I am thrilled to be able to say that Matthias and I were able to find a decent language school for me and that I start classes next week for three hours a day Monday through Friday. I am eligible to take classes through a government-sponsored program for foreigners called “the Integration Course,” but not every private language school participates in this program. In other words, we were limited to very few private schools and the local town center classes were already full until January. The first school we checked out was just too far away, and the second one allowed us to observe a class for an hour and a half. It seemed like a good fit, and I learned a lot of helpful grammar during the short time we were observing. I took my entrance test the other day and was able to pass out of the first level. I almost passed out of the second level as well, but we thought it would be best to not start out way over my head and that I review all the grammar that is covered in the second level course. I am so excited to begin classes!
Actually, I was feeling rather pessimistic about learning German until Sunday evening. After church, we went out to eat with some folks and I met a fascinating young woman named Senta who spoke great English. She is German, but the daughter of Russian immigrants; I was amazed at what a vivacious woman she is and how passionate she is about philosophy, history, and all sorts of intellectual things. Since we are in Germany I always encourage my husband to speak German when we are with German people and not English. So, listening to her beautiful German inspired me not to give up but to press on, and she was extremely encouraging to me in my studies. She patiently explain some of the difficult words she used in her conversation and reminded me that learning German is really important to do. So, regardless of how I feel, I will press on and do my best. Hopefully, by the time I finish these six levels of German courses, I will be able to hold a decent conversation!
The other night we had an interesting experience. We attended a weekly event for foreigners living in Berlin and met people from all over the world: Spain, Argentina, Taiwan, England, the US, etc. It was like a giant party and I had so much fun meeting interesting people and hearing their stories of how they wound up in Berlin. I had the most fun talking with a few older ladies in their late 50’s who spoke English incredibly well. By the way, the event was held aboard a very fancy boat which created quite a lovely environment to get to know folks. I can’t wait to go again and meet more people. It seems not so hard to meet people in such a big city ; we have already met loads of Japanese folks! We ran into one Japanese lady in the bathroom at Ikea, a Japanese student at a local museum, and a Japanese teacher at the local secondhand shop. Hopefully, we’ll meet up with these new Japanese friends in the near future. So far, we have already met lots of interesting people, so I’m quite curious to see who God will bring into our lives during our time in Berlin.