Friday, May 25, 2012

You're learning. That's a good thing.

When I was 20, I moved to Germany to go to college. I had five or so years of German in school, and I considered myself fluent.


Sure, on paper, I knew how to distinguish between a dative and accusative preposition. But in the line at the grocery store, faced with different accents and slang and a sudden bombardment of foreign sights, sounds and tastes (mmm, Schnitzel), I remember my brain felt quite literally like it was turning into spaghetti. Long, sticky, heavy strands of spaghetti, tangling up around each other and dripping out my ears and wrapping around my neck, in a new form of stress that can only be described as Extreme Immersion Anxiety.

Hey, lookie there. According to, the official source of all useless information, spaghetti brain is a real thing:  

Of course, the spaghetti eventually untangles, and it leaves you with a vast depth of new knowledge, a new way of thinking and expressing yourself and a new way of seeing the world.

I am currently in the spaghetti brain phase of being a mobile journalist.

I am going to assume this is a good thing, because that means I am learning at such a fast rate that my synapses can't keep up with it, so instead they are having an Italian food fight inside my skull.

Now that I have a grasp on the basic equipment and foundation of the new technology for my new job, I am trying to fine-tune my skills and improve my creations. Become more fluent, if you will. I find myself spending more time problem-shooting and trying and failing (underscore: failing) than actually producing. Between researching, asking questions and staying up late cramming, I feel like I'm in finals week at the University of Heidelberg.

I am sharing this as a disclaimer: Spaghetti brain is a real syndrome of pushing yourself and learning a new "language." And with technology, it's like trying to learn German if they rewrote the grammar book and invented a new dictionary every 8 minutes.

Today, my boss Dave offered me the most simple, yet comforting, advice:

"You are learning," he said.

Ah. So true. Remember that. And keep pushing on.

And to keep things light and in perspective, please enjoy this most excellent German music album cover. View it while listening to this unrelated, rather horrible and yet perfectly fitting electronic song called (you guessed it) "Spaghetti Brain:"

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