Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Melting Pot

Meine Deutsch Klasse has started!

The first day was completely overwhelming. Of course, I got lost and arrived 30 minutes late. I was already embarrassed and then the teacher felt she had to catch me up. She went over every question and answer she had already taught the class, in GERMAN (surprisingly, a lot of information). With the pressure on and my very elementary background with Rosetta Stone, I still managed to embarrass the Rapalje name. My pronunciation was terrible and I sat there with my mouth open for seconds trying to figure out what she was saying. Remember, no English, only German.

The class is made up of about 10-12 other women from lots of different countries - Russia, Poland, Iran, Brazil, Spain, Japan, Thailand, Turkey, Iraq. The teacher speaks to us in German. Not many people in the class even speak English and I am the only American, so this is only fair.

We've had two classes so far and the teaching goes something like this:

Teacher: German jibber, german jibber, german jibber.
Class: mouths completely open, confused, having no idea what she is saying
Teacher: writes a frage (question) on the board.
Class: mouths open, still lost
Teacher: writes how she would answer the question on the board.
1/2 of Class: nods, gets it
Other 1/2 of Class: mouths still open
Teacher: tells us to write it down, in German
Teacher: Points to a random person, German jibber German jibber (telling us to go around asking the question we just learned).
Class: goes around in a circle, asking the person next to us, then answering.
Teacher: CONSTANTLY correcting our pronunciation.

After the first class, the teacher came up to me and said, ahhh an American! I just love English, let's speak in English! Turns out, she lived in Asheville, North Carolina for a few years for her husband's work (VW - pronounced in German "fow-vee"). Germans LOVE to practice their English on the Americans, but have very little patience with Americans practicing their German on them. Luckily, in this class, only German is tolerated, so I'll actually learn!

With heading to Venice tomorrow, I was worried about missing the class and being behind. Luckily though, it's a German holiday and class has been cancelled for both Friday and Monday - Fasching/Carnivale!

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