Learning German with Duolingo

Duolingo 

I mentioned that I found my father’s family and I discovered I had a brother who happens to have been born in Germany, and he is currently living in Germany in the same city he was born. Luckily he speaks English, so there is no communication issue, but I am interested in learning German so if the day ever comes when I can visit him, I would like to know the language so I won’t be lost in translation if I decide I want to do some sight seeing when I visit. I also have an aunt and uncle who suddenly switch to German every now and then, and it does get frustrating when you’re the only person in a room full of people speaking German.

So I went to Google a little over a month ago to find a website or a program I could buy that would teach me German. I thought for sure I would find something that was overly expensive, but I was surprised to find Duolingo was free.

I’ve learned “Basics 1” which was pretty easy. “The” which I think I’ve finally really mastered. There are certain times that I’m still learning when to use certain “the” words, but I’m getting it. “Basics 2” was a little difficult, like there are some words like we are that translate to wir sind, you are which translates to ihr seid, they are which is sie sind. They also taught ich trinke, du trinkst, er/sie/es trinkt, wir trinken and ihr trinkt. These all mean like I am drinking, you are drinking, he/she/it is drinking, we are drinking and you are drinking. These are still a little confusing because there are 5 ways to say that someone is drinking lol. I have to keep in mind the different ways, which brings me to accusative case which teaches not just drinking, but eating bread and read a book or newspaper. This stuff is hard. Phrases added several new words which I finally learned, and learning words is easier than learning the many different ways to say a verb. Then I did Intro which teaches many different ways to say the word speak, understand, is called (meaning like He is called Karl) and someone is from somewhere.

Learning a new language is hard ya’ll! But I’m more than happy to learn a new language. I have a learning disability, so I have to do the practice lessons for several days after I master a section, because even though I have the golden icon, I still haven’t really mastered those sections. I also have to speak into the microphone in these lessons so they can tell if I’m saying the words or phrases correct. So not only do I have to learn how to spell German words, and learn the words and what they mean, but I also have to learn how to pronounce them correctly so I don’t sound like I’m saying the wrong word(s).

I could learn any language they have to offer, and a lot of people I’ve spoken with on the website are learning multiple languages at the same time. If you thought learning one language was difficult, try learning 5 or 10 lol. Yeah, I think I will stick to one language for now.

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I FOUND My Brother

I cannot believe it, but I found my brother.

After I did the 23andMe and didn’t really find any useful information about my family, I decided to go to Ancestry and figure out how to populate my family tree. I started out with my mother’s side of the family, then with the help of a friend we narrowed down who my father was to one man who was born with his name in California in the 1940’s, and I actually found my father, but I wasn’t sure it was him. I discovered from a document that he had a son, so I went on a search for him, and contacted many people with his name on Facebook, that didn’t pan out. So I went to Google and a website called MyLife had information, including his name and birth date, age, and where he lived in the 90’s and it had an email address, so I emailed him.

After I emailed him I finally got a response from someone on Ancestry who told me that I had the right family, as you can see from my previous post I FOUND My Paternal Family. They didn’t know where my brother was, so I continued to wait for him to respond to my email, and a couple of days ago he finally responded.

My brother said in his reply email that the picture was small, but it did resemble his father, so we connected on Facebook and he was convinced that someone was trying to scam him or steal his identity, and who can blame him? I mean, there are so many scams out there, you literally can’t trust anyone. He wanted me to convince him before he would even talk to me, and I guess I did convince him because he acknowledges that I am his brother. I’m not going to ask him to take a DNA test, although I did take a DNA test with Ancestry and with 23andMe, so if he wants to be 100% sure, I will pay for the test, but I don’t think he will worry about it, but I will still ask him if he wants one.

Anyway, so we have talked with each other yesterday and today and he lives in Germany, so I can only talk with him from 8 am my time until 12 pm my time because he’s 9 hours ahead of me. I am very sad that we couldn’t be closer, but who knows, maybe one day I will be able to visit him in Germany. I’ve always wanted to go there, so maybe it will happen one of these days. But for now we will use Skype to communicate. It’s free and it’s not text, it’s a phone call where we can see each other. There might be a delay, but we will figure that out.

I am absolutely over the moon. Not only did I not know I had a brother, but I found him. I just can’t ask for anything more. I feel like I have accomplished my goal of finding my father, even though he has passed from this life. I feel like my brother and also the discovery of cousins and aunts and uncles is a bonus. I spent most of my life looking for one person, and I found many. I couldn’t be more happy. My search is finally over.

I FOUND My Paternal Father’s Family

After 33 years I finally found my paternal father’s family. Unfortunately, my paternal father has passed, he passed away a couple of years ago, but I found his family.

I’ve been searching for years. My aunt told me his name in 2002, but she didn’t have the correct spelling, so I was looking for different spellings of his last name. I have called people and asked if they had any information, but no one could give me anything, and they didn’t want to give me their email address so I could send them a picture.

Earlier I mentioned doing 23andMe and that didn’t really give me any information about my father since there were no siblings or 1st cousins who had done the test. I thought 23andMe was the most popular test, so that’s why I chose that one, but apparently AncestryDNA has even more people who tested their DNA because I was told you will find way more people there. So I did AncestryDNA, but the results still haven’t come back.

I was on Ancestry populating my tree and I started searching for my father through Military records. I was told by someone that the uniform he is wearing in this photo was a ROTC uniform by someone who is currently in ROCT at their school, so I just assumed that my father may have lied about going to Germany in the military, but that’s wrong, he was in fact in the military, but I couldn’t find any record of him being in the military.

I found a guy who was born in California in 1947 and he had a mother in California and the father listed for him was Stanley. I contacted the person who had listed Stanley as the father, and they told me that is false, and then they directed me to a document on Google Books that shows who his father and mother were, and even showed he had a son. So, I thought ok, well I’m pretty sure this is the guy, but I’m not absolutely positive. I corrected the parents and contacted the person who had his actual father listed on September 25th and she contacted me today, October 1st and she told me that I do have the correct family, that Ronald Leland Shurtleff IS my father. She asked me to email her the picture and to call her, so I emailed her and then I called her and she kept saying I was his son, but I kept asking her to look at the picture first to make absolutely 100% sure she could verify that the picture I sent her was Ronald Leland Shurtleff, so she looked and said Oh yeah, that’s him and your grandmother.

You have no idea how hard it has been not knowing who my father was for 48 years of my life. I knew my step father wasn’t my real father, I just knew it, and my mother told me the truth when I was 15 that I had another father out there in the world. I’ve felt like I had a hole in my heart and soul that could never be filled until I found him.

Not only do I have a father, who by the way isn’t alive, which I was prepared for, but I have a brother and a sister and a whole bunch of cousins. The woman I spoke with was so happy to finally hear from me. You have no idea how that feels for me to finally fill this void. Or maybe you do, I don’t know you lol. I can hear someone say “you don’t know me!” lol.

Anyway, the woman I spoke with today said she was going to email me pictures of my father, and she’s going to contact some other family members and give them my number to call me, so I am waiting for that so I can get more information and so I can connect with as many people who want to connect with me. I especially look forward to hearing from my siblings.

I am so happy, nervous and very emotional.

Oh Brother!

I need to talk about something. I will try to keep it short, but once I start talking, I can’t really control how much I say lol. If I really need to get something out, I have to get it out, you know?

So I think I have found my paternal father. I mean, well, I think I have found out who he was. The records on Ancestry are wrong because I found a document which tells a different story about who my father’s parents were and who he was married to when he had a son in 1968 before I was even born. So yes, I’m saying I think I have a brother out there in the world.

I found a person who matches the exact age of my brother with the same first and last name with the same spelling and the same birth date. He lives in the United States in North Carolina, and right now they are flooded from Hurricane Florence. He hasn’t responded to me since I sent him an email, and I’m pretty sure he won’t have internet until they can get things working again. I pretty much have to be patient, but it’s real hard being patient when I HAVE A BROTHER out there in the world. I’m excited, and real worried about him even though I didn’t even know he existed until a few days ago.

My whole life I’ve felt like I had a brother out there in the world. I always felt like there was a piece of me that was missing, and for the longest time I thought it was because I never knew my paternal father, and as I aged and couldn’t find him, I knew I might never find him. And now I think that the other part of me that is missing isn’t just my father, it’s also my brother.

Have you ever felt so happy and so sad at the same time? I want to cry for joy that I think I have finally learned who my father was and I want to cry for joy knowing I might have a brother, but I also want to sad cry because I still don’t have the correct answers. The person I think is my father HAS to be my father, but I don’t know for sure until my brother contacts me and let’s me know if the picture I sent him is indeed also his father, then I will know for sure, and I will know if my father is alive or not. It’s all this not knowing that is causing me to be sad. Have you ever felt that? Is it just me?

I’m really frustrated right now. My stomach is in knots.

Did I find my father?

Paternal FatherSo this is my father with his mother. This is a picture my mother gave to me after she told me that my step father wasn’t my real father when I turned 15 years old. Well, she didn’t give me the picture right away because we lived in a trailer and all our things were in storage. When we moved to Sepulveda in an actual apartment building when I was 16 and got all our things out of storage, she gave me this and another picture.

So here’s the story my mother gave me when I was 15. She told me that they were together in 1969 and he was there until a month after I was born in 1970, and then he went to West Germany because he was in the Army and he never returned. She thinks he may have been trapped over there because of the Berlin wall being up at the time. She told me his name was Ronald Shurtleff, but I had all these thoughts going through my head and was barely able to process anything, and the name is not a typical name, or at least I’d never heard it before in my life until she told me, so I had forgotten what it was. When I turned 19 I asked her for the name again so I could start my search to find my paternal father, and her response to me was “No, I’m not going to tell you because I’m afraid you WILL find him, and if you do I will want to leave your father (she was referring to my step father) was be with him (meaning my paternal father).”

I got back in touch with my Aunt Betty in 2001 and I asked her if she knew my father’s name and she told me it was Ronald Shirtliff. She didn’t remember how it was spelled, so I had to go with that. She also told me that it is possible that he didn’t even know that my mother was pregnant because he was married at the time to another woman. If I had the ability to add sounds, I would add soap opera music. She told me that he was not there when I was born, he was not there a month after I was born and that he left before she even told him she was pregnant.

This is what I have found from Ancestry.com. I’ve been searching for military records for 1969-1970 and I just could not find that name for his age. I did find a couple of people, but the birth dates were too far off to be my father. I mean, the guy in the picture does not look like a middle aged man, he would be if he were the man I found in the military records named Ronald Gilbert Shurtleff who was born in 1926. I searched for variations of his last name and even considered that perhaps his middle name was Ronald, and he went by Ronald to my mother, but I just couldn’t find him.

So someone told me that the guy in the picture above is not wearing an Army uniform, he’s wearing a ROTC uniform. He was 18 years old in 1965 and so this picture could possibly be taken when he was still in high school after a school event. I couldn’t find any military records of him. Speculation.

So… I did discover a man named Ronald Leland Shurtleff who was born in 1947, and that would have been the right time frame. Ancestry suggested to me that his parents were Stanley Shurtleff and Delores “Dee” McKenzee. I contacted someone who had added Stanley to her tree, and she told me there is actually a book on Google Books with names of descendants of William Shurtleff, and this book shows that Ronald Leland Shurtleff has a different set of parents. His actual parents are Howard Leland Shurtleff and Virginia Ilene Shuler.

2018-09-19

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It shows he was married to a woman named Heidemarie Margarete Capellmann in Germany and they had a son named Jeffrey in 1968. Ancestry doesn’t give me any information about Howard Leland Shurtleff having a son named Ronald Leland Shurtleff. There is a record of Heidenmarie Shurtleff having a P.O. Box in NH in 1993, but that’s all I’m getting from her, and it wasn’t a leaf, I clicked her name in my tree and hit the search button and that was the only thing they had. So if she lived in New Hampshire, perhaps they moved from Germany to the U.S. when his deployment was over and my brother could possibly be in the U.S. now. I found 4 Jeffry Shurtleff’s on Facebook (Jeff and Jeffrey) and I sent them all messages asking if they are the person I’m looking for. One responded within an hour and he wasn’t the one, so it’s a waiting game now.

Look, I don’t know if I have the right people or not. I did the 23andMe test and it did come back with 1016 3rd to distant cousins, no siblings and no parents. It has now grown to 1021 cousins, but no concrete proof of who my father is or was. I decided that since I am doing all this stuff on Ancestry that I would find out if my DNA will work with them as well, so I did Ancestry DNA and they literally just got my DNA sample today, so I can look forward to a long 6-8 week wait according to them, but I’m sure it won’t take that long. So until I get the results back, all I can really do is speculate on everything.

I am hopeful that I will get answers and find someone, whether it be my paternal father or just my paternal brother. If any of these people see this blog post, please know I mean no ill intent, I am not looking for anything, I just want to know who my father is/was and if he or my brother are alive, I just want to know them. If you don’t want a relationship that’s fine, but I just need some closure. But I would like to have a relationship because I feel so lost and alone and I just need someone.

Thank you for reading.

Legitimate Facebook Friend Request

facebook friend request

As of today, I will no longer be accepting friend requests from people on Facebook.  It seems that every time someone sends me a friend request, they either never talk to me, or they won’t leave me alone because the only reason they sent the request was because they want to have sex with me.  Facebook is not Grindr.  If you want to have sex with people, get a cell phone and install Grindr.  Here is a link to Grindr.  Use that, don’t use Facebook to look for sex.

Last night someone sent me a friend request and I gladly accepted because it said we had 1 friend in common, but then he sent me a DM asking for sex.  When I told him I was in a relationship, he asked me to help him find someone who is single.  No!  I’m not going to help you hook up with my friends.  That is not what Facebook is for!

Awhile ago, someone sent me a friend request and I gladly accepted because it also said we had 1 friend in common.  He sent me a DM and we chatted, and then suddenly he told me he was in love with me and that he wanted to be my boyfriend.  You can’t possibly be in love with me after 10 minutes.  I knew I should have ended the friendship right then and there, but he seemed suicidal and I didn’t want to be the reason that someone ended their life.  I think I have finally made it crystal clear that I am not the person for him, but I shouldn’t have to go through that.  I should be able to live my life guilt free without worrying that someone is going to kill themselves.

Speaking of which, I am always saying that if you need a person to talk to because you are suicidal, send me a DM and I will be a shoulder you can cry on.  So these people who send me a friend request then DM for sex are ruining it for those who legitimately want to talk to me because they need someone to talk to.  That’s a real shame that those people have made me not want to accept friendship requests.  Although, if someone did legitimately need someone to talk to, they can send me a DM first and then I will accept their friend request.

My reasons for being on Facebook is to talk with my friends and family.  To see their pictures and read their funny and or corny jokes and see pictures of their barbecue with their families and friends.  To me, Facebook is a website for friends, and that’s it.

I am not a prude, I like sex, but as I said before, I am in a relationship that has lasted for 19 years and I would like to get to 20 years.  I am not your boyfriend and I am not your friend with benefits.  I am just Mike and that’s it.  I save my friendship for people who actually want it.

So from now on, unless you have sent me a message saying who you are and what your intentions are, I will deny all friend requests.  I wish I didn’t have to get to this point that I have to write a blog post explaining why I will be denying friendship requests.

Ding Dong, AVON Calling

My cousin Tabitha just recently started selling AVON.  You remember AVON don’t you?  My mother used to go to AVON parties in the 70’s and we always had AVON products in the house.  All of her make-up was AVON and I think I even remember AVON bubble bath.

You don’t see too many AVON parties anymore, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still have them.  You also don’t have to go to an AVON party to buy AVON products.  You can go to their website and buy directly from there and have it shipped to your house.

Here is the link to buy AVON from Tabitha Vavrick.  youravon.com/tvavrick

When she told me that she was selling AVON, I took the opportunity to browse through the website and found that they have a lot of great deals.  They don’t just sell women’s products, they sell stuff for men too.  I bought NATURALS & Bubble Delight Cucumber Melon 5-Piece Collection (image) for only $9.99.  I also bought 2 Ironman® Glory Roll-On Anti-Perspirant Deodorant’s for only .99 cents each and a bottle of Core Elements Ice For Him Hair & Body Wash for $6.50 because I know how much Darrin likes the ice body wash during the summer.

I received the order today via UPS.  I was actually quite shocked because the shipping cost was only $3.  I thought for sure it was going to come from the post office.  It was quite a heavy box for only $3 shipping too so that was awesome.

I already used the roll-on deodorant and I actually like it better than the stick I’ve been using which drags across my arm pit.  I hate that.  I have to put it on right away when I get out of the shower before I have a chance to dry my armpits because it feels horrible when it’s dry.  I like that it was only $1 each compared to I think $4 or $5 that Degree is.

I haven’t taken a bath in years because I just don’t have time to sit in the tub, so I only take showers, but I have wanted to take a bath for such a long time.  Now that I have some bubble bath I think I’m going to take advantage of that.  A good soak is nice once in a while because it is so relaxing and it is the perfect place to meditate, which I need to do.  So maybe I will skip the shower and start taking a bath more often.

Next time I get some money I think I’m going to buy a few more of those 5-piece sets so I can put them in baskets and give them to friend’s and family for Christmas.