Monday, December 8, 2008

First Married Christmas Tree

This weekend we bought a Christmas tree and decorated it together. This is not the first year that we've gotten a tree, but I consider this one special because it was the first one we did together while married. Our first legitimate Christmas tree, if you will. (Joke!) I had thought to mark the occasion with Christmas music and eggnog, but we forgot to buy eggnog at the store, we both dislike 99% of all Christmas music, and also we didn't have enough lights for the tree and had to stop in the middle and buy more, so... well, when we finally did decorate it, it was in more of an efficient style than anything else, and the football game was on in the background. Go us.


But the tree itself is lovely. And the purchase of it was about 994568275937 times easier than last year. My sister helped us transport it (as last year), but this year, instead of going to Home Depot, we pulled into the first suburban tree lot that we found, and it turned out it was full of lush, glorious trees. We picked one out, they tossed it in the back of our truck, and we were on our way. The whole thing took under ten minutes. It was fabulous.

Anyway, we decorated the tree in our own unorthodox, unromantic way, and then we fought over who got to photograph it with the D90. OK, not really. But we both do love that camera. Torsten took the regular shots and I played with the macro. And really, it was playing, and for basically the first time, which is why I have very little to show for it. But here's a couple of my favorite shots, and you can find a few more here.




Also this weekend, I finally got around to installing the German Rosetta Stone course that I got through work and doing the first couple of lessons. This course is so, so much better than the one I tried last year. It starts at the beginning! It makes sense! It's interesting! It combines lots of different lessons into one without being overwhelming! I understand what I'm doing and I feel like I've actually learned something when I finish each lesson! All of these, you understand, are ways in which this course differs from the last one I tried.

But here's what pisses me off. German is HARD. I mean seriously, three genders is bad enough anyway, but then the really bad part is that the genders aren't straightforward like French. OK, French genders are somewhat random, but at least certain words have the obvious gender, like, oh, I don't know, "woman" is feminine and "man" is masculine? In German, "girl" is neutral. ARGH. And, in French, adjectives change depending on the gender of the noun they modify, but only in one way. So a man is "intelligent" and a woman is "intelligente" with an added E. The end. But in German? Let's say we're talking about a red apple. Well, the apple can't just be RED. It depends whether it's "a red apple" (roter) or "the red apple" (rote) or "the apple is red" (rot) OR "I have a red apple" (roten). DOUBLE ARGH.

So, my plan is that since this time the course makes sense, even if the language itself is difficult? I'm going to stick with it and really bloody learn some basic German for once, but I am also not going to allow Torsten to TELL his parents that I'm learning it. That way, there will be no expectations. And the next time we get to Germany I can casually drop some German in conversation and give them a happy surprise. Assuming, of course, that I ever learn any. Which is not a guarantee.

41 comments:

cady said...

i love how you call it your first legitimate tree. haha. i love the ornament shots. i have a feeling joe will be taking pictures like that when we put up our tree.

Nilsa said...

I love that you guys are establishing your own traditions - only a month after your wedding! And Sweets wants to learn Spanish by way of the Rosetta Stone ... I may purchase it for him for Christmas...

DCMomma said...

How fun. Love the tree, and was laughing about the german rosetta stone. That sounds so hard, you are awesome for doing rosetta stone!

Stefanie said...

In German, "girl" is neutral? Yeah, that's just weird. I guess I'm glad I took Spanish.

Also, pretty pictures!

Jessica said...

Pretty tree! We got ours this weekend too, the grossly underestimated the number of light strands that we'd need. We had to go back out the next day and get two more strands of lights =)

pseudostoops said...

I took a year of German in college and the cases and genders nearly killed me. I'm good with languages generally, and the only thing I can remember is "ich spreche keine deutch" and "sprechen sie Französisch?" Helpful!

I guess what I'm saying is- I feel your pain, and admire your fortitude.

K.Rae said...

German lesson time!!!

Madchen is neutral because it ends with -chen, which is diminutive. Therefore, Brotchen is also neutral. Genders become a lot easier as you gain an understanding of word endings.

Also, it took about six years of study for me to really "learn" adjective endings. So yeah, it's super duper hard. But are your in-laws really going to care if you miss an adjective ending? No. They'll just be like, "What a charming daughter-in-law we have!"

Urbanvox said...

Hey!
Congrats!!!
I am also learning another language... Hebrew.
Going back to the ruts!! LOL!

Zya!

Urbanvox said...

Hey!
Congrats!!!
I am also learning another language... Hebrew.
Going back to the ruts!! LOL!

Zya!

claire said...

But do you find that you're actually learning the rules on Rosetta Stone? I am sort of seeing that they're just giving you the phrases without explaining the "why"s, you know?

I'm having some trouble with that. I'm trying to re-learn Italian, which i took in school for a bunch of years so i understand the rules of romance languages. But if i tried something like Greek, i'd have absolutely zero grasp of the concepts.

Sizzle said...

I am really bad with languages. I WANT to be good but I am not. Sad Sizzle fact.

Getting my tree was super easy as my Mom bought me one and brought it over. Woo! Your tree looks so pretty. :-)

d e v a n said...

Love the tree!! Sorry about German being hard. I think it's so difficult to learn a new language as an adult, but so great! Keep it up!!

Jennifer said...

I remember thinking that Latin was difficult, but I think German sounds more difficult!

Alice said...

oh, what a cute tree! i can't get one this year because the cats are still too... uh.. "spazzy," would be the nice way of putting it. the tree would last about 12 hours before it was completely destroyed. i'll go ahead and wait until bella's a little older and hopefully a little calmer.

heidikins said...

I love your tree, very cute. I also love that you are learning German. The genders will come (I took 2 years of German in jr. high and I can't help but remember it.)

xox

emmaelizabeth said...

yay for the tree :) pretty!

artemisia said...

What a cute tree! I bet it smells great.

How funny. I thought learning German was easy. The gender thing is a bit weird, but not crazy. No, crazy is Russian.

Russian? THAT LANGUAGE KICKED MY ASS ALL OVER THE PLACE. *whimper*

SLynnRo said...

So Rosetta Stone is good then? Michael Phelps tells no lies.

Swistle said...

Ha ha ha! I thought you were going to say that you would learn German and not tell his parents so you could understand what they were saying!

houndrat said...

Your tree is lovely! That's funny--I just wrote about our tree too--I think hubby bought such a monster one that I'm afraid to decorate it. It may be end up being our first nude Christmas tree---maybe we'll start a tradition and save big on ornaments.
Good luck with the German--maybe staying monosyllabic is the way to go (as in pointing and saying "apple") :)

nancypearlwannabe said...

Your tree looks veeeeery similar to ours- white lights, purple and white ornaments. We're like tree twins!

Penny said...

yay tree! Yours looks better than ours, which is short and doesn't have enough ornaments. It is a sad tree. It's our first "pregnant with a toddler and OMG I don't care anymore get those damn ornaments on there" tree. A memory to be sure.

German sounds way hard. Good luck.

Deutlich said...

I *TRULY* empathize with your plight in learning to speak German.

Truly.

BS said...

Yeah, reason #1 (of many) why I didn't go to art history grad school is that I probably would have had to learn German. Good luck!

Tree looks lovely. Now I want one. But mine would be a Hannukah bush of course.

playintherain said...

I love it - and your ornament photos are fabulous!

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Oh My Goodness, I can relate to the language learning!

My boyfriend is Polish, and I've been trying to learn it since we met four years ago (mind you, being in University has made it hard to focus on language-learning too much, so I haven't been working as hard as I could have been yet).

Next summer we're going to Poland together for my first time ever, and I was sooo resolved to finally tackle learning the language in a more focused way... but so far, I still have not. I finally found a program though that I think will help me... but MY OH MY! What a difficult language to learn. There's no articles ("the", "a",etc) and a lot of meaning of words is defined by how you change the ending of a word. And the pronounciation isn't easy either.

I can't relate, my dear. I bet you'll do much better than I though with your German. I figure that I have years for Martin to keep teaching me, so perhaps ONE DAY I'll finally "get" Polish. We shall see. haha.

P.S. LOVE your tree! So cute! Great photos too!

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Clearly this:

I can't relate, my dear.

Was meant to be THIS:

I CAN relate, my dear.

Viviane said...

Beautiful Christmas tree!
I am not sure if this is going to help you but all nouns ending in -chen in German are neutral (das). Regardless of their actual gender.

sequined said...

German will get way easier the more you do it (like all languages, and also stuff in general). But the endings seem super hard at first, and they come increasingly naturally as you keep learning. Also, when you're actually over there, you can kind of just mumble endings and no one will know.

Ami said...

I took 4 years of German in high school and you are bringing back memories for me!

Bayjb said...

I love that you call it a married tree. It's very cute and I love that you call it that ;)

Surfergrrl said...

hmmm, remind me to take up french instead. :)

ccr in MA said...

Oh, nice tree! I'm not getting one this year, so I'm tree-ing vicariously through other people's. Thanks!

I agree, don't let Torsten's parents know you're learning German. That way you can go at your own pace, without them nudging. Good luck, or bonne chance to you.

N said...

which course did you try last year?

Kat said...

Thank goodness you finally legitmatized your Christmas tree. Just think how your other trees felt being bastards... LOL - good job on the tree and good luck with the German...

Maxie said...

Love the pictures! I want a "real" camera so bad. Why isn't santa real? :-(

Emblita said...

LOL my hubby (who speaks german btw) gets all sorts of upset with Icelandic (also 3 genders) But at least our conjugation is mostly regular (except when its not :þ)
Like say your red apple example with helpwords:
Hér er(here is)rautt epli
Um (about)rautt epli
Frá (from)rauðu epli
Til (to) rauðs eplis
So yeah... plus it conjugates differently in plural form and eh... both words must conjucate. I guess I'm trying to say "Hey lighten up on the german- at least its not Icelandic"
Although ... I could never get german. I learned french instead.

Catharina said...

Wow, I speak German, so I never realized how freaking hard those endings are! I'm sorry!!!

I think I would go for learning vocabulary first and then polishing up on the grammar.

Fabiola said...

Cute Christmas tree..! This weekend we put up the Christmas tree too.

Hiya, I'm Kristie. said...

The tree is absolutely lovely!

bren j. said...

Well I don't remember ANY of that from German Saturday School which goes to show how much I really paid attention (I DO remember snack time, however...).

The LG says 'zookah, zookah, zookah' which sounds a little to us like 'zucker' which, if I remember correctly, is German for sugar. That means our little LG's first (and so far only) 'real' word is German. Impressive!

Good on you for not telling the inlaws. Sneaky! ;)