Thursday, May 12, 2011

Yet another inburgering intake

I thought I was through to the classroom.

Letters arrived while I was in England, I was summoned to the Dutch Language Institute for a recitation on (the day before I returned to the Netherlands).  A Dutch friend picked it up and made my apologies – we rescheduled for 9:30 am this morning.

The venue turned out to be a college on the upriver-outskirts of Maastricht.  I pedaled over early to get the layout – an active church outside with shrines up and down the street,a cross on the schoolbuilding.  Inside, dim tile halls and wire-windowed rooms: computer labs with students in rows with headsets, classrooms with students in rows making hard ‘g’ noises.  This must be it.

Ingang Boven –> I took the invitation and headed upstairs.  The woman mopping the floor yelled at me for tiptoeing through the edge of a wet spot.  No sign of an intake desk.  The office doesn’t upen until 11:30.  I nosed into the language lab, and an assistant took me to a teacher who handed me off to the gymnasium back on the ground floor.

In it was a vast open hardwood floor, a single desk, a single woman with a single file folder set expectantly in front of her.  9:34.  Not a good start.  I took a seat.

She slipped out a printout of an email from my Dutch friend, confirmed that I had rescheduled.  Yes.

She pulled out another paper, exchanged it for my ID.  I checked the personal data, she made copies.  Check.

Another paper.  Will you complete the course, can we report your progress to the Gemeente, do you consent…  I repeated the Threefold Way to Dutch Language Mastery: I will do my best, I will work hard, I will finish what I started.  I signed yet another contract.

That page is replace by three others, my test results.  You passed the Intelligence Test, she remarked.  I beamed.  You passed almost all of the cultural test: you failed the section on Children.  Ah, yes, the questions about who I would call if I became pregnant and what school I would take my children to (and at what age).  Never mind that these were wholly irrelevant to my age and situation. You will need to learn these.

My language results:  Reading / Writing both A2, Listening / Speaking both A1.  If you work hard, this will not take long, she said, tapping the page.   I started to repeat the Threefold Way, but we were onward too quickly.

Daily classes when you are in town; assignments to complete as you travel.  The teacher will help you with a schedule when you begin June 1 – you will receive a letter. Cool.

You will need to carry a form that will be signed by each person with whom you have a significant Dutch conversation every week: doctor, storekeeper, restaurant, coworker, saying how well you did.  This will make me popular around town – I can see asking the AH Clerk to sign my petition as my goods whiz by at checkout.

You shall need a Dutch Buddy to talk with – do you have any preferences?  I begin to describe my ideal Dutch Buddy; she smiles and says that those are out of stock, but someone can be found who will be suitable.

And that’s it; back on the street and through another intake.  Next time, it’s class time.  Right?


I am Dutched Pinay said...

Just want to let you know that I read your blog =).

And that you have such patience for this inburgering thing. The Dutch buddy will be helpful.

Ik wens je heel veel succes!

Dave Hampton said...

(Lost in the Blogger crash, but e-mailed) -

Dutched Pinay has left a new comment on your post:

Just want to let you know that I read your blog =).

And that you have such patience for this inburgering thing. The Dutch buddy will be helpful.

Ik wens je heel veel succes!

Dave Hampton said...

I apprediate getting your note and the encouragement! I'm hopeful that I'll finally get to where I just naturally start improving through conversation rather than struggling to get on with the basics by study.

BTW, Yours was one of the first 'expat blogs' that I found ehre in the Netherlands, and I've been a follower for years. You've always got worthwhile things to say, and you say them well - thanks for looking in!

Textual Healer said...

Loved it. I just put a link into this from one of my blogs about a simialr experience. I can see the emergence of a dry, British, sense of humour.