Laternenfest, Grammatiktest, and Tandem Partners


The first few weeks of school have been great.  The German semester begins in the middle of October and runs until the middle of February.  As the Wintersemester progresses, new classes start up, developing the curriculum.  I took a placement test last week, and I tested into a B1 course, but am actually in an A2/B1 course.  I requested a morning schedule, and the only availability they had was the A2/B1 course.  I’m actually glad that I’m in the A2/B1 course because there is a lot that we’re covering that I’m thankful to review.

Ezra, my oldest son, began his kindergarten at Kinderhaus Österberg a couple weeks ago.  He was having some trouble with some of the other kids, but now he’s starting to make friends.  The language barrier is tough, Ezra only knows a few words of German that I’ve taught him, and he often comes home feeling confused.  I told him that the kids at school want to get to know him, but they are just frustrated that he can’t speak German yet.  I told Ezra to give it some time, and he’ll be speaking German better than I do!  I also told him that the other kids will be nicer to him in time.

So, the second week of Ezra’s kindergarten they had their Laternenfest, a night of singing and carrying lanterns through the neighborhood in the night.  It was a great opportunity to meet fellow parents, have some pumpkin soup, and engage in a German tradition.  It felt so great and so weird to now be a part of this whole new community, thousands of miles away from our old community in Chico, where we did that same exact things: dropped of Ezra at school, met other parents, spoke with teachers, engaged with the community.  It is quite the experience.

I finally met with my tandem speaking partner. Universität Tübingen has a wonderful program that students can enroll in.  You select your native language, and the language that you want to learn, then you are partnered with someone whom you can meet with at your own discretion.  My first partner flaked on me, but now I have two partners, one of which I’ve already met with.  This is a great way to learn the everyday spoken language of modern Germans.

Last Friday, I took my first Grammatiktest.  The test covered German grammar concepts such as: Präsens, Präteritum, Perfekt, Modalverben, and Konjugation.  I feel great about the test.  There were a couple things I wasn’t sure about, but afterwards I looked them up, and I was correct!  I’ll have to wait to get my official grade, but I’m pretty sure I’m in the low A to high B range.  I will have another Grammatiktest next month.  Until then, I’m getting invaluable practice via my tandem partner, my colleagues, and by living here in Germany altogether.

This week I’m headed to Berlin on a school excursion.  I’ll be posting photos, writing a separate journal entry, and hopefully getting some good video footage.

Bis dann, Tschüss!