These past few weeks in immersion language class, I have felt like a small child going through her first days of kindergarten. Do you remember those days- learning about the seasons, colors, shapes? Yeah, that’s where I am right now. . .sort of. Our themes are a little more mature, but the vocabulary we are learning is very elementary. Today, for example, we went over weather words. ”Heute ist es in Marburg regnerisch und kühl.” “Today in Marburg, it is rainy and cool.” It all sounds simple, but we go over so many new words and new grammar rules, I wish I were still little and had the small child ability to process new language skills. As it is, I feel like I’ve been thrown to the bottom of the swimming pool and I’m slowly making my way back to the surface.
I’ve actually had a few years of German before coming here, and it’s amazing how bits and pieces come floating back into my mind. As we go through each day of lessons, I’m simultaneously elated with how much I’ve learned and retained and overwhelmed with how much I don’t know. I was riding the bus home from class with some friends one day, and a group of school kids (who were probably on a field trip) came on board. They noticed that my friends and I were speaking English, so their teacher told them to practice their English on us. They looked as terrified as I always feel when I have to practice my German skills with a native speaker. A 12 year old girl began to ask me questions in halting English, and I answered in English before asking her questions in German. She was so surprised! I don’t think she knew I could speak much German. So we went back and forth- she tried to speak only English, and I tried to speak only German back to her. It was really cool; we both seemed to be at the same level with our foreign language skills. I just wish I was as brave as she. She didn’t seem afraid to make mistakes- she was definitely embarrassed when she did make mistakes, but it didn’t stop her from trying again.
So, my hero for the day: 12 year old girl on the bus. I forget your name, but you are really awesome.