Monday, November 30, 2009

Tschüs Samstagschule!

As many know, I am a big fan of German. I lived there, I studied it, I taught it, I love it! I'm sure I would feel the same way about Spanish, French, Japanese, etc if I had any experience with any of those. I just love the doors it opens when you know another language. You get to really understand other cultures, other viewpoints, other people when you speak their native tongue. Ever since the Bubbs was born, we've been speaking German in our home. I was the most consistent when it was just the Bubbs, because DH traveled a ton and it was just us. With the Simster we already had more English in our home from nursery, play dates, etc and I wasn't as good. Now with PJ, she is really getting 80-85% German at home and understands and speaks both.

Before we even moved to Texas, I had done some research and found out there was a German Samstagschule (Saturday school) in Dallas! I was thrilled because I hadn't found something like that in Utah, and I really wanted the kids to experience German with native speakers and other kids, then they would know it wasn't just crazy Mom's language :)

The youngest class was 4- and 5-year-olds, so we decided to start the Bubbs this semester. She LOVED it!!! She looked forward to it every week! Many of the kids in her class knew less German than she knows, and a few of them with native German parents, knew a lot more. It was hard for the teachers to tell how much she knows because she is by nature really shy (I know, where the heck did she get that from?) and didn't say much. But she ended up with a few good friends (including a little boy who always wanted to share her chair and sit by her... cute!)

They played games, worked on their letters and writing words, sang songs... you know, the basic preschool stuff but all in German. She had two cute young teachers - die Atika and die Laura - and they tried to really speak just German in class, even if some of the kids were still learning. They had two special events during the semester - the first was a big play/production to honor the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall (this is E's part - doing a traditional dance, sorry she's so hard to see)

...and they had a St Martins Umzug (a St Martin's parade) to honor the German holiday of St Martin. The kids all made Laterne (lanterns) and we carried them in a little parade at a park, singing the Laterne songs and getting eaten alive by mosquitos :)

She almost cried last week because it was the last week, and I know that the experience was a great one for her. It was out of her comfort zone and she had to make new friends, and she spoke in German and she heard lots of other kids/adults speaking in German. I was actually amazed at how much she adored it!

Now the big question - will we do it next semester (starting in January)? Hard to say. The pros? It's German from native Germans, I got to hang out some of the time with the other parents and speak German, and of course, she loves it! The cons? It wasn't exactly cheap, it was 2.5 hours every Saturday, with about a 45-minute drive each way. Kind of a huge Saturday time commitment, and we did have to do some juggling to make it work every week. Plus, does that mean we now have the Simster go since he'll be old enough? He really wants to, but that does mean more commitment to it. And it means they haven't been able to do any other activities (like soccer, dance, etc) and I would like to have that balance. Technically, we could just do German school at home. I am a German teacher, after all, and they do speak it. I would just miss the interaction from native speakers and other kids. Sigh. We'll have to see what I decide come January.

It was a nice idea...

Today is November 30th. The end of the whole "writing-a-50000-word-novel" month. And hmm... I made it to about 8000 words. Really, 90% of that happened in the first week, but I really went no where from there. I might write a chapter tonight, just to kiss the experience goodbye, but that's pretty much it. Why couldn't I finish?

Life happened. I was reminded that I have three+ children, a husband who works constantly, Church responsibilities, work, etc. At the end of most days, I felt no desire to write. Plus, I didn't know what I was really gaining. Sure, I enjoy it. But I doubt I'm very good (I have pretty much no talent for anything, you can ask anyone about that) and the time I spent writing was time I could have been doing many other productive things.

Will I still work on it? I don't know. I am still excited about my storyline, characters, locations and everything, but I'm not sure I'll finish it. Without the pressure to get it done in a month, I don't know if I'll find the time. We'll see. I'm not going to delete it or anything. It's just going to have to be content collecting dust on my hard drive. :)

Thanks for all the happy writing thoughts! I'll post another segment for your entertainment/boredom :) Then I'll post about what's REALLY been going on around here!

“A surprise?” That in and of itself was surprising. Don was the least surprisingist person Eden knew. He wasn’t very creative in his dating or wooing. But he was also an engineer. Not really known for their romancing.

“Well, not so much a surprise I guess -”

“Ah ha!”

“Let me finish! Not so much a surprise, but more like a proposition.”

“Hmm....” Eden said. “A proposition? That does sound a teeny bit intriguing...”

“See, I can be suspenseful and mysterious, right?”

Eden laughed without replying. His track record spoke for itself. His proposition most likely was about some very calculated investment plans he had. When Eden had applied for the School of Mines, it was refreshing to think that her peers would be just as passionate about what they could produce in the field of engineering and not so concerned with how much money they could make. Come on, your stereotypical engineer isn’t a smooth-talking, slick-haired schmooze in an impeccably cut business suit and tie. Usually you think of the nerd behind the computer monitor, in a lab or on the street sizing up the world with some strange set of tools. Maybe the modern image doesn’t elicit images of greasy hair, zits, horn-rimmed glasses and pocket protectors anymore, but generally... you get the picture. Even though Eden herself didn’t quite fit the mold, what she expected was quite different from what she experienced. Don was a great example - a top-of-his-class electrical engineer who also had an eye and ear for business. He only accepted a job offer after a thorough investigation of potential for upward mobility, a full stock portfolio, a reputable staff... But also something that would allow him to stay under the radar enough that he could stick out and make his mark - and be a surprise to everyone. In other words, he was choosing solely based on the company’s potential to serve and benefit him not on his potential to serve and benefit the company. He knew options, knew how to play the market, and was building up his assets while simply lying in wait to pounce - to produce the next novelty that would propel him into the national - and hopefully international - spotlight.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Creative Juices...

I have a bunch of things to post (fun news, the Bubbs' love of Samstagschule, Halloween, etc) and I really do hope to get around to posting them. But right now I'm just letting you know about this...

If you've never heard about NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. The idea is that aspiring writers often get bogged down after writing a few chapters or pages and never manage to complete that Great American Novel they've been dreaming about. So now there's some motivation to just get the words out on the page in a short period of time and worry about revising, fixing, polishing later.

The real scoop? Participants are attempting to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days! You have to start writing on November 1 (honor system here) and complete your 50,000 by November 30.

Why me? I have always loved loved loved LOVED to write. I've even posted a few short stories on my blog. With the support of my cute husband, I am finally going to try to write a book. Well, 50,000 words at least. I haven't written more than a few pages since my creative writing classes at BYU.

Why should you care? You probably don't :) But the NaNoWriMo people seem to think that the more people that know you're attempting to write a novel, the more pressure they'll put on you to actually finish by the end of the month. So here I am. Be my support group or something, okay?

What I am going to write about? Well, I've already managed to write about 3000 words so I guess I'm off to a good start. I don't want to give much away because then maybe I'd end up feeling stupid and quit now. I'd rather write and then feel stupid at the end of the month. If you're really curious, here's a short sample -
“I have got to get out of here,” Eden mumbled under her breath. It was Mel’s place, after all, and living here was just temporary. At least it could be, if she could find a job. She thought about picking up the paper again to browse the classifieds, but knew what she was looking for wouldn’t be there. Not now. She needed networking, not just newsprint tinting her fingers and browser bookmarks to and craigslist. She grabbed the throw pillow again, cuddling it to her chest, and stared aimlessly out the window. The view was gorgeous, the mountains even more breathtaking as clouds wisped around their peaks, swirling just enough to create the illusion of islands in the sky. It was lost on Eden this morning, all of it.
Intrigued? Bored? :) Keep an eye on my word count in the sidebar and throw happy writing thoughts my direction!