This post isn’t quite as smushy as it could be in terms of content but it’s likely to be pretty smushy in terms of grammar. Seriously, I am so tired/have been speaking so much German, I can’t remember how to English right now!
When I went to Keltfest last weekend, I was pretty determined to write a full post about it. As you can see, I have not managed to stick to that plan but, all the same, here we go! So, this year I went with the wonderful Heleen and we had a thoroughly delightful time. It’s always a very early morning start to get there from my flat and, because storms where forecast, I decided to take the bare minimum (i.e. no camera) and just go to enjoy myself. And I think it’s pretty fair to say that we really did have a good time. We watched William’s solo set which was lovely, no surprise there. It’s nice to hear a stripped back set once in a while, actually, and to sit down for it. We also watched Pyrolysis… well, I say watched… it was more “listen from a distance while attempting to keep somewhat dry”. While I only discovered them about a year ago, or a little less, I have started to make a point of catching their sets because they are both generally polished and high energy. And finally, we braved the rain for Rapalje because that’s basically compulsory. The crowd was, as always, so much fun. Yes, I even ended up dancing for a bit – imagine drowned rat me, with no spatial awareness, carrying a super heavy bag with mead in it, attempting to dance in a crowd…. not elegant but sure fun nevertheless!
Actually, for all Keltfest is only getting a couple of paragraphs, it’s one of my favourite festivals. It’s always a little quieter than the other major ones and has a really nice atmosphere. There are some wonderful stalls with handmade pieces from jewellery to the compulsory drinking horns. Everyone tends to be friendly. It’s generally relaxed and all round wonderful, even if the weather leaves something to be desired! At least I didn’t get hellish sunburn this year like I did last!
The last week has been one that I’ve been dreading, quite frankly. It’s the (final!!!) German intensive of my degree. For those of you that don’t know how my silly university works (if you do then skip this paragraph), we have to do a certain number of language levels (three) in intensive study periods. Effectively, this means you study for a month non stop and are supposed to improve a full level on the European framework, and then you take (approx) half a year out before the next intensive month. I don’t know about you, but I need some time to internalise new skill based information before you pack new stuff on top making the speed of learning pretty bad…. and five(+) months is a long time to forget it all…. and I am terrified of speaking foreign languages anyway. The system might work for some people but it doesn’t for the vast majority I’ve spoken to.
So, my German class is a class of five people, including me. We were four for a while but have settled at five now. While there is nowhere to hide, it’s actually a nice number. Before starting out, I made a resolution not to care so much what everyone thinks about me and just go for it this time round, and in life in general. I spoke more German in our first class than I think I ever have. I’ve had my usual brain fogs a fair few times, where I panic so much that I just can’t access the bits that I do know. Have I told you about that time I had a conversation with a politician using only lyrics from French songs because that’s all I could remember? So yes, there have been some horrible, horrible moments in this class for me already but I do think that I am getting better.
I’m not so sure that the teacher’s teaching style and my learning style gels particularly well. She seems to expect us to deduce and get a feel of how things work which is a very natural way of learning, I know, and probably the best way to do it. Indeed, it’s the kind of thing I’ve been suggesting should be used for long term language teaching/learning in schools. However, this is an intensive course and I am not going to be able to get a feel of things overnight – I’m quite slow with skill based learning. I’d prefer it if someone actually explains exactly what’s going on and why, in this context. But we all learn differently.
And…. I am a quarter of the way through!!!!
So, all in all, I think the next three weeks are going to be tough on me academically and emotionally as I am constantly out of my comfort zone. I also think I am, and will, gain a lot generally from this. I will, hopefully, learn to go for it when speaking a foreign language and that is a transferable skill that I have struggled with for many years now. I’ll be pretty pleased when it’s all over though 😉
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