Finally! A Decision. A new direction.I have been traveling without a plan after visiting friends in Vienna, Austria, and Rheinfelden, Germany. I came to Freiburg, Germany because I like it, but I had not been able to decide where to go afterward. I have more than two weeks before I go to Wiesbaden to visit Tanja and then return to Kansas.
While here, I thought I would visit some language schools since I had been thinking about coming here for a month or two to study German some time in the future. The future just arrived! I realized that I could go ahead and take German classes for two weeks. I am here. It is Germany. I want to learn to speak German. Why not?
After hours of trying to follow the damn (!!!!) iPhone map and Google maps’ directions as they took me in circles, I finally made it to two different schools. I liked the second one very much. It is three blocks away from a University with young people everywhere. The people in the office were engaging and enthusiastic about the school (not so in the first one I visited). The person with whom I spoke sent me the link to the pre-test to assess my level. I have taken it. In my estimation, I did horribly, but I will find out tomorrow the level at which my assessment places me and whether or not there is a class for me beginning Monday. Whatever the level, I have chosen to take a more intense class which includes an hour of conversation study/practice in the afternoon following the four hours of class in the morning. I remember how hard the German class was last year in Vienna, but nowhere did it say that it would be easy to learn a language, especially German. At this point, I still refuse to give up. A fellow named Art Linkletter wrote a book many years ago titled, “Old Age is Not for Sissies.” At this point, I think I could write such a book.
Any of you who use Facebook have probably seen the pictures and my comments on the first week of this trip. I had a fantastic time with some of the young people with whom I studied last year in Vienna. With such people on the planet, there is hope!! Then I spent a weekend with Camino Kid, Dragan and his wife Slavica who again showed me hospitality, fed me, took me to see Albert Schweitzer’s birthplace in a lovely, quaint village, and were so very kind to me. We had intense conversations about many things. Staying with them were two young people from their extended family, Milos (19) and Mirjana (15). I had the joy of spending time with them, again with intense conversations about much, in great depth. What a privilege to be allowed into the lives of such remarkable people. They have all been through so much! I am humbled by their strength and resilience.
Just yesterday, I spent a couple of hours with Nadja, her baby (a year old now) and her Mother, all of us having tea next to the Rhine river in Basel. I met Nadja at the Boston Early Music Festival four years ago. She is a phenomenal Harpsichordist. She and her sister perform together. I visited her in Basel about three years ago. She is one of the most talented people I know. We talked about many things, especially life with a little one, trying to balance parenting and a career. She and her Mother provided a very pleasant afternoon before getting on the train to Freiburg.
I have booked a bed in a hostel (no WiFi – arrrgh) for the next two and a half weeks, first in a room of six and then in a room of twenty – way cheaper than a hotel and filled with people to get to know! …and so the adventure goes on!