“Mahmoud is een wonder!” Anne teased him at the moment when comprehension dawned: the lightbulb went off and Mahmoud got it: heel goed! I can tell you that I need a few more miracles if I am going to pass de examen in Januari.
I agree with Amin, who said “remembering” when we were discussing our various challenges with learning Nederlands last week:
“Heb ben jullie problemen?”
“Amin hebt een probleem speciale!”
“He’s so young for Alzheimer’s!”
Maar Amin is niet alleen.
Me too. :-/
Marinela answers questions on my behalf when I am too confused! (Even though a few weeks ago she was, like, uh, “How many different ways are there to say the time?!”) Bouchra lets me look at her huiswerk. Excellent examples of teamwork! Topi is my role model: she thinks for awhile to see if she can figure out what Anne is asking, then she asks, “Wablieft?” Come again? Yea, and if you repeat what you said about zeven times maybe I will get it. Misschein. (sigh)
The propaganda about America and the European Parliament that I distributed for fun is obviously not enough. Papa Obama or not: ik weet het niet = nul! And I’m referring only to the vocabulary – the grammar is totally guesswork as anyone with a smattering of Nederlands is painfully aware. :-/
Marsi – even though she abandoned us to jump to level 1.4 (!) – has dropped in twice: once with candy from Sint Niklaas and just before the break (eergisteren) with cookies she says she baked herself. Uh huh. (Mahmoud had to be convinced to share them with the rest of us . . . ) Meanwhile, Tolu tells me I look like a teenager (?!) and Patricia says, “Steph is a teenager.” The nerve! 🙂
My accent is also awful. Tim had to ask me, “Wat?!” after nearly everything I tried to say in Nederlands. “You think I can jump that high?” I asked him. “I hope so,” he replied, fervently. Jammer! I did give Susan a double take when I pronounced “Daag” properly – a feat I am not sure how I accomplished and probably cannot repeat. Marsi will never let me live down that I said smakelijk is the opposite of moeilijk. (The right answer is gemakkelijk.) [You understand why she is amused: easy, not tasty, is the opposite of difficult.]
The three days I was absent hurt. Gewledig! Big time problem. Although I did realize our infamous soap opera was poking fun at Amerikanen, even before Anne reminded everyone that I’m American. 😉 Neemt u mij niet kwalijk! We’re not all bad! Then the soap turns and makes fun of itself, touching on very politically incorrect topics with the kind of humor that would not find its way into most language classes in the United States. The videoprogramma generates a special voor buitenlanders (that’s us in this level one course: strangers from another land) to address kultuurimperialisme and profile the karacter op de Belg.
positief karacteriesteken op de Belg:
- diplomatic talent
- respect for privacy
with accompanying negatief karacteriesteken op de Belg:
- indirect communication (niet zo open)
- separated (individualistic rather than communal)
All of this talk of stereotypen led our conversation back to kultuurshok. I realize part of my trouble with the trams and trains is that I am used to driving – which requires paying attention. When someone else is ‘driving,’ my mind goes elsewhere – with a book, writing, or daydreaming – then whooooooooooooooosh those stops just fly right on by! I’m amused by the supremely ordered traffic lights – specifically designated signals for automobiles, bicycles, and pedestrians – which nearly everyone obeys! There is no “language of klaxons” as Mahmoud labeled the incessant honking he, Amin, and Patricia miss from Egypt, Iraq, and the Dominican Republic. The food, we agree, is good and (!) – nearly everyone has a dish or several that they miss from home. Except for Bouchra. No kultuurshok. Grrl got it all together.