well. i wrote the subject line, then went on facebook and spent 20 minutes looking through all of christian’s profile pictures, which perfectly illustrates my current problem. i cannot focus on one thing for more than five minutes. this bodes as well for final papers and exams as you’d imagine.
in my perfect world, school would be a place where you are able to choose whichever books you’d like to read out of a set era/theme/author/whatever, and then classes would just be places to discuss them without the added pressure of presentations and exams and formal essays and all that nonsense. there would obviously be oral feedback in class, and then perhaps a written component — a response paper, a piece of artwork/photography with a description, a short playlist of songs the literature evoked while being read. class would be a relaxed affair; a theme here, a powerfully evocative quote there, speculation about a minor character’s sexual orientation here, debate about symbolism there. final exam would be completely subjective; simply a longer and more detailed response to one or all of the texts studied, and the grade would depend solely upon the critical analysis and clarity of thought.
i don’t know why all that reminded me of this memory, but it does: the night before i went to greece, a bunch of us were at a friend’s flat playing drinking games before going to oceana, a huge club here (we ended up going somewhere else, but that’s inconsequential to the story). i introduced them to the game “kings”/”kings cup”/”ring of fire” (everyone has a different name for this game), which, if you don’t know the rules, i’m not going to spell out because it would take way too long. but basically, every card has a ‘rule’; so if someone chooses, say, a 2, it means “you”, which means they choose someone to drink; 3 is “me”, so the person would take a sip of their drink, so on and so forth. at one point peter drew a king, which meant he would make a rule we’d all have to adhere to until someone broke it (and would then have to drink). he looked around for a minute, deliberating, and then declared, “no one can speak english.”
did i mention these were all my erasmus friends?
thus followed the most hilariously confusing five minutes; our own small revival of babel clustered around that small living room table — italian, german, slovenian, french, polish, and spanish flying back and forth meaninglessly. i would have been offended as i was the only one in the room who spoke english as a first language, but thankfully my french was up to par and i was even able to continue directing the game, although admittedly with more hand gestures than i had been using before. the spell was broken when steffen accidentally abandoned his german to ask me a question. ha ha.
it’s a bittersweet memory; sweet because i didn’t feel, as i sometimes do, like such an obvious outsider among a group of europeans; but bitter, because i know that kind of opportunity will rarely present itself when i go back home, if at all.
leaving in 38 days.