I've been feeling kind of self depreciative over the past week due to a frustration with my grasp of the German language, in vocabulary, grammar and spelling (primarily the first). I have had to realize that coming here I must have been expecting to be fluent within days of landing, and that by now I would be gallivanting around the city speaking German "ohne Akzent" (unbetonte Deutsch) and appearing to all the world like the blondest German giant there ever was; Massachusetts? Never heard of the place. Ich bin Deutscher!
Clearly this was too high of an expectation for myself, and coming down from that has been abrupt, but more so it was eye opening and invigorating. I WILL be fluent by the end of this trip, but now I know I have to work hard to accomplish that. I can be confident of where my German is at now while recognizing that it has much further to go. I hate studying, and I hate home work, and I despise taking down notes (maybe not really...) but nothing is going to stop me.
The Hampshire group met up with Diana (I think that was her name) who graduated from Hampshire in 2004 and has been living in Berlin for the last 7 years. She did the Berlin trip as a student at Hampshire as well. Upon arriving here, she spoke next to no German. Since then, she has become completely fluent and even went so far as to write her master's dissertation in perfect German. Hearing that story has really put a fire into my desire to master this language, here and now. I feel confident, excited, eager, and totally terrified of failure. I'm exactly where I need to be.