Journal Entry

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"The Orange" in German

I had a terrific time this morning with the students (and some teachers) of Klasse 2E of Gymnasium am Münsterplatz.

(Despite what the word "gymnasium" means in English, there were no monkey bars or Nautilus machines in evidence; a Gymnasium in Switzerland is an academically-oriented high school -- it's interesting where the two languages went with the same root. This particular group of kids is specializing in Philosophy, Psychology, and Pedagogy -- which is pretty darn interdisciplinary by Swiss standards. They specialize early here).

They asked me in to talk to them during their "project week"; they were interested both in my career as a fiction writer, and also in my former career as a computer game programmer. I basically used this as an opportunity to tell my whole life story, from giving up writing as a college sophomore, to formally dropping out of Brown in order to actually learn Italian on my junior year abroad (and how the totally random decision to study in Siena rather than Perugia was an inflection point that, because I met and fell in love with Esther, determined the entire course of my subsequent life), to stalling the decision of what to do with my life by going off to a kibbutz ulpan, to life as a party clown and junior programmer amid the tangled highways of Silicon Valley, to taking up writing again, to househunting with friends in 2003 and failing to find a house with them... and so on. The moral, I guess, was that although they tell you you have to choose what to do with your life, in fact the path is random and chaotic and you may end up in very different places that you ever expected -- or in places you once abandoned hope of getting to -- and so you should probably focus on just doing things that are interesting and that you like and learn from, rather than on getting everything right.

I told them from the beginning of my talk that I planned to exploit them as unpaid labor, so, in the second half, we translated my story "The Orange" into German, and then watched the film of it.

Presenting here for the first time, translated by Klasse 2E of Gymnasium am Münsterplatz... "Die Orange"!

(Grossen Dank an euch alle!)

Posted by benrosen at June 19, 2013 02:32 PM | Up to blog
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