethnicities.  I'm one of the few native English speakers in our class, which, to me, is very cool.

We'll be off to Swansea next weekend, so I'll have much more to talk about thereafter.  Today is chore day for me, so I'm taking it easy and soaking in the ever-unreliable warm sunshine while I can.

Friday, October 3, 2014

First Week of Classes

So, this week has been filled with introductions, new classes, and adaptation.  I actually could have created an even more vague first sentence, but this one is pretty satisfactory when it comes to not explaining the intent of this post at all.

If that first paragraph didn't make that much sense, it's mostly because my brain is fried from my first week of classes.  I won't really go into the whole, "Wow, things are so different making the transition from working grunt to full-time masters student" spiel, since we all kind of get it, at this point.  It is interesting, though, to be participating in a program where I have absolutely no theoretical background in the field.  Though a linguistics undergraduate degree is not required for this masters program, it's still a little bit intimidating to be diving head first into an entirely new type of learning, thinking, and analysis.  It's pretty cool, though!

For one, I get to make funny sounds (eventually) in my Phonetics class to analyze classifications of the sounds of language.  I get to make "language trees" in Syntax to dissect sentences and realize that "correct grammar" is a looser term than previously believed.  I get to push my comfort levels in Language Acquisition by looking at the different approaches that previous linguists have taken toward making sense of language categories.  (That last one I've been struggling with a bit--not necessarily because it doesn't make sense, but keeping track of all of the different views.)  So, while it's stressful to think about and take in all at once at an alarmingly accelerated pace (one year?!?), at least most of the material will retain my interest.

We're waiting on our financial aid to kick in, so there probably won't be many day trips in October.  Swansea still looks like a possibility, so fingers crossed for that.  We'll be having a couple of visitors within the coming month, which includes my lovely friend Jane!  Whoo hoo!  I'm sure we'll get into all sorts of shenanigans when she's here in Leeds.

Well, that's it from me today.  I'll probably do a photo-heavy post soon, instead of slightly panicked posts about graduate school.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First Week in Leeds

Hello, everybody!

It's been quite a busy week, what with acclimating to city culture, getting supplies for the apartment, adjusting to living without a cat (slightly joking), and running around to different lines to become a fully registered postgraduate student.  Things have been breezily settling into place, though, and I've had plenty of time to relax and explore Leeds.  Though it's not the prettiest city I've been to, it's very easy to live here--if that makes any sense.  My adjustment period has been very short (compared to the same period when I moved to Celle in 2009), and I like the area where I live...even if there are blasted young people who do young people things at night.

Some observations I've made in the week I've lived here:

  • When people say "Cheers" to you, it's most likely they are not referring to the well-beloved '80s sitcom of the same name.
  • It is perfectly acceptable to express calm impatience/polite irritation to other queue-goers while waiting in your fifth queue of the day--all to get a little card with your picture on it.
  • "Sorry," "please," "You all right?," "love," and "Ta" are regular parts of the British-English language.
  • The Brits can actually make pretty good lattes.
  • The students here dress like 1980s caricatures.
  • The Brits' legs of steel are second only to the Germans'.
  • It's pretty cloudy here.
I'll admit that those weren't all that funny, but cut me some slack.

I've been exploring a few places around Leeds, such as York (as aforementioned) and Headingley, which is a community within Leeds.  If I recall correctly, Headingley is where J.R.R. Tolkien lived while he taught at the university.  I'm hoping to be able to go somewhere this week, too, since I'll be starting classes next Monday.  (Once classes start, I'm hoping to be able to set a nice routine.)

On a random note, I may be going to Swansea, Wales near the end of October.  More info the come, if it happens.