It was fun while it lasted, and considering my health a month of classes each weekday may have been the best I could hope for before hitting a proverbial wall. The first two weeks of my integration course I was enthusiastic and well in familiar territory, having done some pre-course studying to help myself not feel as lost going in. This advantage evaporated in the face of the direct method of language instruction as I was getting a lot of information thrown at me that I didn’t understand. Success here is determined by two things; the ability to piece together what is being said, and the ability to recall it from one class to the next, which is where I got beat. Having chronic vertigo makes things difficult for me to recall, especially under pressure (and not knowing if it’s me or my condition that’s the problem with twenty other people ready to answer within .5 seconds of me being called on is, I think, an acceptable definition of “pressure”).
I did really enjoy the class and got to meet some interesting people, even though I could only communicate with about a half-dozen of them, but at least no-one knew enough English or simply knew better than to think it was funny to ask me about Rob Ford. One afternoon we made a field trip to the Reichstag, or “democracy’s own heated goldfish bowl;” and I made a vaguely obscene gesture at a senior citizen from Syria, but it was in the interests of teaching him the German word for “ice cream.”