Thursday, October 7, 2010

This Time it is Different

We had a great time living in Wulfen, Germany several years ago (so much that we’re back in Germany). While we were there, however, we unknowingly, yet successfully, isolated ourselves from getting a thorough German experience. This time is different and we have really noticed a different experience, even after only 1 month here.

Not Just a Tourist

I have been asked for directions three times while walking in Munster. I even tried to help someone find the correct address (that poor person). Talk about the blind leading the blind. In order to get three people to ask me directions in less than 3 weeks leads me to believe that either, a) I really look like I know what I am doing or b) everyone else in the city is as lost as I am (I still get lost in Munster).


Our boy is no longer known as Dylan. We only refer to him these days as, "No Dylan!" "Dylan stop!" "Dylan get back here!" and "Dylan don’t touch!" (Somewhere, my Mom is laughing her head off.) We wouldn’t trade it for anything, but he has made our German experience different so far. By the way, do any of our local German friends know of a good babysitter?

We have lots of pictures of Dylan's back because he is always running away from us.
 Oscar and Dylan Conversations in German

Walking a dog makes you interact with people that you otherwise wouldn’t. This can be very awkward, especially if the conversation goes past, “What is your dog’s name?” or “This is Oscar.” If someone is talking to us, we just smile/nod and pray that they don’t ask us a question. Same thing goes for walking a very cute and social Dylan around town. It leads to the same thing at the park and the city center. This is really motivating us to learn German quicker.

I am getting better each day with German, though when I take a step back, I still have a really long way to go. The Rosetta Stone software is really helping, but it is a slow process. I have determined that I am stuck on level one. I will know that I’ve advanced when I understand jokes in German and will officially move to level 2 when I make people laugh in German (this is my unofficial measuring stick).

“I’m a Driver, I’m a Winner”

Driving a stick is fun…I think. I only used a car 2-3 times last time we were here (and it was at night during the week when no other cars were around). This time, I have to drive 50-55 minutes into Munster each way. Driving is much better than taking the bus, so I had plenty of motivation to learn.

A couple of Saturday mornings ago, I got the keys for the team van (also our car) and was determined to teach myself how to drive stick. This was the same way I learned how to ski in Colorado. “Leave me alone for 2-3 hours and I will figure this out myself.” I wonder where Dylan gets his independence from?

For 10-15 minutes in the parking lot, I could not get the car to go backwards. I was following directions as the stick was saying. I would move the stick all the way to the left and forward. The car would lurch forward, closer to the tree. I would try it again. Still closer to the tree. Move it all the way to the left, and push forward. That’s what the stick says. The van is now running up the tree.

I made the embarrassing walk back to ask a really simple question, “Just one thing…How do you put it reverse? Oh you push down and move it to the left and forward.” Not a good start.

Once I figured out how to put the car in reverse, I picked up the rest fairly quickly. After a few trips from Borken to Munster and back (as well as sitting in Munster rush hour traffic) I am getting much better despite what Dana says. The street signs are easy to understand and I get to go on the Autobahn each way. I had a police car pull behind me when I was doing over 150km (90 mph) on the Autobahn last week. I froze for a minute until I remembered that there is no speed limit and I just needed to move over and let them pass. (This is very important on the Autobahn you only pass on the left. No exceptions.)

These differences are really helping us get a good feel for what life in Germany is really like and is better preparing us for, hopefully, our next few years here.

Dana insists I put up new photos of Dylan in each post, so here you go.  These were taken a few days ago at the "Wasser Schloss" or "Water/Moated Castle" in town.


Melanie said...
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Melanie said...

heyyyy!! i am so glad you are liking Germany... Dylan is gettign soooo big....I could move to Germany and be the nanny once again lol... let me know when you all come back to Florida so we can catch up...i am praying for all of you even fun hope to see you soon..
Melanie Aka Nay nay