Well, it is Freitag (Friday) and we are almost through our first week here. Here’s a breakdown of my thoughts & emotions at this very minute:
New sounds-The city is constantly buzzing with the sounds of the street trains (metro line) and the ding ding of the bike bells as they announce to the people/cars around them they are near by, the voices of people talking to each other or on their phones (windows of our flat are always open), the horns of the cars, and then the very distinct and different whine of the ambulances (we live near a hospital so we hear them daily).
Learning by Observing-Every morning I’ve been going to the same cafe on the corner of a busy intersection, I sit and drink my coffee and watch. I bought a new and better pocket dictionary, and have started looking up the words I see on the signs of the trains and trucks driving by. It’s amazing to me that the street train, cars, bikes, and walking persons can all share these tiny roads and intersections without having to think.
Familiarity-I am learning our neighborhood, I can wander its crazy bending streets without a sense of north or south or east or west but I can find my way back to our flat. Feels like a big accomplishment, and I admit that when Mauricio and I are out walking in the evenings, I feel a sense of satisfaction that while his German speaking ability is far above my own, I am the one that can get us home 🙂
Frustration-My ability to communicate in German is so little, so many things in my head that I think and want to express and yet when I open my mouth it is a struggle to say even the short phrases that I have rehearsed over and over and over again. Then I engage in a mental dialogue with myself consisting of something like this:
‘hmm do I say I am hungry or I have hunger?… in English it’s I am hungry, but in Spanish it’s I have hunger…which is it in German…oh thats right…in German its like English I am hungry I could have said that, and if it had been wrong they would have known what I meant, corrected me, and then probably I would never say it wrong again or have this mental dialogue again…ok Lori…stop being embarrassed to make mistakes…stop it right now…’
but this one leads me directly to the next feeling:
Motivation-I want so badly to be able to communicate, to belong. I went to the Goethe Institute yesterday and spoke with the staff there about courses. I took my placement test, and am working with the company to set up enrollment and payment for the course, hoping to start June 16! My plan is to do a one week course of super intensive classes-8 hours a day Monday-Friday. I know it will be exhausting and I may want to pull out all my hair, but I have to do this, I just have to. I can’t live here for 3 years and be unable to communicate, that is just not going to be acceptable for me.
Excitement-This one is surely obvious-we are in EUROPE! We are already planning a trip at the end of June to go to Royan France for a friend’s wedding! Wahoo! This weekend we are planning to take the rental car out to explore outside the city.
German lesson of today:
Guten Tag or Guten Morgen meaning ‘good day’ or ‘good morning’ should be used as a greeting only, not as a goodbye. When leaving a store or someone you say ‘Tschus’ or ‘Auf Wiedersehen’