Heute, kann ich nicht auf Deutsch schrieben. Das Thema ist zu tief und meine deutsche Wörter zu wenig.
Therefore, today I am sitting on my gender-free sofa, not worrying if I am at the computer or on it, and using present continuous to my heart’s content.
I have been sitting across from Mohamad, Remus, Vlad, Andy, Gosia #1, Gosia #2 and Jolanta for months now, so I know their faces well. I can see, sometimes, the pain and fatigue hidden behind their eyes; but better is the gleam of humor, that begins a class-wide uproar. It is a near mutiny when Vlad is on a role with his subtle quips.
While I don’t know the other faces quite so well, I could probably describe them well enough for an artist to sketch them with some accuracy.
Then there is our teacher, Oksana. She says she doesn’t have children, but I think every 6 months, she has about 20 new ones.
Like a good parent, she takes us firmly, yet gently by the hand and leads us from our verbal infancy to a more functional role in this new society. She has struck, with us, that magical balance between loving her, and fearing her enough to give her the respect she’s due. Her job is not easy. It does not pay well. But she puts her heart and soul into it; and like children, we strive to see that look of pride on her face.
The integration course is not simply about learning language or politics, it is about living a better life. The teachers understand our struggles, and they care about how we are living and working and interacting with the people around us. You cannot pay someone to put such heart into a job. It is something that must be within them already. And I am thankful they chose this line of work.
I know I will stay in contact with our group, but it will never be the same again. We will never be so scared and so freshly ignorant about this country. We will become fluent, settle into routines and find our paths in life.
I will miss Janna, to my right, with her direct manner and sharp humor, and I will miss Thao, to my left, also direct, but with a sweetness that makes everyone want to adopt her. I will miss the China/Thailand banter between Xu and Pattraporn.
I will miss it all.
With any challenge, whether it’s learning German or a Workout of the Day or running a marathon, you feel bonded to the people around you, because you can empathize with their struggle and share in their success.
I am so proud of our class.
Today, we have our oral exam, and while Oksana will be pacing the floor like an expectant parent, I know we will all succeed. She had taught us well; and she can now let go our hands, and take hold of the new arrivals.
Meine Freunde, ich bin stolz auf euch.