Monday, February 21, 2005

Square 1, Day 1, Deutsche 1

Blame it on being married now, blame it on my spacey-ness, or blame it on the rain...I forgot to think about what to wear on the first day of German class. By no means am I fashion savvy: buying a pink fleece pullover would be adventurous for me, and I wore Birkenstocks to my civil service wedding. But I take the most pleasure, even become a little giddy, in planning for that first day of class. In years past I've laid combinations of clothes on the floor and gazed upon the two dimensional versions of me, unsure of how to judge their worth until I've manipulated the arms and legs into various dance positions.

After choosing a fleece and a pair of my Birkenstocks, I know it's not about the excitement of how I look or making first impressions. Once you've bought a fresh pack of your favorite pens, clothing is the last thing you have to think about as preparation for your first day. Of course it's the excitement of new beginnings. Of course it's the clean slate. Of course it's learning new things, meeting new people, and taking an active role in enriching my life. I even feel lucky that these examples seem so obvious to me. But more than that it's the day a cynic is allowed to be optimistic and hopeful. It's the feeling that you can wear the same clothes differently. It's the feeling of "even if I don't know what to do with my arms I can dance." It's the hope that an idea one day might rock your world so much, that a disco ball may as well drop out of the ceiling and impel the class to bump hips. From pre-school to grad school, I've never had a bad first day. Today was no exception.

As people introduced themselves and said where they were from I realized the only things I haven't unpacked are optimism and hope. Here were sixteen people who were so eager to laugh, interact, and who often seemed to be stoically looking at a time beyond their immediate environment. I recognized that look but knew my appearance wasn't reflective of their own. I desperately want it to be and I feel like this diverse crowd (represented by Czechoslovakia, Canada, Palestine, Spain, Poland, Turkey, Syria, Vietnam, Romania, Brazil, the United States, and Greece) gives me every reason to have newfound excitement, optimism, hope, and purpose here. In all my years of school I can't remember a bad second day. In preparation for that, I'm going to buy my books and look for a new pair of pants.

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