Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ich bin käse....

It has been a few weeks since my last post and I have been busy, traveling, sick, and busy again. I have started my just over six hours of German classes per week and not getting home until 9 two nights per week is making the weeks go quite fast. I am glad I didn't have to go to graduate classes much during the weeks I was teaching otherwise I might not have ever finished my master's degree.

German class is going well and is actually really fun! It is fun being like a kid again and learning something for the first time. Usually when I go to professional development stuff in education, it is very cerebral... so it is fun doing something that is just basic. Don't get me wrong, basic does not equal easy!
To learn the alphabet, we had to dictate words to each other and spell them. After a long day of teaching and a few hours of German class, the spelling words degenerated into silliness. Brain fry = reversion to 7th grade. But, let's be honest, I'm never far off!
German grammar is not easy! And, there are more articles and pronouns than I know what to do with! I don't think this will be my last German class if I really want to learn the language! Just like when I was in Spain and we thought it was hilarious to ask "How is the bathroom?" instead of "Where is the bathroom?" we have gotten stuck on nonsensical phrases like Ich bin käse which means...I am cheese. But, it lets us practice the ä which is different from a regular a. Anyway, generally, by the end of the 3 hours and 20 minutes class after a long work day, I am delirious and a bit silly.

The class is through an adult/continuing education program offered by the city. It will go until December so I should have a decent foundation by the end of the semester. At least, hopefully, I will be able to speak to waiters and the check-out people at the grocery store without just staring blankly at them all the time. There are people from all over the world in my class, mostly business people who would like to learn German for work. There are also two teenage boys in the class with faux-hawks who talk the entire time. They don't speak English so our teacher warnings (there are six of us from school in the class of 22) fall on deaf ears. The German teacher told them to go home the other day. Ugh. But, comical nonetheless.

In other news...

Last weekend I went to Holland with my friend Rhonda (Canadian but taught in Norway the last three years!). We went to Rotterdam on Friday after school on the train. It took just over two hours to get there. Her aunt and uncle from Canada were there for work so we met up with them. In actuality, even though we stayed in Rotterdam, we spent the whole weekend in Amsterdam which is only a 40 minute local train ride away. It was a super fun weekend (except poor Rhonda got a wicked cold which I now have!).
(My mom and dad will be visiting the shoe in stay tuned!!!)
I love Amsterdam (and not for the reasons everyone always jumps to) because it is a beautiful city. The canals and 400 year old canal houses are just gorgeous. Every single house is unique and I love watching people fly safely around on their bikes because there are bike lanes everywhere! We mostly just walked around but did take a canal tour. You know me, can't stay away from river/canal/harbor cruises. Actually, I wouldn't have done it again in Amsterdam had I not been with people who'd never been there. Don't worry, I will do another one when my parents come to visit next month!

This was the perfect scene of Amsterdam. Bikes, canal boat visible through the rungs, and canal houses in the background. So interesting...except when you have to carry 900 pounds of luggage up the winding staircase like I did last year when Courtney and I were in Amsterdam. We'd had the bright idea that it would be better to share one huge bag instead of two small ones. Wasn't such a bright idea! 
Amsterdam and a weekend in Holland was also an opportunity to go on a carb bender! Except for a few beers here and there, I hadn't eaten sugar, potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, etc. for the last 9 weeks. The upside is that all of my clothes fit again and I got to tighten my belt a notch. The downside is that I live in Europe where there is SO MUCH deliciousness everywhere! So, I gave myself the weekend off and we started the minute we got to the train station!
They sell these delicious pretzels everywhere (brezel in German) and yes, I am drinking a Czech Budvar...I think where we ripped off Budweiser! I just like Pilsner, it has nothing to do with the label. 
The other reason for the bender when going to Holland is the BITTERBALLEN! They are deliciously fried balls of deliciousness. There is no other way to describe them, really. They are some sort of meat stew which is then deep fried and you dip them in mustard. I went ape-y for them last year when I was in Amsterdam with Courtney and I decided that being able to stuff my face with them was a good workout goal to keep me motivated over the last few weeks. I wish I could be motivated by things like good health, etc. but no, fried food is what does it for me!
Rhonda with some beers and bitterballen.  (I think the beers are Belgian but hey...Belgium is close!)
Amsterdam also has delightful small shops that are open on Sundays...unlike everything in Germany. There is no such thing as a relaxing Saturday because all errands have to be done on Saturdays as everything is closed (including grocery stores) on Sundays. In Holland, everything is still open so we spent most of Sunday shopping in the tiny streets of Amsterdam. Shopping however, was preceded by a viewing of the Canada vs. France World Cup Rugby match. Rhonda is a big rugby fan (and player) and so we met up with a friend of a friend in Amsterdam for some morning rugby watching at an Irish Pub.  Cappuccinos instead of beers.

A men's shoe store. Not in Colorado anymore. 
  This weekend wasn't quite as eventful as I ran a lot of errands. Not having a car makes errands take a lot longer. I don't miss having a car most of the time, but for carrying groceries, or a quick trip somewhere, it would be nice sometimes. Yesterday we ventured to a store called Obi which is like Home Depot because I really need some new curtains and some other stuff for my apartment. It took two trams and a bus ride to get there but we found it eventually.
Obi = Germany's version of Home Depot. It is even orange!
My favorite part? They had the German equivalent of Depot Dogs....Bratwurst! 
A lot of debacles and hilariousness often ensue when trying to buy things in a foreign country where you don't speak the language. There was a fair amount of sign language and pointing to buy some screws and don't even get me started on the curtain situation. That was WAY beyond my German vocabulary. Unless the German phrases needed are "What is your name? Where are you from? What languages do you speak? and What do you do for work?" then I am at a loss in most situations!

School is still going well. I still really like it there. And, speaking of, I need to end this post so I can do a little! I have a German test tomorrow! YIKES!!!

1 comment:

AS said...

I can just hear you now...giggling away while learning German, dog-tired after a day of teaching! I'm so happy you're having a wonderful experience in Germany, Lizbeth! Keep your posts coming...I love them....and you!!!