The New Pope & Other

There is already a new Pope.  That’s the good news.  The down side?  So much for that sense of North European understanding.  He’s from Argentina.  Well, for everyone who’s spent time studying Spanish or Portugese and Latin, it won’t be so bad. 

The big excitement for me today, is that I had family time – which is actually important, and that I spent another hour or so hearing normal local people “sprechen Sie Deutsch”.  It was a driving school lesson.  I don’t know the German word for ‘thorough’ yet, but it is how I would describe the German driver’s education program.  Of course, this is what people around the world have been saying is the good quality about the annoying aspect of how Germans tend to be…well, thorough.  Whether or not it is good or bad probably depends on the situation and how one is effected by it.  Because of that, I’m being taught all kinds of stuff that was considered extraneous when I learned to drive in the USA – you can learn about it later if you need to.  You may never need to know.  The driving school here is more like the attitude of general American education: in case you ever need to know, we’ll go ahead and teach you this now.

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Round the bend at age 45

The English have sayings like “gone round the bend” when Americans are more like to saying someone has lost their marbles or is playing without a full deck.  Well, today, going around the bend had more to do with making sure I’m learning to read German road signs BEFORE heading out into heavy traffic in a new-to-me car instead of learning how to read the other weird German-centric messages by discovering how German drivers react to my driving.  They have played it safe, and have forced me to attend driving school before letting me out there on the roads.  It turns out that some of it is their road signs, a little bit is other traffic ‘cultural differences’ which are REAL and the rest is the cultural difference that they want me to figure out when they want me to answer one, two or three of the multiple choices is correct.  The first two times I took the German driving test, I crashed and burned on the basis of the American standard that there is one correct answer to a multiple choice question unless otherwise clearly signaled.  Not so in Germany…or Deutschland as they call it.  Not only that, but I’m still working on understanding how to know when the verb goes on the end of the sentence and when it doesn’t…so I can pass a higher level of German grammatical theory and practice tests for using their language in this country. 

When I came onto blog, I was off another hour of driving lessons online.  Today, I could access the questions in English.  For an American there was loads of German still in it, but there was so much more English that I think I answered 3 or 4 times as many questions in an hour as I could in German.  Whoa.  I even knew what stuff meant.  I am grateful to be learning German, since this country is loaded with those who speak it.