THE PARENT FILES: Rendesvous With Goethe
Within this blog I’ve often mentioned the single most important, pivotal event of my life – i.e., the seven months I spent wandering through Europe and the Middle East when I was 18.
For reasons I cannot fathom, German came easily to me and, as a result, I spent significant time in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I still dream in German every now and then. For those who think German is an ugly, guttural language, you have never read or heard German poetry. It is a musical, incredibly expressive language. I defy you to find the poetic equivalent for angst or zeitgeist in any language. You won’t. The list of German words that cannot easily be defined in any other language is endless.
My wife and I just talked with our son via Skype videoconference. He is jet lagged, hungry, and about to go out to try to find food in a small German town where he will spend the next two weeks attending German language classes by day and practicing what he has learned at night.
Or at least that is the plan. I really don’t know how much German he will be able to pick up in this short time. I know he isn’t me. I know he doesn’t have the same gift for learning new languages that I had at his age. But I am still hoping that this is the start of a chain of events that will act as a foundation, and an incentive, for more intensive study later. I want, if possible, for him to experience the pleasure and insight the exposure to German provided me.
And if not, at least I can say to myself that I did my best to make it so.