Most of my friends here in Hamburg are either expats or bilingual. Therefore, all of our conversations are in English. This has kept me in a rather nice bubble but it’s time to break out of that bubble somewhat.
On Tuesday night, I meet my new LARP group for the first time and they are all German speakers. A couple of them know a little bit of English but the conversation at the table was all in German. I left the meeting feeling very mixed. On the plus side, I was actually able to follow parts of the conversation and felt very glad I knew the words spielen (play), probleme (problems), dunkel (dark), böse (evil) and glaube (think) as they seems to constitute a very large part of all the conversations – then again, they were discussing gaming. However, I really struggled when people asked me questions directly. I think I failed to understand the majority of them. I soon learnt that there is a massive difference between the slow unaccented basic German that we hear in our German class and the fast accented daily German that everyone speaks. Also, that restaurants are really loud and noisy places.
I was down in the dumps all yesterday about this. But then I got thinking. I have only done 48 hours of German class and as everyone informs me German is a hard language to learn. I can’t possibly expect after 48 hours of class time to be able to participate in a fast paced German conversation nor to understand all the slang and accents. I should be proud of what I was able to understand and begin to ramp up my out of class German learning. The road to being fluent in German is going to be a long and hard one. I will stumble along the way, but I shouldn’t beat myself up about each tiny stumble.
Take this post as giving myself a good stern talking to.