I really liked the audio recording.
I am not that good in spelling, so I had some difficalties writing it down. I didn’t understand some parts, but I stll tried to write them. A real problem for me were German words, because I don’t know German.
I hope you will help me to improve my English.
Here is the rest of Raymond’s story:
Listen to Raymond Romanos
…and I was a cook for cowboys. And then I got into a photography, moved back to West Hartford to do more with photography. And then I decided to go down to Washington D.C. and see if I could find work there.
Meanwhile I had met a… a German girl in West Hartford, Connecticut, and we kept in contact. Eh, when I moved down to Virginia, which was near Washington, she had moved back to German. And I didn’t like Virginia as much as I thought I would. And she had mentioned that I should come and visit her in Germany and so, I did. And this was back in 1996. So when I came to Germany I had no plans to stay for a long time , but no plans not to stay for a long time. So my original plan was to be with her and to learn German and to see Germany. Mh, so it was in 96 and now we are in 2003 almost 2004. Eh, in the meantime we broke-up , but I stayed in Leipzig, because life is good here. No, life is good here.
When I first came to Leipzig my impression was much different, because this is only 6 years after “The Fall of the Berman Wall”. And many things did not exist, for example: ah, take-away coffee or there was very difficult to find a decent sandwich, not all the buildings had been renovated and so it was very grey.
I was not used to the winters here, which were, in compares to Connecticut, not as extreme, but mostly grey. And the winters in Connecticut are typically very-very cold with, eh, with snow. And here it’s not as cold, and if there is snow it lasts about 24 hours before it disappears. So, I barley find time to go to skying here, but really you can’t go skying here, because there are no mountains. The best thing you can find is a hill somewhere by the sled. So you have to be real fast here in Leipzig to go sledding.
Well, I came to Germany I worked as a photographer, I worked measuring apartments - anything I could do to basically survive. I moved loans, I helped edit texts. And then I finally started teaching English. My first teaching experience in English was very difficult, because I didn’t quite understand all the concept of English. I mean I may have studied it in college, but learning how it works and trying to teach it are two different things. So I had to relearn how English worked for me to teach it. Also when I arrived I had to learn German. And so learning German and teching English.
Well, learning German helped me teach English, because when I understood how people learn languages. So, although I have been here for 6 years or 7 years my German is not as good as it could be. Although I can read newspapers and texts and understand them fully I still haven’t quite managed to speak like a German. Germans sitten to have a way of using their words, which no… no foreigner could quite master. You have to be German to master German, I think. But it’s a fun language: it’s more precise than English, it’s got many more expressions and dialects are fun to listen to.
I have a lot contact to the local people here in Leipzig. May be because I do teach them. And a lot of my students invite me out to coffee. Or we have advance at night staying up to, which I go out myself. There are a lots of foreigners here, I can meet up with them. There are plenty of foreign round tables for people willing to learn different languages, or for people willing to learn German or English. And so through that I can meet lots of people. And helped me met lots of people.
Most of my friends are either Germans or Americans. I have two very good American friends, the rest of them are German. So I spend most of my time going back and though between English and German. Eh, and I am in fact studying German again privately, so that I can prove it. Because after 7 years, eh, there are many things which you can learn to help you speak better, pronunciation mostly and important the idioms.
I go back about twice a year to America to visit my father, who lives in Connecticut, or to my mother, who lives in South Carolina. I typically go back in the summer around June for a family gathering, which is about 30 people and we rent about 4 cottages on a lake. And we all get together and basically go from one cottage to another eating all way for the two weeks. And that’s a lot of fun.
And when I visit my mother, and she lives in South Carolina in the place called Murtle Beach. Eh, there is really not much to do there: you could go mini - shogolfitting or you could go swimming at the beach. But mostly we hang out, we talk.
Back in Connecticut I still have my friends and I still meet-up with my friends. They meet at the coffee-shop in the centre of West Hartford at 2 o’clock for coffee. They been doing this since 1993. And so when I go back I still know everyone and it is fun. I get my free cup of coffee, because they never see me and the people, who work there, still know me. And they brining up the dates as towards been going on. It’s a lot of fun.
My language has changed since I been here. Many people who are American would talk to me very slowly and would tell me that my English is very strange, oh, but nice. And I say, “That’s nice”. And they say, “Where are you from?”. and I say, “Well, I am from Connecticut”. And they go, “Really?!”. And I go, “Yes, really”. And they go, “Where is your accent?” And I go, “Well, you can’t go around with your accent all your life, if you live somewhere outs. You have to loose it.”
And when you teach English You can’t teach accents, you have to teach general English, which people can understand. And so I’ve tried to change my English a little bit, so that people could understand me better. Because when I talk real fast … And… Well, we’ll see when I go back to Connecticut I will talk like a normal Connecticut person. Which will be hard "a:"s, "o"s don’t exist. It’s not [ko’nektiket], but [ke’nektiket]. And it’s not [prog’res], but [prag’res]. So, there is a very distinct “New England” accent. One can heir if once listens to my voice. But… it’s mostly , it’s mostly talked away.
So among other things my accent has changed as well as my vocabulary. When you talk to an American, who has been living or anybody, who has been living in Leipzig for a long time. Certain words were suddenly falling into your vocabulary, for example “" instead of street car or tram. And we would talk about going to that "", which is a train station. Or to the "", which is the Immigration Office. And so we will do… we will use those worlds like "__” for cabinet, or “" or "” for plate and table. And we will mix and we call this new language Genglish.
And everybody, everyone doesn’t matter from what country will mix. And it’s very difficult when I go back to The States not to mix. Because I know and I have to keep telling myself, that no-one there understands German. So I can’t go mixing like I can do in Germany in Leipzig.
I find it amazing how Germans can express themselves to such a detail. They know exactly what’s going on. I just… I am completely amazed by that. When you ask someone about how a car works and they will tell you, and they will tell you how the car slides and the reasons why the car will slide on the ace or ________ . Or the will give you details which an American person would not do. They would use a lots of ands and ehs and things like that.
And German would tell you to the exact detail what it is. Or they would take kind a head off - they don’t know. But… So, It’s been quite a learning experience from a technical perspective. So…
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