Saturday, July 16, 2011

"Me want bread"

We have been living in the U.S. for about 8 months now, and as I reminisce on the past couple years I can now look at it objectively and see it for what it really was. Among many different experiences I had in Germany, I would consider my language schooling to be the most noteworthy when it comes to giving you a little picture of what my days consisted of. Irritated, would be a word to describe just how I felt when I could not, on a day to day basis have the ability to express exactly what is was that I wanted. I found it difficult to say how much, and what type of bread I would like, or trying to explain that I wanted flat water with ice was as though I was trying to convince the waitress that I was indeed a hippopotumus. Even telling the clerk how much I liked here hair took considerate preparation, and any chance of spontaneous conversation was ended with a nervous laugh and a feeling of incompetence. I found myself settling for much less than what I actually wanted, afraid of revealing my inadequate German vocabulary. I would often resign with a nod yes to the chicken liver, instead of the actual breast meat, later throwing it out because the American recipes for chicken liver pleasantly disguised its taste with deep fat frying. A nod yes, or no had become my first language, and before I knew it my audacity for speaking without fear of sounding stupid had later turned me into an insecure head nodder. Otherwise I sounded like this. "Yes, I want these bread." or "I want milk in me." It was months later when my frustration required me to have Christoph make the phone call I was persistently avoiding. Not only could I not order the right chicken meat, I was certainly incapable of calling a German school and retaining necessary information for starting a course.
My first day of German class brought me back to my first day of high school, after being home schooled for most of my life. I remember walking in my biology class as the "new" student, and as it was a particularly small school in the first place I felt even more singled out. I was at first known as the shy ice skater, as ice skating had been my sport of choice for the past 5 years, but later got demoted to just the shy girl, after I quit my vigorous sport. I then tried a series of other sports, later settling with soccer. Cheer leading always looked attractive to me, but the year I envied the popular senior girls, was not the year I joined the cheer leading team. The following year I tried out and made the team. But, since all of the previous years squad consisted of seniors, our team then consisted of four girls, a teacher who had a peculiar admiration for the song, "Eye of the Tiger," and an embarrassing light show we performed to that exact song. I've never hated myself more than the moment our teacher had us swinging our light sticks to the beat, and still expected us to be accepted among our fellow students after that shindig. It was awful to say the least. Not that we were bad cheerleaders, but only that the choice of dances and songs were a bit outdated.

I walked in to the emotionless classroom, where the name for our teacher was written on the white board. Mr. Andreas was only one of our three teachers we had in the three months I was there. I have described him in a previous blog, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. You can read that blog if you would like a visual. You could tell he was a narscisist, pleasured by the fact that he probably knew more than all of us combined. At least he thought so. It is quite possible the only thing he knew more than us was the German language. I heard him talking in a low voice to his mother one day, when my German had exceedingly progressed, and it seemed as though he wanted schnitzel for dinner instead of soup. I assumed from that conversation he was living with his mother, after a heartbreaking divorce that left him sad and alone. He implied this occurrence one day in class while on one of his hour long discussions about himself. I could not help feel for him, as people like that usually attempt disguise their insecurities with a facade of egotism. I was most likely the only person in our class to find him amusing. Amir, seated next to me seemed to hate his guts, and rolled his eyes every time Andreas went on another tangent of how knowledgeable he was. This usually occurred every ten minutes, and by the end of class we had accomplished barely any worksheets and were sent home with two hours worth of homework. I didn't mind though. He was better than the two other teachers, one of which voice was comparable to Ben Stein, the "Dry Eyes" commercial guy. He left me feeling depressed and in need of a nap. Andreas, spoke with such passion that it left you wanting to better learn German, just so you could know what it was he was saying in such a life or death manner. It later turned out that he mostly spoke of politics, or how the German culture is far greater than any other culture in the world. I thought it funny how comfortable he felt saying this as our classroom consisted of possibly twenty different cultures.

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