the countdown is on. less than a week ’till my eyes get fixed up. The countdown is also on for a long weekend..somehow it’s October already, and I feel a little cooped up and need some new scenery for a change.

The German classes are going well now, I am also making an effort to take in several other sources of learning, including podcasts, and language learning CDs. I am really liking the slowergerman.com podcast so far. The lady reads from her diary entries about life in Munich. Be damned if I understand what she’s saying, but at least now I’m picking up on the occasional word. I think to really learn a language properly, you have to get the vocabulary down, which is no small feat, but you also have to hear the language spoken often. If you hear it often, then you can pick up on any nitpicky details like grammar, pronunciation, conjugation, and so on. I also find it helps to have a huge mouthful of saliva to speak German properly, it just sounds more accurate that way.

I am also hoping to schedule additional private tutoring time with an authentic German speaker, maybe even over the period of our course. I want to make even more of an effort this time to have some fluency in the language when we go over to Germany next year. I felt really quite embarrassed and helpless when I arrived in Berlin in 2004, and pretty much all I could do is ask people if they spoke English. I could tell a lot of people did understand English but didn’t want to bother with the tourist that couldn’t be bothered to learn their language before visiting. And I think that’s fair, really. We can’t just go all over the world and expect the world to conform to us. And if we expect them to come here and speak English, turnabout is fair play. Their yard, their rules.

I was also pretty ashamed to experience that almost everyone I encountered spoke at least two languages fluently. In one case, a fellow spoke fluent English, German, Portuguese, French, and had a basic working knowledge of Swedish as well. That’s pretty humbling to me, and the memory still encourages me to work towards having a comfortable ability to use the language. So far, the daily bombardment in small doses from a bunch of different teachers and sources seems to be the best strategy, and I hope with application of effort, I turn out a good finished product.

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