Thursday, January 24, 2008

Who needs to learn german?

So I will probably go to a german course Thursday evenings at a local meeting/cultural house - I attended one lesson today, and think this way at least I will have two hours per week without kids to listen to and think about some german. (Martin survived those two hours also.)

While the 'teacher' might not be quite qualified, she does speak to us only in german (she is croatian and has been here five years, but her high german is definitely better than mine); the price is peanuts (70 franks for 10 courses); it is in the evening (so Martin can take care of the kids); and this way at least I will be forced to do some vocabulary. I have been better about vocab when we got here initially but then.... well, I haven't opened the dictionary in the last two months probably.

Anyways, the teacher, Nena, asked us five students why we need german. Claire, a french gal that I met at the same "Treffpunkt" (meeting/cultural house) Wednesday mornings during the "Parents with little kids" morning (think playgroup), says she needs it for Treffpunkt. All of her neighbors are french (or may be swiss-french), her husband uses English at work... and at the shop, the worker speaks spanish, so that's what she speaks there. With me, she talks in English.

Olga, a Serbian woman, says she needs it for playgroups and for kindergarten. I say Treffpunkt and relatives. Zdravko, a Monte-Negran man, is struggling to find a reason - he works with other ex-Yugoslavs and an Italian, though apparently one co-worker is German. So at the end that was the reason - to talk to one co-worker. Visnja, a Bosnian woman, is also struggling to find a reason.

I guess it's not that hard to live somewhere and not have the handle of the language. I am a prime example: shopping is no problem in a supermarket once you learn a few things (I did make the mistake of buying reconstituted schnitzels in the freezer section but most other things are fine), at our local store I just buy bread or fruits and veggies, our neighbors are canadians, eih; and I don't really interact with anyone else on a daily basis.

Still, I was shocked that my situation is by far not unique.

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