That’s the call I hear whenever I leave the room these days. Sometimes it’s “Molly, where are you?” but usually Anna has to actually see me to remember that it’s time for English. I am continuously amazed by the amount of words she speaks in both languages, the way she strings them together, and the things she remembers. Today, we started playing a modified version of “Red Light, Green Light,” in which one of us yells “GREEN!” and we both run around in circles until someone the other one yells “RED!” then one of us yells “GREEN!” und immer so weiter.
I haven’t updated the blog since I started my German class because I am just so tired at the end of each day. That’s a lame excuse, but hear me out. My biggest adjustment hasn’t been speaking another language or learning a new culture…it’s been living out in the country after five years in Atlanta with my own car! I have a hilly three kilometer walk to the closest train station, which is not terrible, but is still a long way to trudge home every night. Still, despite the inconveniences of living auf dem Land, I wouldn’t trade my host family or job for anything.
Monday through Thursday, I watch Anna from 7:30 to 12:30. We play, sing songs, read books, dance to “Old McDonald,” color, eat lunch, swim in the pool, etc. Then I have from 12:30 to 4:30 to do my German homework, wash dishes or clothes, read, and usually take a nap. At 4:30 or so, I walk to the train station, take the train to Linz and arrive at 6:00. It takes about 25 minutes to walk there, then I have to change trains and wait 20 mins, and so on. The direct train from Krenglbach to Linz is only 23 minutes, but there isn’t one before my class. I have German from 6:30 to 8:30, then take the train back to Krenglbach, then walk home. I usually get back around 9:45.
It’s kind of a long day, made longer mostly by public transportation. Because I leave to early for my class, I pack a sandwich and bring it along. I also listen to audiobooks–right now I’m getting hooked on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. Shout out to the Jefferson County Public Libraries, for having so many audio and e-books that I can download! (English books are super expensive in Austria.)
I really like my German class (even though we did literal grammar drills for an hour last night). It’s composed of thirteen people from 11 different countries: Russia, Ukraine, Palestine, Afghanistan, Spain, Iraq, England, Romania, Bulgaria, China, and the USA (me). Whenever the teacher brings up a topic, be it astrology, common sayings, board games, or the influence America has had on your country (that was a loaded one!), we all approach the issue from a different cultural perspective. Most sentences start with In meinem Land… (“in my country…”), and I feel like I am learning so much more than German (although that is going well too!). Having a class four nights a week keeps Deutsch continuously running through my head.
On Fridays, I volunteer at LISA, an English language primary school in Linz. I work with a group of six and seven year olds, who are hilarious and so eager to learn. It’s funny, but after being with an (almost) two-year-old all week, they seem so big. Then I have the whole weekend to myself. Last week, I went to Plus City (a big shopping center) with my host family on Saturday, and met up with my friend Julie in Linz on Sunday. We went to a flea market and Cafe Jindrak (home of the original Linzer torte. So good!).
This weekend, I’m going to Innsbruck, which will hopefully be an Alpine winter wonderland! I want to see some schnee bedeckt mountains, bitte!