Monday, May 5, 2008

Back to School

Today was my first day back to German class. I was surprised how many women were there, however I am excited at meeting some new ladies. Most of them were quite vocal, which was a nice contrast from my last school.

While not everyone attended today, there was an interesting array of people with China, Kazakhstan, Iran, Japan, Spain, Chile, France, and of course America being represented. Some people have been here for several months while others have been here for 5 years or so. Whenever I am in a situation like this I instantly realize how hard foreigners must work and how much I should appreciate never having to flee a place due to political strife. I think besides learning German is feeling the common connection and unity over our struggles.

I often find it funny how the moment people learn I have a German husband they act as though learning German should be absolutely no problem for me. I often feel the need to remind people that he works - a lot, and that in order to have a relationship you still need to adequately communicate. I realize that it does have it's advantages and navigating through the Bavarian way of life has been easier due to his language skills, however it's not always uniting since we don't go through that aspect together.

Gradually we do speak a larger mix of English and German, however it's not as easy for me to relinquish one of the last things that is mine. I walk a fine line of wanting to be integrated into the culture here and also maintain a bit of my identity after giving up so much in the name of love.

The woman in my class who comes from Iran was telling me she speaks Persian with her daughter at home and how important it is that the mother tongue is not forgotten. Several sentences later she was being slightly contrary in asking why my husband and I didn't speak German exclusively. I realize I will never forget English and would probably learn German much more effectively if I did use it under any and all circumstances, however I'd rather learn it on my own time without feeling forced and resentful.

It was nice to see I am not the only one with conflicting wishes and ideas about how to achieve them. It will be an interesting month ahead!


JoernandAllison said...

Congratulations to you for starting in on German school again. It is always wonderful to meet a whole new mix and learn their stories. The one common theme often is only that you're all living in Germany, which I find really wonderful.
I wish you a lot of luck this month!

alcyone said...

I get the same reaction when I tell people my husband is Danish. I have started saying, "my husband is Danish, but…" to cut off the people who are so wont to exclaim that makes it so much easier to learn a very difficult language. Yes, he's Danish, BUT he works all day, BUT he is very much not a teacher, BUT we've been speaking English the entire time we've been together and it's very hard to change old habits! I speak more Danish when we're not together than when we are.