Saturday, October 29, 2011

Junkie's Child

I still remember the deserted hallways of childhood, gutted rooms—emotional outbursts from a mother who had more of a relationship with a heroin needle than me. During her succumbed moments, I roamed the building peeling off chipped paint and wallpaper. Sometimes venturing outside to find the drunks huddled next to the fire, rubbing their hands while their deformed red-veined noses dripped. A junkie’s child—guilt slowly packing in arteries from the anger I felt toward my mother. For all I know, my father could have left because of her destructive behavior. But I didn’t want to think that way, since it would mean he deserted me too.

Adolescence blended into adulthood. I still search for parts of me I left in abandoned buildings—parts that built the armor coat I wear now. My relationship with my mother ceased when the drugs destroyed her body—chewing her from the inside out. Her body spread across the bed, eyes rolled back into her head, the color of dirty snow and marked by the incessant addiction that gnawed at her day and night. Sometimes I lay awake thinking about her troubled soul, wondering what pushed her toward drugs. Then anger sets in.

Who cares?

She was a mother—supposed to take care of me. My memories of her are like lemon drops—first sweet then they gradually sour. I wished her compulsions involved me.

Betty Baker’s mom did everything for her. Betty lived in a part of the neighborhood where the influential manicured their lawns and maids assisted with the household agendas. In the halls at school or outside, clean and sparkly Betty passed me with disgust on her face, appalled by my appearance and speech. If I ever overstepped the boundaries between us, she’d gather as many people as she could with her blazing words until an adult put out the fire. Betty did her damage—I became the dust mite of the school—an irritation to the rest.

Until freshman year when I watched Betty get into a Cadillac and disappear forever. Rumor had it that she knew the person driving the Cadillac. Those who knew her swore she'd never be associated with someone like that. Betty’s body was deposited in a corner of one of the many buildings I lived in—like a dust mite. I never shed a tear for her.

“Rocks don’t crack as easily as eggs.” This is what my first therapist told me the last time I slept with him. I think my distance finally got to him. He wanted the neediness of an orphan, not the coldness of ice. I went through the motions without offering up any part of me. I smiled when he indirectly insulted me and then went through the Yellow Pages for the next available therapist. Shrinks coexist with me, if only for when I need a little distraction from work.
Every inch of my home remains spotless while everything has its place and purpose. I fired several maids for dirty floorboards, dull brass faucets and uneven towels. Every dust particle, every uneven item makes my heart palpitate—my soul screams at the past. I don’t want my mother living with me—her filthy spirit contaminating things. My sanitized life is atonement for her sins.

But it’s the blackest of nights, when I sit in my car controlling the rush of excitement, when I feel the most pleasure. I stare into the endless blackness and methodically remove my rubber gloves, tossing them into a box. I step outside, place the box on the ground and set it on fire. The flames lick at the air as the box disintegrates. It’s the first part of cleanup. I can’t leave any evidence behind.

The kill is something that needs a before, during and after—a story told in my head. Afterwards, any connection to me is erased.

Short Stories and mysteries,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Autumn Song by Dante Alighieri

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

And how the swift beat of the brain
Falters because it is in vain,
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf
Knowest thou not? and how the chief
Of joys seems--not to suffer pain?

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the soul feels like a dried sheaf
Bound up at length for harvesting,
And how death seems a comely thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

Burning leaves and hot chocolate,

Monday, October 24, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

I want to thank Belva Rae Staples at Mainley Mug Ups for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award.

Rules in accepting this award: Thank the person who nominated you. Tell 7 things about yourself and nominate 15 other newly discovered bloggers and let them know you nominated them.

7 Things about Me

1) I have a psychological suspense novel, Net Switch, coming out in early December.

2) I already published a poetry e-book, Sipping a Mix of Verse, with a blend of traditional poetry and free verse.

3) My favorite color is red.

4) My two favorite smells are brewing coffee and fresh popcorn.

5) Weekly Autumn Love: Food cooking in the crock pot, window open, popcorn and beer while watching football. Congrats! Da Bears won against the Buccaneers in Britain.

6) I lived in Germany for 5 months and MIGHT move back there for a year or two.

7) I love black licorice.

My 15 Versatile Bloggers are...

1)  (Victorious Secret) From Flab to Fab -

2)  Let go of the Past, live Today and create Tomorrow

3)  Pat Newcombe, Thriller Writer’s blog, (aka Writing saved my life) -

4)  Will Write for Cookies -

5)  Encouragement in a Difficult World: Biddy Bytes Blog -

6)  The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment -

8)  My Shelf Confessions -

9)  Janet Beasley JLB Creatives – Creativity Imagination Dreams - 

10) The bitchy Waiter -

11)  Mr. London Street -

12)  Bourbon &  Pearls -

13)  What do you mean I should start a blog?

14)  La Belette Rouge -

15)  A Beer for the Shower -

Awards and audiences,

Friday, October 21, 2011

Baery Scary Halloween

I was never one for horror movies—blood—but I loved scary movie shows when I was young: Creature Feature, Twilight Zone and Svengoolie. We looked forward to Saturday nights to watch these shows. Of course they don’t even come close to being scary now, but at the time they were awesome. They were simple movies that served their purpose—entertain and scare.

Just like trick or treating, an all out evening adventure. There were no time limits to trick or treating, and there weren’t really Halloween parties. My trick or treat days began when candy scares first started—razor in an apple or candy. I think there was a mixture of urban legend and truth to the stories, yet it didn’t stop my mother from checking. We poured out our candy on the floor and she picked out her favorites, unwrapped them as she explained she was checking to make sure they were all right for us to eat.

But it didn’t matter that she was checking, because we emptied our pumpkin buckets so we could head out for more. We rang doorbells until 10:00 p.m. and told other children which houses not to go to because they were giving out pennies. Pennies! Can you believe it?

I grew up on a street that was full of children—young couples moving into this new division to raise a family. When I was really young, there wasn’t much to choose from in the way of costumes. Stores were loaded with plastic masks, pants and shirts. Below is a picture of me wearing one of my Halloween costume. 
As we got older, my neighbor’s mother used to make his costumes. I was so jealous because one year she made him a Jaws costume. It was awesome.

I miss those easy days of figuring out what to wear on Halloween and trick or treating with friends and family without worry. Colored leaves accumulating along the curbs with candy wrappers and costumes that couldn’t hold up to the challenging hours. The smell of burning leaves in the distance.

Smarties and Mary Janes,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

It Makes Cents

This weekend I read a blog post about book advances—about how they could hurt a writer. After reading it, I realized it makes sense, yet I never really thought about it before.

For those outside of the writing community, the publishing world has changed since the ’60s and ‘70s where authors became rich off their talent, and a household name. Traditional publishing houses began tightening their purse strings, and grew hesitant on taking chances with new writers as opposed to committing to high profile names. If you look at the books out there now, you’ll see more than ever, books published by celebrities (90% of them written by ghostwriters). Writers became frustrated with the way they were treated by agents and publishers, so when they saw a market in technology they went for it. Writers took the opportunity to self-publish by utilizing e-books. You can learn more about e-books and self-publishing on Joe Konrath’s blog.

As for the book advances, traditional publishing houses, Simon & Schuster, Random House to name a few, give authors advances with their signing contracts. These advances are given because the publisher believes they will make a large profit on the book. Let’s say Marsha gets a $25,000 advance on her book. She will not make any more money until she sells enough books to hit the $25,000. Nowadays, this is very difficult to do because of all the competition out there. If Marsha’s hard cover costs $25.00, she would need to sell 1000 copies to hit $25,000. If her soft cover costs $14.95, she would need to at least sell 1700 copies. This is very difficult to do for an up and coming author.

Book advances can also hurt a writer’s chance to publish again through traditional methods if they didn’t sell their first book as predicted. Fortunately, publishing houses haven’t requested the money back on advances. Yet.

Today’s times show that people want things at their fingertips. Unlike me, most people don’t enjoy browsing around a bookstore, looking at the covers, reading synopses and leaving with an armful of books. Believe it or not, it’s only a matter of time before e-books outsell print copies everywhere (here’s a link regarding Amazon sales). Unfortunately, this means our brick and mortar bookstores will slowly disappear. Majority of people do not want to waste their money on a hard cover book—they look for cheap and usually online. I’m not saying selling large quantities of print books is impossible, but as a new writer without an audience, you had better have a great book and a fabulous marketing/promotion strategy.

Writing a book is a small part of publishing. There’s so much more involved in getting it together and ultimately promoting it. I could say that most writers dislike the promoting part of publishing. We want to write, not research on how we’re going to get our name out there. But the fact is if we don’t promote and have people spread the word, then the titles of our books will fade away in a warehouse or in the virtual world. Promotion is key in getting your book in as many hands as possible. Those authors who get large advances should use it for promotional purposes, because like self-publishing, writers who go through the traditional methods are basically in charge of marketing their book, too. Some publicity is given, but not much. Writers are up against hundreds of books published each day either electronically or traditionally. It’s funny that most people think authors are rich. Unfortunately, majority of writers are lucky to sell 40 books a year.

One last thing I’d like to share is an article regarding Penny Marshall’s Memoir. “Amazon Publishing won the rights to the book and will issue both a traditional print and a digital edition.”

Promote and prosper (as best you can),

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Art of Reading

Cover Art is one of the most important aspects of a book. It’s the first thing that captures the attention of a reader—willing them to pick it up—and intrigue them enough to buy it.

This week I’ve been working on the contents of my design and figuring out the cover art. I have put my hands into every aspect of my book, author website and trailer to name a few, to have a better appreciation about what it takes to publish and promote a book. This doesn’t mean I’ll be using these cover art ideas, but I thought I’d get your input.

Since I rely on my blog for many things, decisions, discussions and thoughts, I figured why not get your thoughts and reactions. It doesn’t mean the best choice is going to be our (me and my publisher’s) choice, but it will let us know if the cover art is appealing and if we’re headed in the right direction.
If we decide to use one of these pictures for the cover art, and you picked it, you’ll automatically be entered to win a free autographed copy of my book. I know…very exciting.  I’ll have a future contest, which will be posted at a later date.  

The pictures don’t have the title of my book or my name. I’ll post pictures and number them. Let me know which picture(s) you like, why or why not. What do you think when you look at the picture, scared, eerie, beautiful? Please leave all comments on my blog. If you don’t have a Gmail account, you can always post as “anonymous”.

Picture # 1 

Picture # 2 
Picture # 3

Picture # 4

Picture # 5

Picture # 6

Picture # 7

Picture # 8

Picture # 9

Picture # 10
Picture # 11
I’m looking forward to your thoughts.

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's that Time of the Year!

Sit down. Start writing. I am itching to do that…to start something new. After a year of revising my psychological suspense novel, Net Switch, I’d love to jump into something fresh and different. I even have a title, but that’s it.

The fun month is approaching…National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)…a month where you sit your butt down and write your heart out. The goal is to write a novel of at least 50,000 words. It starts on November 1 and ends at midnight on November 30. There is worldwide  participation. You can sign up on their site at National Novel Writing Month. In the past, I’ve heard some people make it a family event in which they each attempt to write a novel. It’s a great way to write what you like, and utilize your time. Even if you don’t complete the task, you might have the meat for a great short story.

My novel came from my 2008 participation. I joined to see if I could do it—I did—and because of it I received a badge stating I was a “Winner NaNoWriMo 2008” (still on my blog). After that, I put it aside, happy that I accomplished writing 50,100 words in a month. But as fate would have it, someone read it and encouraged me to publish it. 

Three years later, over 75,000 words, my book will be in print just in time for the holiday season.

If you know of anyone with imagination and writing skills, or you want to challenge yourself to a creative competition, then I highly encourage you to signup now and put on your idea cap. It’s the perfect time to prepare for a month of writing—letting your imagination run wild. I’d love to know if anyone is interested in joining. 

I’m pretty busy with things going on in my life, but I can’t seem to ignore this writing itch. Maybe I'll be able to juggle it.

Scratch and create,

Friday, October 7, 2011

Poetry Guest Blogger - Chris

Hello Everyone!

I have a treat for all you poetry and culture lovers. My  poetry guest blogger is Chris. Chris lives in Australia and Singapore and has a list of writing accomplishments.

“His newest collection: ‘The Bearded Chameleon’ explores cultural adoption as a convert to Sikhism. ‘The Laughing Buddha Cab Company’ (2007) looks at Asia through a series of taxi rides. Mooney-Singh’s fiction has appeared in ‘The Best of South-East Asian Erotica’, ‘The Best of Singapore Erotica’, ‘Love and Lust in Singapore’ and ‘Crime Search: Singapore’. Has several guest appearances at festivals. “Two short plays were produced for the Singapore Short and Sweet festival in 2008 and 2009. He was a guest at the Austin International Poetry Festival (2003), the Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival (2004) and the Kuala Lumpur International Literary Festival (2007), the Salt of the Tongue Festival and the Melbourne Overload Poetry Festival in 2010.”  

Chris was kind enough to answer some questions for me and share his knowledge, experience and one of his poems. Enjoy.

1)  Chris, you are currently attending Monash University, Melbourne as a post-graduate research scholar. Could you please explain in detail what exactly you do for your post-graduate studies?

A PhD on the Emergence of Asia in Australian poetry. My basic research explores how Australian poetry bears the influence of orientalism from the early 19th Century. Yet these influences internally found in the literature have not been accorded more significance, perhaps due to Anglo-European fears of Asia still felt up to the time of Australia’s White Australian policy which formally ended only as late as the late 1970s when the first Vietnamese refugees flooded into Australia after the end of the Vietname War. Since then, there has been a rising increase of poets engaged with traveling to and writing about Asia and also now Asian diasporic writing within Australia itself. This is a significant trend I believe. Now more than 10 percent of Australia’s population is of Asian origin and within 3-4 generations we may be in part a Eurasian society, perhaps the first of its kind in the world due to our small population and the reality of demographic mixing now occurring here.

2) You state that you travel between Singapore and Australia. It must be very interesting to experience two different cultures. Since I’m not familiar with either culture, could you name a few cultural differences between Singapore and Australia?

One is predominately a huge island continent western in outlook, but geo-economic realities are I believe pushing it to create closer cultural ties with the Asian region as it has economically done already. China is Australia largest trading partner for example. Singapore is the 3rd biggest banking hub in the world, and although only a tiny island of mixed Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian population is for its size one of the richest and most progressive countries in the world. Meanwhile, other than its indignenous tradition, Australian literary history dates from 1788, the beginning of the creation of the first British colony. Singapore formally a part of Malaysia has a modern history of less than 50 years. Both have English language literatures of contemporary sophistication, equal to other world literatures in English, despite the fact of domination by London and New York publishers do not work in their international favour. As Asia rises in economic importance and dominance, I believe these things will balance out. For example, Asian e-publishing alternatives are developing quickly and although Amazon is a huge monster dominating the web, it may not always be so.

3)  Along with your writing endeavors, you’ve been involved in many festivals in Singapore and Australia? Could you explain the differences between Singapore and Australian Literary Festivals?

Basically all literary festivals, especially officially government funded ones are the same all over the world, except that each country emphasizes different literary agendas according to its national and cultural interests. I am also the co-director of an emerging writers’ festival in Singapore which annually celebrates and supports the expression of new writing and performance. This is organized under The Writers Centre Singapore which is a body I and my co-directors set up as a non-profit arts organization.

4)  “The Laughing Buddha Cab Company” expresses the excitement of culture shock, which teaches us many lessons as well as shakes up our realization. Much of the book focuses on your experiences traveling in cabs from different perspectives. This is definitely something many people would love to hear about. Can you recall the most interesting perspective you encountered while gathering this book together and what was the subject matter?

The taxi cab poems are set mainly in Singapore and India. The taxi is both a real experience and a metaphor for what I see as intense capsule moments in time, not unlike the slowed down movement of the speeding bullet of a poem, looking at that moment’s human experience against an urban or developing world backdrop. Ours is moving so fast, and, in a sense human experience is the soft target that is a fragile and profound thing ironically under threat, given the global pace of things. I am interested in looking at core human experience and inherent spiritual poignancy in the world, asking the fundamental questions of who we are and why we are here, but in a contemporary and engaging time and way. Just like climate change issues, we are being pushed by globalization to ask the hard questions even more dramatically. A developing country like India throws up dualities and things in opposition again forcing us back on our existential selves. Many choose to ignore or block it out though. I have taken a lot of taxis in Singapore where I don’t own a car and never fail to learn something interesting about the driver, the place where we are driving, the relationship with myself and my co-passengers. Just as Blake says to cleanse the window of perception, being inside a taxi cab’s like being inside an all seeing eye. It’s a detached space moving from moment to moment and one can look through and see what is really happening. Catch a cab next time and become a ‘passenger’ in a life moment, become detached as a Buddha in the backseat and learn.

5) Below is your poem, The Bearded Chameleon, which I love, love, love. The way you describe a chameleon is fantastic, “Prehistoric, spiky, punk”. I also enjoyed the way you worked in the way you took shape in another place and time. These are great lines: “as I feel my oddness avalanche / into a vast primordial past / where man and lizard were one caste.”

When you sit down to write such a poem, do you already know how you’ll write it, lines and rhyme, or does this occur over edits?

The title poem of my new book was born from an actual experience in a Punjabi compound, but it evolved over several years (coming back to it several times) out of strongly cadenced verse into metical 4 beat tetrameter verse with rhyming couplets. The short metre and strong rhymes helped accentuate something of the lightly worn understanding and expressed with a sense of humour.  Writing about spirituality and religious themes is risky and this helped to make this approachable for myself and I believe the general reader. It was a kind of watershed poem where I addressed for the first time my conversion to Sikhism and also the long practice of metrical and formalist poetry skills I worked hard at improving from 2002. I put myself back into self-study to understand prosody and scansion, believing that a good poet should know the rules he or she might then break knowingly when writing open or free verse. I place as much importance on skill, technique and craft as I do on having original subject matter and thinking and now write in a mixture of open and formal ways according to inclination and occasion. If the message of Eliot and Pound is that we live in a wasteland of broken traditions, ie camping at ground zero between the ruins, we also have built modern skyscrapers and brick veneer suburbs there. Old and new coexist and my aesthetic view is that post modern poets can use it all, just we are forced to live lives through various changing identities like colour-shifting chameleons.

The Bearded Chameleon

A sci-fi thing, you shoot a tongue
above the compound, floored with dung.

Your sucker feet were born to grip.
Prehensile tail, a coiled whip

is clinging to the pipal trunk.
Prehistoric, spiky, punk

with membrane beard (a he or she?)
you blend in with the Buddha tree.

My sun-cracked soles have drawn some sap from green Punjab. An Aussie chap,

I chew on sugarcane each week
and sport this beard—a convert Sikh.

Now turbaned like a maharajah,
I‘d pass for Ranjit Singh, the Padshah—

a bit like you, chameleon—
a colour-shifting charlatan.

Yes, since I came in my blue jeans
to do write-ups for magazines

your form has been my best touchstone
on how to live here in The Zone.

A decade later, more or less
I still reside at your address

with farmers, trades-folk, holy men
who can‘t read books, or use a pen.

Neighbours greet me in the lane
from buffalo cart, stacked with cane

or two old uncles call: Come, sit
beside the hand pump.‘ There we spit

and chat of wheat and sugar‘s price
or winter‘s crop—basmati rice.

I wet my tongue, pretend what‘s best
and they are kind, pretend the rest.

A mascot white-man, or crackpot,
I walk to view the chilli plot.

You are a comfort on the branch
as I feel my oddness avalanche

into a vast primordial past
where man and lizard were one caste.

I‘ve learned to stand, chameleon.
My feet, like yours can now stick on.

I‘m changing colours far from home:
here nothing‘s shot in monochrome.

Suburbia was a dumb cartoon:
here, typhoid sweats through each monsoon;

and though dung-fires choke the breath
I feel alive as I breathe death.

A beard‘s the symbol of the sage.
In lizard-time—mine‘s under-age.

Sun-bathing is the reptile‘s art.
Daily, I make a clean, fresh start:

lather hair and beard with soap,
then wring it out as one wet rope;

next, oil and comb and wind the bun
and check my topknot in the sun;

I tie a turban, high with grace,
chameleon-ness—all now in place.

Our artery is the market lane—
village life is one food chain.

Strolling here, I bear the heat—
my adaptation seems complete.

I‘ve learned your culture-blending knack.
Have I moved up, or ten lives back?

After a walk, I will sit and stare—
I am king of an old cane chair.

My pen is like your sticky tongue.
I snatch my image-flies among

the geckoes, birds on tree or plant,
or dogs and pigs in excrement.

If I could train my mind or hand
not just to write, but understand

your stance and poise upon the tree,
chameleon, I might step free.

Dear dinosaur in miniature
who blends in well with any weather

yes, you have mastered with sharp eyes
the yogic art of catching flies.

Perhaps, I will, one-day, be free
to blend in with the Buddha tree.

I bow, pranam, dear bearded friend—
my weird barometer till the end.

Sent with Writer.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Cautionary Tale

I want to express my concerns and give everyone who reads my blog a warning. I’ve always loved Italy—three of my top favorite places, Rome, Venice and Lake Garda. It’s a beautiful country, beautiful people and spectacular history.

The problem and concern I have regarding Italy are their driving laws. Back in February, we rented a car from Hertz and drove to Lake Garda. From there, we went to Verona and Bologna. This past month, my Love received a letter from Hertz stating that they are charging him 35 euros EACH for three moving violations he received in Italy that spanned 15 minutes. He was stunned because he hadn’t even received any moving violations from Italy, so we both went online to do some investigation.

Complaints Board – Traffic ticket complaints in Italy and regarding Hertz.

Fodor’s – Traffic Tickets in Italy

Budget Travel – Italy: Fines for rental-car drivers on the rise

Italy has limited driving zones within city limits to reduce fumes and traffic. In our search, we have found Italy issues close to 27 million traffic violations a year—mainly to tourists. I understand that people should know the driving laws in other countries, but there’s a difference between speeding, running over people, knocking things over, as opposed to driving in an area that is restricted. Why aren’t there gates preventing people from entering if you don’t have a city limit card?

First off, Hertz should have said something to us regarding these limited zone areas. But the fact is, they don’t because they make money off the administration fees. We believe the traffic tickets are from a camera snapping a picture of our car as we passed on the outer circle of the city because we got lost. The times are like 4:01, 4:06 and 4:13 (these aren’t the exact times), so we can assume the tickets are from a camera snapshot. So Italy is going to fine us three times for passing an area in a 15 minute time frame, and the cost could be around 115 euros for EACH violation. I think it’s a disgrace that Hertz purposely doesn’t say anything so they can make more money and that Italy would fine a tourist for getting lost—which the times clearly prove.

We left a beautiful country after having a beautiful time, and now we will have to pay for that time with an additional cost close to 500 euros.

This is a warning to anyone who are considering on going to Italy. Forget about it, or don’t bother renting a car if you plan on going into an Italian city center. You’ll pay more than you bargained for and that leaves a lasting impression.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ich Lerne Deutsch! (I learn German)

Herzliche Gruesse,

Ich bin Bea Sempere und ich bin aus Chicago. Chicago ist nicht die Hauptstadt von Illinois. Wie heisst du?


Heartfelt Greetings,

I am Bea Sempere and I am from Chicago. Chicago is not the capital city of Illinois. How are you called?

Since the beginning of September, I have been learning German from meinem Liebsten (my Love). We are working from a textbook and two workbooks, but it’s difficult not being in an environment where German is the primary language. I want to learn German so I can a) communicate with mein Liebster’s parents and brother, and b) in case we wind up living in Germany for a year or two. It will give me a head start before taking an extensive German course out there.

It’s tough learning a language at this stage in my life, and German isn’t an easy language to learn. English was derived from the Germanic language, yet much of what is utilized in German, isn’t in English. Unlike a Spanish translation, German doesn’t translate well into English—at least not word for word. There are many English words and phrases that don’t exist in German, and different grammatical rules.  

All nouns have an article: (die) feminine, (der) masculine and (das) neutral. Not only do I have to learn the nouns, I need to learn the article forms…and on top of that…the article changes with the noun depending on the object. Nouns are capitalized, too. Wie heisst die Biologielehrerin? How is the biology teacher called? The ending is “in”, which indicates that the biology teacher is female. That’s why the article is “die”. If the biology teacher is male, it would be der Biologielehrer. My brain does flips when I have to say and write out a number. Germans start with the second number first, such as 43 (my age). Ich bin dreiundvierzig Jahre alt. I am 43 years old.

I’m actually enjoying the challenge until mein Liebster starts talking fast. Like all languages, he blends his words together as opposed to annunciating each one, so I’ll be using Wie bitte? Excuse me? plenty of times.

Do you speak a second language?

Bratwurst and beer,