The learning curve is definitely sharp

Tonight is technically our short night since it is the middle of the week and this is about the time that most students begin to experience their head detaching from their neck with great sizzling clouds of smoke that are scented with the faint aroma of a grilled cheese that has been in the pan too long. In other words, the brain’s melting from all the stuff crammed into it. I know I am certainly at that stage. Today was full of the perfect and imperfect and the past, intermixed with the Normal and Not Normal verbs. That’s literally what they are called in Dutch – normaal werkworden and niet normaal werkworden. A verb translates to “work word”. How very practical. It has been so long since I took English grammar lessons, that I feel like a big idiot because I can not relate the grammar types and rules in Dutch to English.

There are two German ladies who keep tracking me down to speak English with, which is not helping my Dutch. I share a bus ride with the two German ladies, 1 American learning Dutch, 3 Dutch learning French and 1 Russian Dutch learning English. There are 57 students participating this week. I am amazed at the amount of coordination that has to come into play because every student has an individualized instruction plan.

It is rainy and windy outside so I don’t have to worry about missing balmy weather for studying time. Today, every lesson I participated in was a meltdown. And the last session of the day is always the hardest because I am tired and that’s the one with the lead teacher for my plan so there’s no mercy. It is a good thing this is not my first week in the Netherlands or some of his directness might really have offended me. Fortunately, by now I am somewhat acclimated to the no holds barred conversation. It is definitely a bit of a battle in his office. It is very territorial. It feels like every time I am make a point in Dutch properly and emphatically, it is the equivalent of peeing on a tree like the dogs. Because then he “pees” right back and on we go. Tomorrow, we’ll be debating the construction of the architecture of an IT application in Dutch. Promises to be fun.

I have met some interesting people. I hope that we’ll keep in contact once the week ends since it is always useful to have people to meet for a coffee and to practice your grammar. I miss my pets. The hotel is really nice and out in the countryside. However, since I leave here when it is dark and get back when it is dark, there’s not much to see.

This week has also been pretty emotional, because learning this language only makes me miss my mom more it seems. The last language I learned, Spanish, we learned together at North Seattle Community College. You can imagine what kind of learning environment my mom and I added to when we were practicing Spanish together. I remember the teacher being Japanese and I think he was glad we didn’t go for the second year 🙂

1 thought on “The learning curve is definitely sharp

  1. Hi Caroline!
    Waarom heb je niet in het Nederlands geschreven op je blog (why didn´t you write in dutch on your blog)? Oh boy oh boy, just you wait ’till your mad male head teacher finds out…!

    Hope you a’re having a great time in the nunnery with all those old and wrinkly little nuns! And don’t worry about feeling like a big idiot; your story caused me to think about my own knowledge of dutch grammar types and rules and I came to the shocking conclusion that I can hardly remember any of them (and that while I’m dutch, for … sake)!

    See you soon; behave!

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