September 8, 2015

German Swag 101: Counting Blessings

I was about a week behind the rest of the German Learners crew, so I had to catch up quickly or be lost forever.

Here's what I've gleaned so far:

Verb conjugations. Always key. There's this funny arrangement of personal pronouns where the formal you (Sie), she (sie), and they (sie) are all the same word.

Perfect past tense. It's a lot of extra letters, and I have a feeling I'll be saying sentences and just finishing with "ge-verb."

Every time I see or hear "schmuck," I laugh because that means, "jewelry." And, yes, it's just a bunch of schmuck.

I think "schwaig" is technically where "swag" came from. Especially since all it translates to is: schwaig. Swag is swag anywhere you go.

Numbers. After 1-10, I always struggle with this! Maybe high school Spanish ruined me because those numbers were all so basic. French numbers were always brutal (try having my birth year of 1986: "mille-neuf-cent-quatre-vingt-six" - or better translated as: one thousand, nine hundred, four twenties six).

Now I've got German numbers flooding my brain, and the tricky part here is they say it opposite of English. So, "24" is "4 and 20." Then we started learning how to tell time, and were told that while we can just say the literal numbers (6:35, for example), it is more common to say "6:35" like "5 after half until 7."

I say, "Whyyyyyyy meeeeeee?" to my slow death by numbers.

Do you use Duolingo for any language learning? We can connect our profiles to keep track of and encourage our progress! Mine is: "whatupswags" (of course). I'm using it primarily for German these days, but also for reviewing French, and still trying to add to my pathetic Spanish level. Join me!

Outside of language learning news, volleyball is settling nicely. Apparently, being a part of the "Rote Raben" (red ravens - and, no, they are not a real bird) volleyball club is like being a celebrity in this town. We get into the community pool complex for free, we get wifi in restaurants, and so on. The general assumption seems to be that if you don't speak German and do look slightly sporty, you're probably a part of the Rote Raben.

We've had our volleyball gear fitting, photo shoot, and newspaper interviews. The sports reporter didn't believe me when I told him my first impression of Vilsbiburg was that it smelled like Christmas. He responded, "Does California smell like something else?"

He also asked me what the difference between French and German volleyball was. I took a few moments before answering as tactfully as possible, "The level of player is similar, but the level of effort is much higher in Germany."

I could have answered with many more differences, but I think the effort level stands out the most to me. The other wonderful thing is that every team I've seen so far is totally committed to attacking out of system. I loooooooove this kind of volleyball (mainly because it's real volleyball). I also adore the fact that everyone comes to practice everyday, and my Swedish coach makes sure we always have twelve players so we can work on game situations for a large chunk of practice. (We NEVER had six players on even just one side last season because my French coach didn't like team volleyball. You should have seen him at matches....)

So all these volleyball things are different and better, but the most ironic thing is that I was named captain. Why is that ironic? Not because I'm not qualified, but, rather, because in the last four years, all of my French coaches weren't comfortable with me being a captain because, they said, my level of French could be a problem. Never mind that starting my second year in France, my coaches only communicated with me in French, I spoke to 90% of my teammates in French, I coached multiple teams in their clubs in French, I was doing job interviews and tryouts in French, and I was managing our entire life in France on my own.

It's ironic because I SPEAK GERMAN LIKE A 2-YEAR-OLD. But my team doesn't care; I'm the setter, I'm the oldest, and I'm the captain. End of story.

You know how when you make a big life decision and you hope someday you'll be able to know that it was the right one? A lot of people have to wait months, even years, for evidence of this. Sometimes we always end up waiting for proof because it was actually the wrong decision.

Marc and I are beyond blessed to be able to say that God has already made it clear that we made the right decision - and we haven't even been here for three full weeks. We know it won't all be sunshine and roses (the snow will damper that quite a bit), but whatever challenges arise, we know we are in the right place to face them.