Dutch classes ended on a frustrating note. I am clearly on the right trajectory now, focused on the language learning and past the cultural training. I leaned into the conversational exchanges, determined not to be timid, but would quickly run up against an unfamiliar word and have to stop to navigate around it.
Tell us a news story you’ve read? There was a thunderstorm in Arnhem, water flooded under a bridge and submerged three older folks in their car. The fire department got them out, everyone is fine.
I got as far as the water under the bridge, but froze: what word do I know to explain deep, submerge, flood, pool, lake, fill…De auto is onder het water? The teacher looked baffled.
Ouders…brandweer… The rest of the story was no problem. Just one word between me and expressing a coherent paragraph. I wanted De auto rijdt in het meer, but couldn’t get there. Maddening.
They handed out the schedule, above, at the end of the day: my heart sank. Four days each week, seven hours per day. I can rationalize that they are cramming lessons into the time that I am in the Netherlands (about 50% of my total), but when will I Work? Exercise? Sleep? I know, it’s about priorities…
Still, I felt like a complete failure – the woman next to me was four hours, three days per week.
But, that’s in the future, next return to the Netherlands. For now, I need to keep up from on the road for the next couple of weeks. I’ve got podcasts to listen to from Radio Nederland, books and newspapers to read, “Dutch Buddies” to talk to on Skype, daily paragraphs to write and to e-mail. I will make this work.