It's been a long time since last blog post. Our time has been spent on getting back to normal every day life after our reeeeeeallly amazing holiday. Sadly we missed the nice part of the Dutch summer, which usually takes place in April & May. Now we are enjoying the real Dutch summer, which means rain, thunderstorms, wind and some more rain and occasionally sun coming through the clouds on unpredicted times.
We landed to the Netherlands on Friday morning at the end of May, and on Saturday morning I had my final Dutch exam for the course I was doing in the Volksuniversiteit. The timing was far from perfect, sspecially since the last 6 weeks was practically spent talking English in the US except for the rare occasions of communicating in Dutch when we didn't want others to understand us. I then spent a-not-so-efficient Friday trying to pickup again on the grammar and the vocabulary while trying to stay awake despite of the jetlag. I thought at least I can give it a try and go and see if I can make any sense of the final exam. And against the odds, I actually passed it! So now I'm officially eligible to write in my CV that guys, I can do dutch in level A2! The question is, how many people really can decipher what it means :-)
After being really annoyed in making stupid mistakes in the test (like forgetting basic verb forms) I decided I will pick up my self studying again. I also wanted to check for how to continue the language studies and after some googling I decided to enroll for a class in Utrecht University. I hope it is going to be bit more fast paced then the one in Volksuniversiteit, and this should get me close to a level where I could take the NT2 test. The NT2 test basically qualifies one to e.g study in a university in the Netherlands in Dutch etc. As a goal oriented person, I've set the goal for myself to take the test somewhere in first quarter of next year (I'm a project manager at work, hard to guess, right? :-)
In the mean time, my self-study program consists of eg. good TV programs, such as Boer zoekt vrouw (farmer seeks a wife) and intelligent reading. The Dutch guy warns that I should not start learning how to speak from the farm people, as that might severely affect my future in the whole country. I should find out what he is referring to...
This group of magazines was available only for ~8 euros. It is meant for all those women who have nothing to do while their men are watching football. The Dutch guy had bought me these during my last work trip and they were waiting for me on our kitchen table. These are such good practice for language, and I learn things that I certainly cannot pick from the language books such as names of all kinds of royal family members and words that teenagers use when they are having a crush on somebody. And btw. it is really cool when you can actually read an whole article and really understand what it is about!
On our Sunday walk we spotted this sign saying "Koe zoekt stier" which means cow seeking a bull. I don't know though whether on the sleepy sideroads of Bunnik this message is really delivering a result..
The tricky part of studying Dutch with a group of beginners is also that most of your speaking exercises are with people who cannot really correct you when you say something wrong, and on the other hand you have the possibility to enjoy the most interesting pronunciations of other beginners. Therefore I found this blog post as a consolation when somebody else has noticed that too :)
I also try more and more to use Dutch at my work even though that is still one big struggle, mainly because of my inability of allowing me making mistakes. Somehow I end up in a situation where I think it is better not to say anything at all then to say something with the possibility that there might be some wrong format or wrong choice of de/het not to even mention the impossible word order of Dutch language. It is difficult to put yourself in the position where you really feel that everything you say basically sounds like you are in the level of 3-year-old. But getting there.. slowly.. :-)