Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Test

Yesterday in class we practiced some strategies for handling certain parts of the test. I hadn't been working on these particular parts of the test in a while. I failed spectacularly. Last night I had my first nightmare about the test:  I was in a play and for some reason had never bothered to learn my lines.  So it comes to opening night and there's no understudy and there's no complete script laying around everywhere but I don't even know when it's my line until I notice nothing else is happening on stage and then I tear around looking for the part of the script that has my lines, or at least some direction of where I am supposed to be and what topics I'm supposed to be discussing.

Very hard to understand where that dream came from, eh?

The good news is I feel very confident in my ability to speak German and carry on my job and my life at post. I listen to German radio [aka, news podcasts] and read German news every day. I discuss and debate various topics and while I make grammatical errors or sometimes start on a sentence that ends up so complex that I lose my way halfway through and need to back up and start over (like if I had tried this sentence in German)  I am overwhelmingly understood.  However, as in so many other things, the worry is not about Life but about the Test.

I have two weeks. And if I don't pass, the world does not come to an end. I simply have to learn German for an additional 4-6 weeks before testing again.

But I have my pride.

So I guess this weekend I will be reviewing harder and more diligently on certain areas than I have been in the recent past.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Way More Fun with German

In addition to spending our days in the classroom slogging through the language, we also have other opportunities to play with German.  Two such opportunities came about last month.

One day we had a field trip to the German Embassy. It was the best morale boost, chatting like normal people with Germans in German. The best part - they understood us! In German!

The second opportunity was a special module put together by one of the teachers for handling Consular work. We held mock consular interviews at mock consular windows (apparently called "counters" = "schalter" in German. Probably a linguistic thowback from the days before bulletproof glass separated us from the visa seekers.)

Mind you, my German is riddled with grammar mistakes and missing vocabulary I have to "paraphrase" around. But it appears to be more or less understandable.

It is a little hard to believe that six months ago I spoke no German at all!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Coddle Pasta

We've coined a new term tonight.  I knew I was making a meal the kids have steadfastly and continually failed to enjoy. So, I pulled out a bunch of the cooked pasta and left it out, untouched by any other ingredients. After the kids tried dinner and, yet again, failed to like it, I let them finish dinner with plain pasta saved from before. The "Coddle Pasta"; meaning the pasta that represents my coddling of the children. Heck yeah!