Sunday, April 22, 2007

Good Times

I had a really good time at a house party last night. I got to hang out with a Russian who grew up in Siberia and had travelled all around Kazakhstan, a real cool Japanese woman who had come to Vienna to study Akkadian and (old) Middle Eastern history (oriental is still offensive in English right? So I guess I won't say she studies Orientalistik then), and argue with an Austrian going study history in Kyrgyzstan about the official status of Russian in Kazakhstan. Fun, well for me anyway. I also got to hang out with some people from my Russian classes in a social setting which was really cool. I was wearing my DDR t-shirt (no, not 'dance, dance, revolution,' but Deutsche Demokratische Republik, German Democratic Republic in English) which admittedly I don't have any good ideological reasons for wearing, I just thought it was a cool t-shirt, a nice souvenir from Berlin, and with a coat of arms hardly any American would recognize. Well, a girl from my Russian class asked me why I was wearing the t-shirt, and I taking her to be an Austrian said something sarcastic along the lines of me supporting the socialist goals, but meaning 'leave me alone I like the t-shirt.' Anyway, it turned out it was always easier for me to understand her and she seemed generally more cold and North German like because she was German, and from East Germany at that. So we had a pretty good conversation and then I told her about my East German test from my days in Berlin when I wanted to know who was from West Germany and who was from East Germany, but I didn't want the East Germans blowing up in my face (saying and I quote: What does it matter now! We are all Germans now! It shouldn't make a difference). West Germans of course were quite happy to say they were west German, but if I knew in advance who was what I wouldn't need to ask to begin with. So my test was to tell people I spoke some Russia and if they chimed in with "'oh I ha some Russian in school, but I have forgotten a lot of it" I knew they were east German, She was amused. Anyway, good night, good people.

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