This is the beginning of the 10th month living in Germany. It is hard to believe that almost a year ago, I got on the plane with some things and took the plunge to be here. I have begun really reflecting on what I thought I would be accomplishing, what I have accomplished and what I haven’t accomplished that I thought I would have by now.
Lately I have really been investing my time, money and efforts into learning new things. I am one day away from finishing my third German intensive class. I start the next level (B1.2) on Monday technically although we will be in Serbia and I will miss the first few days and will be studying to catch up. I am completely a pottery class in which I have been learning how to use the wheel and throwing my work, watching it emerge. These two classes have been taking up tremendous time and energy. It means that I haven’t really been writing as much as I thought I would be but it also means that as I learn more and more, I realize how much there still is to know and learn.
In some ways, life as an expat before taking German classes seemed much easier. I hardly knew any German and could declare so. But now, after many hours studying away and learning tenses and such, I know what I don’t know and feel as though I should know more. Now, when the man at the bakery asks me more questions, I feel as if I should first of all, know exactly what he said and then secondly, actually have an answer for him and in German. Before, I blissfully smiled and nodded along and he knew that I didn’t know German so it was all jolly but now…doesn’t he know that I know more and perhaps should expect more from me? Or at least that is my feeling these days. I know just enough to totally butcher this language or at least that’s how I perceive it. I am just SURE I am getting it all wrong…word order, tense, article…dear God, the articles.
And as for pottery, each week it becomes more apparent that I don’t know what the next level is but now I KNOW there IS a next level! Sometimes I feel perfectly content in making “abstract” pottery, or that’s what I call my style. But each time I improve in an area…well, I now know that there is so much more to improve upon.
And now, as I explore what it would mean to create community around sacred conversations here, I am learning more and more of what I don’t know and yet still, feeling as though I should take the plunge, am falling in feet first.
Dear reader, you are not alone in feeling as though information just opens up more ways to feel as if you don’t know things in the world. It is bound to happen. We are just beginning.