I’ve been living in Germany for over a year now and my German has come a long way from the “My name is Linda. I come from Ireland.” I arrived with. Of course, I still haven’t come as far as I would like and my natural lack of patience isn’t helping. But instead of bitching about it, I’ve come up with a goal – be B1 level by the end of the year, and B2 by this time next year.
As you can imagine, this is going to take a lot of time and effort so, in a bid to succeed, I have launched a multi-pronged attack on every aspect of the German language.
The first, and probably most obvious, step was to start taking private German lessons. I realised pretty quickly that group classes weren’t really for me as listening to an Italian murder the German language didn’t do much for my German. Plus, I get to talk about myself – a lot – and my teacher has to listen to me because I’m paying her to do just that. I’m sure the comedy value she gets out of listening to me babble away about my life is almost as dear to her as the money. I think it’s probably the most entertaining 75 minutes of her week. I also go to a “Bier trinken und Deutsch sprechen” evening once a month which is I think is pretty close to being the most fabulous idea ever.
My friend Simone over at Lady of the Cakes is kindly helping me out by sending me a language challenge every day. These are met with spectacular language fails on my side.
Simone: How would you say “The leaves will have turned red.”?
Me: What? That’s future perfect! I couldn’t possibly know that at my level!
Simone: It’s supposed to be a challenge.
Simone: Go on, try.
Me: (Google translating “the leaves”)
Simone: Come on.
Me: The leaves…
Simone: Good start.
Me: The leaves *utter nonsense*
Me: The leaves *more utter nonsense*
Me: *something vaguely resembling German*
Me: The leaves will have turned red.
And then I rejoice and congratulate myself – until the next day.
Trips to my local bar are a great way to get me talking in German – and nicely lubricated. The old men in there have a bit of a soft spot for me so are more than willing to let me torture them with my Saudeutsch while engaging in some harmless knee-patting. If the hand starts moving up my leg, it’s time to go.
I also watch German TV every day. Frauentausch (Wife Swap) is great for learning vocabulary related to avoiding getting a job, and Die Höhle der Löwen (Lions’ Den) is doing wonders for my business German. It doesn’t hurt that I have a major crush on one of the Wolves. Yes, Jochen Schweizer, I’m talking about you.
My fascination with the man has gone so far that I’ve even bought his latest book and am attempting to read it. I underline every word I don’t understand while reading on the train, then look them up when I get home and compile them into a glossary in a file saved as “Jochen”. I’m almost sure it’s not as creepy as it sounds.
The next step will be to find a German boyfriend. Any takers? I figure it’s cheaper to ask here than to join an online dating site. However, I am also thinking about doing that, mainly to see if German men like sending dick pics as much as their Latvian counterparts.
There could be fun times ahead…
You can find Simone’s blog here – https://ladyofthecakes.wordpress.com/
You can read about my Latvian online dating adventures here – https://expateyeonlatvia.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/from-your-sofa-no-one-can-hear-you-scream/