Time flies – it’s already the end of my second week of language school, and I’ve been meaning to write about it since day one. I started off in level A1.1, but after the first day, having relearned “my name is…” and “I come from…” for the third (or is it fourth) time, I thought I’d give A1.2 a go. Viel besser – I’m now officially not an absolute beginner! There are definitely things that I’ve learned and have forgotten, but they’ll come back with practice, I’m sure.
My mind is already overflowing with new words, sentences and rules. While washing the dishes tonight, the voice of my teacher Asha was babbling away in my head, translating into German every move I made. I’m really enjoying learning and feeling my brain making connections, although remembering all the cases in all the tenses, both formal and informal is doing my head in a bit. Last Thursday afternoon, Thomas’s father and his wife came around, and wonder of wonders, I could actually string sentences together, and answer them when they asked questions! I was astounded at the progress I’d made after only 4 days. I think it’s making a huge difference (as people always assured me) to actually be here, immersed in the language both inside and outside of school.
One thing I’ve noticed is how children are just happy talking to strangers out of the blue (I guess having a baby sitting with me helps). It’s been funny trying to understand what they’re telling me, and how I’ve really just had to bluff quite a lot of the time. “Wirklich? (Really?)”, “Cool”, or “Toll” seem to do the trick for the most part. Today, though, two girls were playing in the sandpit and Otis went over to see what they were up to. One said to the other, “is he allowed this spade?”, and I was stoked to realise I’d learned “allowed” in class yesterday, and could hear it in action. I think listening to children speak is actually a really helpful way to practice comprehension. Ok it may not be grammatically perfect all the time, but children use simple words and concepts, and being pretty physical, it’s relatively easy to decipher what they’re on about.
Being at school means a pretty full-on day for me, but more so for Thomas. He’s working full-time from home, but also looks after Otis for the 4-5 hours per day that I’m away. This means that he has to start work at around 7.30 in the morning, look after Oti from 9.30 (he has maybe an hour sleep at around 10) until 2.15, and then work again until 8ish. Boo – not much fun, but we only have 4 more weeks of this to go. It does mean that the boys get to hang out together lots more than they used to, and Thomas knows more now about what Oti gets up to during the day, regarding eating and sleeping etc. In a way it will be a shame when the course is over. Maybe they can still have father/son time for an hour or so per day over lunchtime or something. We’ll see.
It’s still nice and summery, although we’ve had a bit or rain over the last few days. The photo is from last weekend, when it was stinking hot. We had a bbq in the park with our friends Anna and Claudio, and their two boys. Yesterday we all (we 3 + A&C & co) went round to Nina and Martin’s and had coffee and cake. Nina and Martin have two boys, so there was a house-full of rushing around and yelling. Fun times – I like how it feels to have people who we can drop in on pretty easily. It feels good to be here.