Guten Tag von Heidelberg!

Hello Dear Readers!  At long last, I am inspired to put pen to paper, and share with you some of my current journey (you lucky things!)  If you are wondering where I have been, you may want to check out my other blog Sparkles Enlightened, for an honest and raw insight in to life with a rare illness.

Now, back to me.  My sudden urge to begin writing, after an extended hiatus, could be explained by two things:

1.  Finally, my adrenals are behaving properly, and producing the the right stuff, including the hormone dopamine- (this gives you ‘feeling good vibes- including interest and enthusiasm for life); oder

2.  The usual- it enables one to avoid doing something else- in this case, my German homework!

Yup, you read correctly- German homework.   After accidentally visiting Germany in 2010  (Buses, Beer, Babes and the Black Forest)     I fell in love with the country, and (unusually, I am told) the sound of the language- credit must go to my friend Sebastian, whose southern accent is soft and musical. Having been embarrassed about my mono-linguistic status for some years now, I decided in 2012 to pull finger and begin Deutsch lernen.

Fast forward to now, and I find myself in the beautiful (nay, magical) city of Heidelberg  enrolled in an intensive German language course at the Sprachschule (language school).

Heidelberg Hauptstrasse

Heidelberg Hauptstrasse

Since I began learning German, the most common thing people say to me after “Oh God! Why?!?” is,  “German is really hard.”

At the time, I laughed off these comments.  Now, I realise they were right, and that indeed I had no idea of the task ahead of me.   When you don’t know what you don’t know, there is blissful ignorance, a certain naive optimism.  However, such a happy bubble can quickly be squelched, even inverted, in to a gaping black hole of despair, when you find yourself in a grammar class that is a whole grade above your level, as I did during my first afternoon on the school.

Far from understanding the complexities of the grammar, I couldn’t actually understand ANYTHING the teacher said, because it was all in rapidly spoken German, using words I didn’t know,  in an accent  I’m not familiar with.

So there I was, day one, alone and friendless, feeling decidedly stupid in the worst “I’m naked at school” nightmare.  And then the teacher called on me to answer a question. Shit.

Pause.  Breath.  Awwwkward.    I looked down at the paper, searching for divine inspiration, or anything approximating an answer that wouldn’t belie my total ignorance.  The seconds stretched on.  I could feel a flush creeping over my face, and a twinge of panic.  I had nothing.

Let me just say as a side bar here, enrolling in a intensive foreign language school seemed like such a great idea when I decided on it from the comfort and security of my couch in Brisbane.  Like many things, ideas conceived at some distance from the event take on a glamour and an ease that make them seem simple and highly desirable.  However, when faced with their actual execution, such decisions can some times appear somewhat ill conceived, even delusional, as was the case here.  They warn you, of course, that you will feel this way on arrival, but the reality is something altogether different.

So why would I put myself through such a series of potential brown trouser moments?  Well let me fill in some gaps.  For a few years, I have had the desire to live overseas- for the experience, and if for nothing else, to appreciate my own country more.  I felt that if I didn’t go, I would deeply regret it.

With the benefit of being able to get an ancestry visa to live and work in the UK, I decided last year to do the Aussie pilgrimage, and move to London.  My plans got put on hold due to the circumstances alluded to in the aforementioned blog, but as soon as I got the all clear, I scrambled like crazy to get to Europe before the harsh cold reality that is winter set in.

While London is not my dream destination, I have hopes that being nearer Europe will give me better chance of getting work there.  Given Germany’s strong economy, and my liking for all things Deutsch, I am therefore prepared to undergo the roller coaster of thrills and demoralising agony, that is learning a foreign language.

But I digress.  Back to the classroom.  The teacher waited for my answer.

I opened my mouth closed it, opened it again, shrugged, and said (in English) “I have no idea.”

She contemplated me for a moment, and said, not unkindly “I think you need to find an easier class.”  Fingers crossed for day 2.

About The Tina Sparkles Experience

Apparently, there are people who go traveling and just see things and nothing weird happens. I'm not one of those people....come on holiday with me and find out why!

7 Responses to “Guten Tag von Heidelberg!”

  1. Hurrah…hurrah…she writes. At last. Love the ending!

  2. So stolz auf Sie. Mach weiter so.

  3. Great article, and I hope the teacher’s blunt appraisal didn’t sting too much. Any photos of Germany for us photographers? Would love to see the architecture and landscape that one day I hope to visit in person!

  4. ‘Vundaba’.Great story telling as always.
    Keep up your courage oh sparkly one!

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