February 27, 2015

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

Completion is not my forte.  I start new projects with all the passion and commitment of an Olympic athlete preparing for his big day.  I write down my goals, map out a plan, and throw myself into it with enough fervor to make a whirling dervish's head spin.  For the first few weeks, I consistently follow my plan and place proud check-marks by each accomplished item.

Yep. Once upon a time, I meant
to learn Old English.  Does "fo shizzle"
count as old English these days?
But all too soon, the excitement fades.  I go from writing every day to writing every other day.  Soon that turns into once a week.  Eventually, I stop altogether.  As both my mother and my husband can attest, all those projects sit neglected and forgotten in a drafts folder or on some dusty shelf in the back room.

That apocalyptic novella I started?  Yeah, it's still stuck in chapter five.  Who knows if Caroline will make it out of the burning car alive.

Continuing with my martial arts?  Um, still one step away from black belt.  Like I've been for the last eight years...

Developing a bucket list of places in Virginia?  Well, if by bucket list, you mean a bunch of doodles on college-ruled paper, sure!

So knowing this about me, you can recognize the momentousness of the occasion when I announce that after 18 months, not only am I still sticking with a project, but I've actually reached a milestone in it.

Drumroll please.
And apparently only two people are proud of me.  Woot.

You read that correctly.  I, Katrina Can't-Ever-Finish-A-Project-to-Save-Her-Life-Unless-It's-Work-Related-And-By-Work-I-Mean-I-Get-Paid-For-It Elisabet, actually finished Level 1 of Rosetta Stone.  Albeit, after 18 months.

My husband purchased four levels of the Rosetta Stone German edition as a birthday present to me in August 2013.  I had all these big plans to complete Level One before our trip to Germany this past July so that I could carry on deep, meaningful conversations with Danny's Oma.  You know, the ones in which I comment about the weather (Der Regen in Spanien faellt vor allem in dem Flachland*), complain about the neighbor (Die Macht ist stark in diesem einen*), or bemoan the current political upheaval in Ukraine (Nie mitmachen Sie in einem Landkreig in Asien*).

Of course, that didn't happen.

But better late than not at all, yes?  So with another trip to Germany coming up in 68 days, I'm ready to tackle some new, totally-realistic goals when it comes to this language learning adventure:

  1. Get halfway through Level 2 of Rosetta Stone.
  2. Learn one joke to tell our German friends over a maß in der bierzelt.  (And don't give me that gab about Germans having no sense of humor; they totally do.)
  3. Increase my vocabulary enough to have one sincere conversation with Oma in which I state my (memorized) piece, then smile and nod when she replies and I have no idea what she's saying.

So let it be written, so let it be done.**

Heck, who am I fooling?  If I can just follow the conversation without getting lost in a sea of I-Don't-Know-What-That-Word-Means, then I'll call the trip a win.

Are you trying to learn a new language?  How's that working out for you?

* If you're American and you've never watched My Fair Lady, Star Wars, or The Princess Bride, not only will you not understand these jokes, but I don't think we can be friends.  Like, seriously.
** Ten Commandments reference.  Again, see above.


  1. Linda O'GradyFebruary 27, 2015

    Congratulations! You can bust out some of my 'swine' phrases on Oma if you like :) That's bound to impress her! And Germans totally have a sense of humour - I agree!

  2. Joanna ŚliwińskaFebruary 28, 2015

    Congrats! You finally made it. I've just started learning Spanish ;) And I hope my enthusiasm doesn't fade away all that quickly either ;)

  3. Congratulations!! That's awesome. Better late than never right! And even if it takes a bit longer, it might mean that you remember it better by taking your time. Thanks so much for linking up with us at #WeekendWanderlust!

  4. Congrats on finishing level one! ...and while your here just speak nur Deutsch, and that'll help you!

  5. Danke! Ja, das ist der Plan. Aber es ist so schwer fuer mich deutsch zu sprechen. Es ist leicht zu schrieben, aber es ist schwer zu sprechen.

  6. it's the opposite for me, ich kann immer noch nicht so viel, aber ich muss deutsch sprechen und nicht schreiben...

  7. ja, das glaube ich. und es ist (vielleicht) die gleichen Akzent hier in Kaiserslautern, mit sein 'nett' stat nicht und alles.

  8. Genau! Ich weiss nicht wenn Kaiserslautern ist Fraenkisch oder Swaebisch. Aber die Akzent ist aehnliche. At least according to my husband. :)

  9. I don't really notice much difference.. only the 'net/Ned'and the ch.. they say isch instead of ich.

  10. Oh, trust me: when you meet a true Frankish speaker, you will know you've found one because they are really, really hard to follow. I found this video to be kind of hilariously related to the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlPww9_rmo0

  11. I was expecting to hear German... but yeah, you're right it is difficult


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