Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ich liebe Deutschland

As many of you know by now, my wonderful, beautiful, and amazing fiancee is German. She is very fluent in English, but of course I want to learn the language of my soul mate. I have always wanted to learn a new language, so this is an amazing and serendipitous opportunity to do so. 

I have been studying my hiney off in the form of audiobooks, textbooks, and workbooks. I have also been using an awesome iPhone app called Duolingo. I have been devoting an average of about 1 1/2 hours a day to learning German. Plus, Beate is awesome enough to help me on the phone all the time. She is tremendously supportive and patient with me while teaching me a new language.

Let me be honest: learning a new language is difficult. Learning the dialect, the word order forms, and the grammar rules can be intimidating in the beginning. But you know what? Learning a new language is freaking awesome! I have grown to fall in love with learning German. It is truly a fascinating and beautiful language. And it is so awesome to now see German writing and be able to recognize and decipher entire sentences! That may not sound like a big deal, but trust me it feels great to be able to realize that the studying is paying off. And even if I do not recognize every word in a sentence, I can sometimes piece together what the sentence is saying by recognizing many of the words.

Ich liebe lernen Deutsch!

It is so funny how something that you may initially look at as a chore becomes something that you end up loving. Learning German is not something I have to do, it's something I get to do :)

And that is an incredibly important distinction.

Have you ever learned a new language? If not, is there a particular language that you would like to someday learn?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

An Exhilarating Memory

This. Felt. Amazing. 

About 30 minutes away from where I live, there is an obscure waterfall in the middle of nowhere called Anglin Falls. It’s in a very remote area in the middle of the Daniel Boone National Forest. It’s so remote actually, that very few people who live in the same county even know about its existence.

It’s a relatively tiny waterfall. If waterfalls were an animal, Anglin Falls would be a squirrel, whereas Niagara Falls is an elephant.  But a waterfall's beauty cannot be measured in size. I usually go at least twice each summer. I especially love going after a few days of torrential rainfall, which of course makes the falls more voluminous.

So one random sunny day last summer, after four days of downpours, I knew the falls would be a ragin’. And boy were they ever. Of all the times I had been there, I had never seen it so alive. So I decided to do the only sensible thing - stand under it. 

Standing under the waterfall, letting the water wash all over me, and feeling its incredible power was one of the more exhilarating moments of my entire life. I will never, ever, forget that feeling. 

Is there a particular moment or memory in which you felt exhilaration? Perhaps you skydived once? Rode a scary roller coaster? Ate an entire bag of Oreos in one sitting? Please share a memory with us. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

This is why...

Oftentimes, people will ask me why I love mornings so much. Sometimes it's hard to explain to a non morning-loving person. But in moments like this I think to myself, they don't know what they're missing...

Do you like/love mornings? 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Silent Battles

When I got home from work last night, I was stunned to read the news about Robin Williams, comedian and actor, dead at age 63 from an apparent suicide.

He was the funniest actor I've ever seen in my entire life. The day after watching Mrs. Doubtfire for the first time, my abdomen was sore just from laughing so much the night before. He was that talented and that funny. 

His publicist said in a statement that he had been suffering from severe depression for the last few months.

When I was reading the story last night, there were several people in the comments section referring to Mr. Williams' suicide as a selfish act. I personally think that's a terrible thing to say. Imagine the depths of despair someone must be going through in order to take their own life. I have lost family members to suicide, and believe me they were not selfish people.

This is just another example of how the crippling stigma of mental illnesses is so pervasive and prevalent in our culture. This is also why so many people who suffer from depression are reluctant to seek help; because of the stigmatization that occurs as a result.

Depression does not discriminate based on wealth, fame, race, class, religion, gender, or any other demographic variable.

This is a time we should all lean on one another. We never know when someone is fighting a private battle. Here's hoping that they never have to fight it alone.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

True Heroes...

Image Source
Lately I have been following the news about the recent Ebola outbreak that is plaguing West Africa. It is the most deadly Ebola outbreak in history.

The Ebola virus is perhaps the deadliest virus known to man. It has a mortality rate of up to 90%. To this day, virologists still do not know the origin of the virus.

Recently, a pioneering Ebola Dr. fell victim to the virus while working to save Ebola patients. He succumbed to the virus four days after becoming symptomatic. Two other prominent Ebola doctors contracted the virus and are now being treated. Several other healthcare workers have died in this recent outbreak, contracting the virus from the very patients they are trying to save.  
What strikes me about this is how heroic these doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers really are. They are literally risking their lives to help these poor victims, knowing full well that they may contract the virus themselves. The amazing thing is, this does not stop them from helping. 

They are true heroes, in every sense of the word. They are not doing this for notoriety, fame, or money. In fact, most of them are donating their time and are not getting paid a penny. They are truly altruistic souls. 

Have you been following this news of the outbreak? What are your thoughts on these doctors and healthcare workers who are putting their life on the line?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Following Their Example

You look at these two little boys, one Palestinian, one Jewish, and you wonder why we can't follow their example. Children are not born to hate. They are socialized to hate. They are born peaceful and loving. As adults, we expect children to learn from us. But in reality, it is us who can learn from them.