Hello friends! Micah here, reporting on my first week in Hildesheim, Germany. This city is absolutely gorgeous, all the trees and flowers are in bloom, and the surrounding country side is covered in fields of bright yellow rape seed. I am getting along really well with the people I’m living and working with, and I even found a German tutor! But friends, let me just rant for a while about my struggles with the German language! I’ll be honest, I thought I was pretty good at German before I arrived in Hildesheim. After all, I got A’s on all my tests, I always spoke up in class, and I could do basic things like order or ask for directions. That makes me pretty much fluent, right? Yeah, I was pretty confident. But then I got here and realized…
Of course, I know more than nothing, but it feels like nothing! When people talk to me in German, I typically have one of two reactions:
1.) Feign interest and pretend I understand them, until they expect me to answer and realize I’ve been starring at them blankly for the past five minutes.
2.) Blurt out ICH BIN AMERICANISH! before they start talking to avoid the struggle all together.
Neither one is a particularly good option… People’s reactions are always very gracious, either switching to their perfect english or slowing down to a pace I can follow. They are just proud of me for trying. They know how hard their language is and seem honored that I want to learn it. Thank you Germans for being so understanding! But in my mind they are thinking:
I have a bad habit of being overly hard on myself. If I can’t do something perfectly, I’m tempted to not do it at all. But that’s not how you learn. So I keep marching forward one word at a time. When I fail, I pick myself up and try again! Learning German has produced in me a new found sense of confidence, humility and determination. And most of all, I’ve developed a deep respect for bilingual people- you rock, cheers to you!
Well, thanks for listening to my
rant thoughts on language acquisition. It was cathartic. All is well here and I hope you can say the same! Have a lovely week friends and I’ll be back soon. Now I’m off to proudly make a fool of myself at the grocery store 🙂