Tuesday, May 5, 2015

My Week: May 3 ed.

Phew! It was a busy (as always) week, full of adventures and German learning.

-My new German learning class at the uni Verein started. I had hoped to take B2.1 there since I am already taking B1.2 at the Volkshochschule right now but the Verein stuck me in the same level. I wrote to the leader of the program that I was placed in the wrong class and that I should be in the next class. Well, here's looking back to the February blog entry I wrote about finishing the last Verein class when I didn't take the test at the end of it and was wondering why everyone thought it such a shame I wasn't taking it:

"It also makes me think that I should have researched more fully the benefits of taking the exam! With my luck, it's probably required before taking the next class or something."

Yep, my comment was prophetic: I had to take the test to get into the B2 class and Herr R wouldn't have it that I thought I should move on to the next class since I was already taking B1.2 at the VHS. So, here I am in B1.2 again. However, it's not all bad. My understanding is that the Verein's test is the same one would use to prove language proficiency in order to obtain citizenship in Germany. This will give me an additional opportunity to study and I don't have a deadline to finish all the classes to reach C1 or C2 level. The other bonus is that two of the girls from my previous class are in the new one and we sit together.

Taking both German classes does make for two very long post-work nights a week: I'm either in class or driving between classes for four hours, two nights a week.

-I went on a tour of the new K in Lautern Mall. I'm such an inhabitant of Nerdsville that of course I seized the opportunity to ask all of my burning questions about the mall. I even had my little notebook to record the answers and a blog post about it will follow. I'm sure you just can't take the suspense.

-I spent the weekend in the Stuttgart area with my friends C and K. I was invited to their Garten Party and stayed the weekend at C's parents' house. What a lovely time it was! I was thrilled to experience some very local German life.

C has been hosting this party for several decades now, since he was a teen, at his family's garden plot just outside the city. He invited the same friends who attended when they were all teenagers as well as some newer friends; I was the newest friend (we met in January). It was a lively night with a campfire, grilling, and good company.

I didn't want to crash the party too much so I decided that I would speak mostly German that night. I spoke German, but didn't understand as much as I had hoped that I would because of the heavy Schwäbisch dialects. One guy's accent was so heavy that I only understood about every 5th word! I did enjoy myself and spent a lot of time practicing listening. Their friends welcomed me and were friendly.

The garden. Everything is so beautiful and green now after the spring rain.
I spoke with H, who is African and is also learning German at about the same level where I am. She asked me why I wasn't drinking any beer. Well, the gardens have no official restroom facilities once the restaurant closed, so I didn't want to tempt fate. We were giggling about not wanting to be "Garten Pinkelerinnen.*"

We escaped the party unscathed and returned to C's parents' house. The next morning involved clean-up and then some time spent with R and G, his parents. They are absolutely lovely and welcomed me warmly the whole weekend. We had some nice conversations in German and English. They proudly showed me pictures of an American family who had previously been their tenants and they had befriended. It sounds as if they had become like family for R and G. I can see where they would have grown close, just based on how warmly R and G welcomed me into their home. When I was leaving for home, R hugged me and kissed me on the cheek, asking me to come back again so they could show me around the area more. G shook my hand and said that I was welcome back any time. It was a wonderful experience and I do hope to see them again.

*basically, it means garden (lady) pee-ers. I have no idea if it's really a German word; it probably isn't.


  1. Ahhh, welcome to the Schwabenland. I'm glad you spent some time here! I find the Schwäbisch dialect charming but definitely difficult. Even my husband, who grew up in Esslingen, has had to say to the locals on occasion, "Could you please repeat that, but in German?"

    Gartenpinklerinnen isn't a word as far as I know, but it certainly should be. (Not that I would do it either...)

  2. It doesn't help that it was being spoken by very deep-voiced men who were a bit lit up with drink ;) I have such a hard time understanding men with really deep voices too.

    C's mother, R, has the most lovely way of speaking both German AND English. She speaks very properly and very clearly. She was in England for a while so has some British inflections but that has been tempered by having American tenants.

    I'm always wondering if I am picking up the Pfälzisch dialect, which I don't want to have happen. I'd like to be as dialect-free as possible.