The difference between travelling by horse or by car? Less than you think…
I’ve just been in London for 5 days, reviving a Cosi show in a new venue, new orchestra, new MD and new elements of set. We had 2 days to rehearse, the second of which was followed by a performance of said Cosi. Needless to say it was fairly manic amidst the fun of working on a brilliant show with lovely people!
Upon my return from London, I had precisely 13 hours before starting an intensive language course. I had enrolled for a course that covered the level I had left off at, as well as the next level up. Alas, I was to join it at that next level up due to me somehow blagging the online test which was essentially a ‘blankety blank’ situation. I quickly realised I wouldn’t be able to make sense of the sentences as there were too many ‘blanks’ and therefore plumped for utilising words I knew that fitted. Apparently that worked rather well!
Aaaaanywho, I digress: I found myself starting this new course surrounded by Uni students that had all taken the intensive course from the beginning. There were plenty of real ‘blanks’ in my knowledge in comparison to theirs, so my first week was a rude awakening, especially as I had been working on an Italian opera in England, thereby avoiding German the entire time I had been away.
The weekend following this, saw us celebrating an Uncle’s birthday in a northern part of Bavaria. There were a lot of new family members to meet and I did my best to not fall on my face or into my dinner plate as the exhaustion swept over me. It was inevitable that I would learn more about my coping mechanisms in this move, but the character trait that I’ve found unusually hard to maintain is enthusiasm. I sometimes wonder if it’s due to a lack of motivation to learn German or to make new friends but I realise now it is pure and simple exhaustion. Constantly struggling to make oneself understood or to understand others is incredibly draining, and the joy of using new words or discovering them, only to realise you’ve used it wrong or it means one of 7 different things, can be hard!
I gave always enjoyed socialising – be it getting to know new people or hanging out with those I already know – and it has been confronting to feel that my personality is non existent, particularly in group situations, when I can barely keep up with the topic, let alone the details, and thereby not offering any input. After talking with R about this, he suggested I be a bit braver. Worst case scenario, I’ve misunderstood but at least people will know I’m trying.
And so, we’re sat around a table with 10 or so other family and friends and one chap mentions a horse. I promptly asked him if he has a horse, to which the entire group looked very confused…the word for a journey by car being fährt, which sounds almost exactly like Pferd. Naturally laughter ensued once my error had been realised and it was a little embarrassing, but they all made much more of an effort then to speak clearer and my efforts had been noted. And so I hit another ‘first’: the first time in a group situation, where German is being spoken, that I had engaged in German and done more than just agree or disagree tentatively.