18 May 2011

History and German


I had my first evening class - not the Integration Course as I had once mentioned, but real school. I'm still in the Integration Course, and I will have an exam at the end of the month which in English is called German Test for Immigrants. I really look forward to that one. For now I just have to juggle two different classes for a month before I can finally focus on one.

Today were the subjects History and German. And despite it being just about managable for me, it was a little bit overwhelming. The teacher is old-school, a man, full of knowledge, uses fancy words that someone new to German like me would be totally overrun by, but he was somewhat obliging. He looked at me and remembered the face. Ah yes.

First he taught History. Starting all the way back in 1914. World War One.
I tried, with all my brain-power, to catch every word coming out of his mouth. Hesitant to even move an arm in case I missed an important point. I just about managed. Some things, I have to admit, would be useless for me to ask about in class because then I'd have to only be asking question after question. So that just means that I'd have to do my own little research. It's not too hard, but it won't be easy.

Then came German. And that almost overwhelmed me. Like any other language subjects, there is more to it than just grammar, sentence structure and presentation, but also interpretation, essay writing, discussion and debate. I sat there wondering what the hell I got myself into.

So anyway, this beautiful text was presented to me in all its literary glory. It took me eons to understand what it was finally about, but even then I got only halfway through. The teacher was so into the story that even when he explained, he went so fast that in my head the only words that kept repeating was Huh, huh, huh, huh?
Then he said that each of us in class should summarize the story in our own words... and read it out loud. And I thought, great, just my chance to sound like a lost Kindergarten kid. I let that discouragement get to me like a knife in my chest. Despite that I pulled out my writing block and started writing. Throwing out everything to the best I can. My teacher came up right behind me, curious as to what comes out of me. I thought, "Don't laugh. Don't throw me out. Don't make fun of me just because I can't come up with fancy sentences yet."
And indeed he didn't. But that was just... such a shitty moment. Wow, I will hate that a lot. Having skin 7-layers thick isn't a walk in the park but I'll just have to make use of any kind of criticism I get.

Before I knew it, class was over. It was past 8pm. The sun was still out though, but I was finished with the day. I wanted to go home. I had just enough concentration to know which way I'd have to go. Then I saw Michael waiting for me. I didn't say a word.
Then he asked how it went, and I said, 'It's hard.' But I think I'm not dead yet.

Back home I had no appetite for dinner. Even though I already prepared a meal earlier in the day. Michael helped a little and we discussed the complicated text until I understood what it was finally about. That was a load off my chest.

After a shower I jumped into bed, and wrote my thoughts out.
It took me awhile to fall asleep.

1 comment:

  1. One step at a time, Ira. You're doing great.