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Monday, July 26, 2010

Summertime update: Time to reflect.


I’m taking a class at Rutgers from 6-10 at night twice a week. It’s a tough semester-long class that I need to get a B+ in which Rutgers has condensed into eight weeks. The short time-span results in enough homework to make me feel like I’m taking a whole load of classes. I'm also stressing out about subjunctives, false-friends and pathetically enough, commas. I’m also busy as always helping to organize/promote Yiddish related events, especially on Facebook. This week that’s meant editing product descriptions on a Cafepress store, cataloguing hours-worth of Yiddish video/audio media and tracking down leads about a symposium that may or may not have happened fifteen years ago. I’m also editing the first draft of a third version of a document (manifesto/do it yourself guide) on plans/schemes to get Yiddish speakers to speak Yiddish more often and to get more people to learn it using minority language laws. Think language revitalization meets an Oprah style pep-talk meets community organizing, meets sociolinguistic models of language decline, write the thing IN Yiddish, keep it to less than 20,000 words and you’ll get a vague idea of what I’m putting together. I try not to focus on the fact that I started writing said document in 2008 and thought I’d been done in three months (my goal now is summer 2011!!!), but heck, I’m getting there. Slowly but surely. Maybe the English translation of said manifesto will be done before a friend of mine insists the world will end in December of 2012. Which reminds me. Wasn’t the world supposed to end in 2000 anyway?

Now some confessions/apologies intertwined with a few explanations and excuses: I’ve done exactly what I promised myself I wouldn’t i.e. I’ve gone way too long without updating this blog. In truth, my primary goal in maintaining this blog has been to make sure I continue writing regularly, so that when I really need to write it will come to me naturally. And since I’ve been busy writing other things I don’t feel like I’ve particularly failed at this goal. I just haven’t been able to keep up with this blog as well as it deserved. In particular I regret not having written more short pieces about my time in Spain since that’s what the few people actually following this blog wanted to keep tabs on and it’s the topic that will most interest me thirty years down the road. (As a consolation there are some good long pieces about my time in Spain on this blog). It’s also been too long since my side-trips to Israel, England/Wales and Lithuania to recall exactly what I did in what order and to give my impressions thereof in the form of precise reportages. Still, with nearly four months behind me since my trip to the UK and about 2.5 since my trip to Israel, I can give a different type of reportage composed of the impressions which remain with me based on the salient details that have been successfully transferred from my short to long-term memory. And so many of my upcoming blog entries will be written about my six months abroad from the (relative) comfort of my normal American summer life, reaching backwards as it were through my imperfect memory to preserve an understanding of the recent past. Of course, my memory of my time abroad has been colored by recent events. This is especially true of my time in Israel where recent dark (and ridiculous) political upheavals have caused me to reinterpret much of what I saw in the holy-land. My memories of the somber-curmudgeony Spaniards have also been somewhat altered by their joyous celebrations during the World Cup. And the (semi)-revelation that all of the good British food I ate in Britain was Welsh and/or Cornish and not English, has again caused me to doubt that there is any good native English cuisine other than fish and chips.

From where I am now, I’ll take a little time to reflect.. Here goes nothing.