October 2nd, 2010

Lara

TL,DR (now with REAL grammar action!)

It was a pretty good week, despite Remy being sick for a few days. On Monday, I went to one of the nearby libraries for a meeting of a German conversation club. The moderator of the club emails news articles to everyone, then you're supposed to read those and come to the meeting prepared to discuss them- auf Deutsch, natürlich. I always try to keep up with reading and listening, but prior to Monday, I hadn't actually attempted to speak German in ages. The last occasion was over the phone, with my mom's friend Simin, who lives in Germany. "Tante" Simin, as I call her, exchanges emails in German with me on occasion. She knows German and Farsi fluently, and just a smattering of English. Still, several times during our attempt at conversation, she was forced to explain herself in English because I was being a retard and couldn't figure out how to say what I wanted to say. I couldn't remember a word, or I was trying to juggle all the verb, gender, plural, and adjective ending rules, so my brain just seized up.

If you don't speak German often, It's all but guaranteed that you're going to screw something up ("Shit, how many goddamn verbs have to be thrown onto the end of this sentence?" That's the one that frequently gets me). Most native Germans are not forgiving about it. The nicer ones will detect your accent, and reply to you in English; on the whole, their English is damn good. The meaner ones will taunt you by asking ,,Was?" repeatedly.

I had no idea whether the conversation group was populated by native Germans or not. I also knew that they requested intermediate to fluent speakers only. And, the articles for this week's discussion were about Germany's atomic energy policy and the rising trend of domestic violence committed by females.

Was I intimidated? Hell yes. Here I hadn't exchanged a ,,Wie geht's?" in however long, and I would have to try stumbling through advanced topics. Well, I figured, it's a group discussion. I'll probably be listening most of the time anyway, and can just chime in whenever I feel brave.

So I went... and at the beginning, the moderator and I were the only ones there. I seem to have this uncanny ability to scare away regular members whenever I attend a club meeting for the first time. The moderator basically interviewed me about our topics. His German was very good, but I couldn't tell if he was a native speaker or not. I understood most of what he said, more than I could say back, but I held my ground. A couple of other girls showed up later to help round out the discussion, and I wound up having a pretty good time, even though there were several points where I had to stop mid-sentence because I didn't know how to phrase what was in my head. As my mom says, though, you just have to keep trying to spit it out. The next meeting is in two weeks, I'll definitely be going again.

On Tuesday, our friend Nick ("Apples") and his fiancee made a stop in Pittsburgh for a night- they're moving from upstate NY to Denver, CO. We took them out to dinner, and had a great time. I hope for the best for them in Denver. Visiting them out there one of these days should be awesome.

Remy was sick from Wednesday onward, unfortunately, but he's better now. Still, this counts as one of the more social weeks I've had in a while.

Otherwise, some random stuff I've been up to...
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