When I shifted to Germany in the middle of 2009, one of the fears was how my lack of German was going to shape my life. During my research of the German cultural, the lack of folks speaking English was a surprise as I understood that English was taught to the majority of students, and that was from the start of their schooling.
As I approach my fourth anniversary of shifting to Germany, I have just one of the most disappointing experience that is a result of my lack of German. My son's started his primary schooling this year. Every four to five months, the parents of students of the class and the teachers have a get-together to discuss the situation class in the class, major activities coming up and discussion of other potential activities.
Firstly, I was really surprise that this meeting was mostly attended by mums. My son's class has 26 students in it, and only two dads attended the meeting. There was me and another dad. The rest were mums.
Secondly, I was also amazed on the topics being discussed. It ranged from the classroom events, topics being taught, new topics being introduced, sports etc. It was almost setting the curriculum via the parenting community.
Back to my lack of German. The moment that really emphasis that I am lacking is when the group of parents and the teachers laugh together about some discussion point, whereas we just sat there without any laughing expression on our faces. I guess that the only expression was bewilderment and, perhaps, a little bit of confusion.
The other moment was I had difficulty is articulating any questions that I had in such a way that would make sense in German, and also to understand the answer. I just was not able to do it.
I starting to get an insight to how my parents (especially my mum) felt when my family moved to Australia with little command of the English language.