Category Archives: school

Scheiße wird echt

That’s a literal translation of “shit gets real,” not that an actual German would ever say that, probably. But yeah. There’s been some conflict in the class, and today saw a confrontation between the teacher and another student, and, um. (Backstory: parental conflict left me with some fairly deep psychological scars, so generally when I see people in conflict I get very distressed, though I’m getting better at hiding it.) So basically, a minor thing happened and I’m reacting badly to it for reasons which I know are not very good but I can’t find the off-switch. Continue reading

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Hanging in there

Three weeks in, the German class is still pretty exhausting. We collectively asked the teacher to shorten the class a bit, because we’re all brain-dead by 12:30, but she can’t. This is a federally-funded pilot project and you know governments: the people who control the money and set the targets don’t know jack about education. From a pedagogical standpoint, the last hour of class is essentially wasted time, and since this is a pilot project, I plan to make my feedback known to everyone I can find.

The content’s great, however. So! Much! Grammar! I love grammar. Systems, yum. And the teacher is really good too, she’s taken our feedback and is trying to work in some slightly less demanding programming for the last 90 minutes of class. She’s doing a good job of working within the limitations imposed by clueless outsiders.

Eventually I suppose I’ll get used to the pace. Right now this German class is feeling like the Only Thing I Do, but I kinda need to stop thinking like that. I’ve got two kids at home again. I’m planning, shopping, and cooking for four, from scratch, at least 6 nights a week, supervising homework, and I’ve even taught the Spawn how to do housework. It’s not much, but it’s not nothing. I’m even going to bed at a reasonable hour! Usually. Speaking of which, it’s past my bedtime. Remind me to tell you about the job-coaching sometime…

Song du jour of the day: Werewolf, by CocoRosie


crawling toward the light

So after Ohmygodthisday came Tuesday, wherein everything in the world did not happen, but I still passed out on the couch for an hour or so and dinner was really late. And I was thinking if one 5-hour German class is the only thing I can achieve in a whole day, then maybe I shouldn’t get a job. Or maybe just a very small one, but they don’t have those any more. And then on Wednesday the city decided to block the road with a giant roadwork project so we had to find another way to school, and we also found out (the slow and smelly way) that Wednesday is garbage day in the part of town we need to drive through to get to school so the kids were late and I was late and kind of needed a nap by the time I got to class.

And this evening we have a house guest.  Continue reading


OH my GOD this DAY!

Of course I should have written ages ago about school for the boys and German classes for me and how and why and all that, but I didn’t, so now it will have to suffice to say that we all started our respective classes today, and if time is Nature’s way of keeping everything from happening at once then Nature needs some slapping.

WELL. I went to my first German class in Mannheim and omg this is a great group of people so that’s excellent news. But I am probably the most advanced student there (yeah, I should be, after 19 frickin’ years), and my head felt all ‘splodey after 5 very intensive hours, and some of the other students looked pretty freaked. I hope they don’t decide to leave the class. Especially since a bunch of them speak Spanish and I’m all keen to practice that. And also German. I know, I know. Anyway. Head. ‘Splodey. Continue reading


once more into the breach

So, that was my week off. Dutch Intensive level B starts tomorrow, wherein I will be expected to do two hours of class time and three hours of homework every day, and without the head start I had in the level A class (I took a few lessons while we were still in Germany, so the first 3-4 weeks was mostly review).

I should be blinching about this, but I just had a week off, and I swear, there were moments in there when I did not know what to do with myself. I had so much TIME! The house was even briefly clean, and some ironing got done. Okay, yes, dish towels. I know, but the edges get all accordion-y and they don’t stack properly unless you iron them. Am I digressing?

Anyway. I think that break was good for me, and I’m ready to dive into Dutch. (Yeah right. Tomorrow I’ll be all, “egad, y’all, my head is imploding.”)

Btw, Red requests a “song du jour of the (past) year” and also a “song du jour of the decade.” Now you know I am not hep to what the young cats are digging and all that…er, jive, so I’m not even sure I can name a song that came out last year. I was going to mention a Bloc Party song, but I thought I’d just check to be sure (fact checking! Journalists take note!) and it turns out that CD was released in 2007. Wow. Um. So, I’m not ignoring the request, it’ll just… take a bit longer than I thought it would.

But for today’s song du jour of the day, how about Spinal Tap’s The Majesty of Rock.


school and alala! hee!

So today was the first day of my intensive Dutch course, all the way on the other side of town, twenty whole minutes by bicycle, oh the agony! (Before, it was 20 minutes to the train station, buy the ticket, wait wait wait, 40 minutes to East Station in Munich, and then at least a 10-minute subway ride to anything interesting, so this is something of an improvement.)

Aaaand what can I say? It’s a Dutch class. I took about 10 lessons before we moved, and I’ve been here two months, so I already knew everything in today’s lesson, but of course that won’t stay true. Classmates seem nice enough, teacher seems nice enough, building is your typical academic thingy, all beautiful brick and big windows on the outside, institutional linoleum and ugly furniture on the inside. They gave us a free binder! And a notebook, and a clicky-pen! Not bad for €1025, eh?

That’s right. I said €1025. They better run out of stuff I already know pretty quick, is all I’m sayin’.

Oh! And in the welcome-to-the-Netherlands department, I had my first bike crash today! Lost control of the bike, hit the pavement BAM! and that was it. No other people involved, no serious injury, though a man did stop to see if I needed help. Very nice of him, but thankfully not necessary. Aside from a scuff-mark on one of my gloves, I am unscathed.

Song du jour of the day: Everybody Wants to Rule the World, by Tears for Fears.


what we know about school so far

Those of you following Ignatz’s academic exploits will recall that I was teaching him Greek so he’d be ready for the third year of his new school. Yeah, that didn’t work out. About three chapters in, he decided it was too much work and he’d rather go into the second year, and take an extra year of school in order to save himself a bit of effort right now (so completely typical). I stuck it out for another three chapters, but gargh. We fought about it every day, and eventually I just tabled it – we let the school know that Year 2 would be better, and I was waiting to see how that would work out before I brought up the Greek thing again. We just heard from them. He got a spot in Year 2, in the school that we bought a house near (they have two schools in the city). Exactly what we wanted, in other words, so now I don’t have to teach him Greek. Huzzah!

I still have to teach him French, though. Continue reading