Monday, September 17, 2007
The month of August was almost too overwhelming to write about. We attended a language class at the Goethe Institut in Bad Godesberg for 4 1/2 hours a day for 17 days. This was thanks to John, Arlo's Dad. This class was amazing! I can't believe how much we learned in such a short amount of time. Unfortunately, without the structure of the class, I am having a hard time continuing my studies. I am making progress though.
In addition to having our class daily, we had to figure out all of the things that keep life moving. It may not seem like a big deal to do laundry or go grocery shopping but everything is just slightly different. (Ask me sometime about my epic journey to find baking soda.) We managed to get a bank account, set up phone service and high speed internet, as well as register with the city -- all with hand gestures, a few German phrases and lots of patience. While students here learn English all through their schooling, the typical German does not want to have to speak it. If asked they will almost all reply that no they do not speak English. If you try to operate in German and throw in a few English sentences here and there they seem to understand you just fine ... but it is nerve wracking. I felt so guilty that I had come here and didn't know the language. I am doing much better now ... I get tongue-tied and I don't always know the right word but I have become familiar with the people I interact with and this has helped.