6.14.2008

Just trying to fit in

We occasionally have bouts where we try and fit in with the locals. I had one such occasion this week when I had to attend a parent's information night at Ryan's kindergarten, where he will start at the local school in the fall. I have hopes that he will pick up the language quickly and be our family translator when we go to restaurants ;). I knew that one of Ryan's class teachers would be there, and she speaks English (ahh, yes).

The school is only a mile away, but it is located in the town, along steep hills and twisted, narrow streets. Even with the GPS, I managed to miss a turn, ending up on a one-way street, barely missing being side-swiped by a car since I forgot to yield to the right as I glanced back at my missed turn. Argh! I then had to go along the one-way street through the whole town and start again. All of this resulted in me walking in the school doors at 6:05. Germans are famous for being timely, and they were true to form on this occasion. So I walked in....the late American. Ugh. They were friendly though and I had to say my name and my son's information out of turn, being the late one.

I then politely sat through a 30-minute information session given by the Head Teacher. I think I did a great job of looking interested, even though I had no idea what was being said. Sure, I heard some familiar words like May/English/music/October/weekdays, etc., but I didn't know the context. This is a really nice school that offers different themes each day, along with music lessons, swimming (and English lessons, LOL). They can eat breakfast at school, and a hot lunch is eaten together as a class. After the session we broke up into groups and went over paperwork with the teachers.

Two hours after I left, I returned home with a 30-page information packet with pages to complete and return to the school--all of it in German. The teacher did go over it with me, and I made some side notes, but it is going to take me hours to look up words so that I can answer questions and fill out papers (some of it redundant). Help!?!

I am debating whether to ask my next-door neighbor to help me translate, and it can be completed much quicker. It all depends on our level of "noisiness" this weekend. If we are noisy, she might not be so willing to help.

6 fabulous friends:

Rhea said...

Oh man, that paperwork sounds like quite a chore! I say call the neighbor!!!! Good luck. I got all nervous reading this post, imagining being the only foriegner in a room full of natives. yikes.

Natalie said...

i totally know how you feel! i will never forget all the paperwork we had to fill out for my kids when they attended a private turkish school. and then came the homework! it was terrible! we managed to handle most of the first grade work after great struggles, but third grade kicked our tails!

LiteralDan said...

I don't envy you dealing with all these kind of problems, but at the same time they sound more interesting and edifying than mine. Does that help cheer you up?

You know what they say-- the grass is always greener in Germany.

Bilary said...

You are hilarious! I love this post. I can't imagine feeling so out of place. Maybe it would be good for me. I should move to Germany and we could be out of place neighbors! How fun!

P.S. Definitely ask your neighbor for help. You will only be neighbors for a while and then you will move out of the country and probably never see her again anyway. Ask!!! It will only make your life easier!:)

MamaNeena said...

I'd be bribing the neighbor with money or cocktails!

Good Luck!

Mom2Miles said...

Hi, I found your blog through Mama Neena. Reading this post brought back memories of the year my family lived in Germany when I was a kid. I'm sure my parents struggled with some of the same issues! As a kid, though, I don't remember any such difficulties. Ah, youth!