Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I have done a lot of thinking about Mr. Sanford and his lady problems. In the end I came to a conclusion: I do not think that politician should have to resign his or her post if they cheat on their spouse. If they did, there would not be any politicians left.
When the story first broke, I remembered a clip that I watched on The View. (Why do I watch "The View" online? I don't know. It is like a giant train wreck that I cannot turn away from.) Anyway, the young one, Elisabeth, made the comment, "If someone breaks that most sacred covenant, marriage, how are we supposed to trust him to lead?" Boy, is she going to be in a rude awakening if she ever finds her husband cheating on her.
However, I think her comment is typical of American views regarding politicians and marital fidelity. Americans often expect their politicians to be Übermenschen. These Supermen never cheat on their wives, are not over weight, do not smoke and always put the interest of the little guy first. On the other hand, Americans want politicians who "are just like them." Therein lies the contradiction.
Europeans have a decidedly different view of these matters. Your private life is your private life. Period. Nicolas Sarkozy left his wife and children to marry a supermodel, and he is still President of France. If anything, the French love their new first lady. Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was on his third or fourth wife when he was first elected. I am not sure which, It was hard to keep track sometimes.
The Governor of my lovely Bundesland, Lower Saxony, is an even better example. When Christian Wulff was first elected in 2003, his campaign featured large posters of the handsome young politician and his beautiful wife and daughter. In 2006 he left his wife for his new girlfriend and in 2007 he was divorced. By the end of 2007 his girlfriend was pregnant. In January 2008 he was reelected, in March got married, and in May had a son. The only person who found this all a tad strange (i.e. portraying himself as a family man to get elected and then leaving his wife and living with his pregnant girlfriend) was me. The Germans never batted an eyelash.
Sadly, spouses cheat on each other. This does not disqualify a person from being an elected official and is something left behind closed doors. As I approach my 5th wedding anniversary and watch my toddler getting bigger, the black and white view that I had about cheating has gotten a lot grayer.
However, leaving your family, including your four sons, over Father's Day weekend to visit your mistress in Argentina and not tell anyone, which you know will lead to wild speculation, and then using the story of King David to defend yourself . . . well, that just makes you an IDIOT, and may be a reason to step down.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
So I just spent a few hours working on my research newsletter and putting together some emails for work. Still need to print out the test I am giving in my English class tomorrow, but then I am done for work for the day. I even had about 20 minutes to eat a diet pudding and surf the Internet. I came across this.
Thought provoking and right on so many levels.
Up this afternoon: the pool with the boys. When the Dude goes to bed tonight at 7, I will probably do another hour of work and then sit on my patio with the German and a bottle of wine.
I will never be a tenured professor, but when I think of all that I have, I am completely okay with it.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Last night I turned off my computer around 10:15pm. It had been a productive and simple day. The German was flicking through the channels and I went upstairs to bed.
Around 7am I was awoken by the Dude stirring. As always, I went downstairs to get him a glass of milk and put on the morning coffee (or Mama's Juice as we call it). Every morning I turn on my computer and have a quick look at the headlines and email before heading back upstairs to get the boys up.
My landing page, Yahoo, said, "He died too young," and there was a picture of Michael Jackson. Huh? I knew that Farrah Fawcett had died the day before, so I thought they had mixed up the information. But, no, it was true, the King of Pop was gone.
It was very strange. When I told the German, he just sort of stared. We both grew up listening to Michael Jackson. For some he was the Jackson 5, for me was always the guy on the cover of "Bad." The German said to me, "You know I always thought that he would die young and I wondered what it would be like. But this is just unexpected."
Farrah was just a few years before my time, but Michael Jackson's success in the 80's and early 90's, as well as the rise of MTV, were part of the soundtrack of my youth. When everyone was just standing in front of a camara swaying to music, he made music videos into movies.
About seven years ago, when the German and I first met, we hung out a lot at my apartment in Oldenburg. One night we watched the controversial documentary in which he argued that there was nothing wrong with children sharing his bedroom. Back then the German and I wondered aloud about how sad and lost he looked. For a man that had everything, in the end he had nothing.
Say what you will about his private life, but he endured a lot as a child and always soldiered on with his music. Perhaps he did make mistakes, big ones. But in the end, not even music was not enough. He was just too darned tired.
I hope you find your peace, Michael.
I know the words to so many of my songs, so picking the best is difficult, but this is definitly one of my favorites. Hit it.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
So do I. In fact, I voted for him once a long time ago. You KNOW I have got something to say about this. However, I am tried and do not want to get myself all worked up. Therefore, I will be back tomorrow to deal with this insanity.
(I think he looks strangely like Dad-Squared. Although I am confident that Dad-Squared was not in Argentina over the weekend.)
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
For me this decision was completely natural as it was totally unnatural to speak German to my child. Also, I did not know any songs in German so instead of silence I picked American nursery rhymes. The German speaks German to the Dude.
Because I am the only English speaker the Dude knows, I reinforce the language via books, CDs, and DVDs. Baby Einstein (particularly Baby Noah these days) is very popular in our house. Also, I speak English with the Dude everywhere, not just at home: the local swimming pool, play group, even the grocery store. As a result I speak more English at home at the German has even picked up more. Since giving birth, the amount of German in the home has actually decreased.
Out of this has come a Deutsch-English mix: Dinglish. As I reported, the Dude has indeed started to talk. Most of his vocabulary consists of words that exist in both languages: mama, papa, ball. Some words however are a bit different. I have taught him "thank you." For weeks he would say, "dank du." But now it comes out "danke," i.e. the German form.
His favorite word is "nein." I was a bit sad because I felt that the Dude was not picking up on English. Today he proved me wrong. I went to put him in his car seat so that we could go to the store. When I took his stuffed animal away in order to buckle the belt, he shouted, "No!" I was estatic. Later, after lunch, he looked at his empty plate and raised his palms, "Aww Ga." I think he was trying to say "all gone."
It appears that the Dude knows that Mama has a different language. It is our secret language and thus he must use those words with me. He knows to switch with people who do not use the secret language. Maybe I am just a really proud mom, but there is a light on behind those eyes which makes me very happy.
Over the weekend we had a visitor. A good friend from Canada came to see the sites in Wildeshausen. After that 30 minutes we spent most of the time just hanging out. It blew the Dude's world that someone else spoke the secret language. He was very shy and did not know what to say. But he is after all, my son, so he was able to babble regardless.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
I am a big kid now.
Originally uploaded by govt23
Life goes on here in Wildeshausen. Lots of funny things to report, but I cannot seem to get motivated to write. I actually have a list of blogs in my head. Must put them on paper . . . or html . . . or whatever the internet is.
Until then, the Dude just keeps getting bigger and bigger. For those who are counting, and those that are not, he is 16 months old. He can walk, talk, drink out of his cup. A real big kid.