Finally, some of my favorite pictures from Düsseldorf’s Südpark! It’s a generous piece of land with everything one could want from a park: open space for picnics and lawn games, paved paths for cycling and jogging, plenty of shade trees, luscious green paths, assorted mini-gardens, a lily pond, and even a petting zoo and an ice cream stand. Who could ask for more?
A quick update on my goals:
3 random interactions in German per day: success
I can’t say whether I’ve been hitting three per day or not, but I definitely got in lots of German conversation time this week. Here are some of the more notable ones:
- On an IIK outing to the Schiffahrtsmuseum, I chatted with the German guide while waiting outside and also with fellow German students during the tour.
- I went to a weekly Tuesday language cafe for students of German and Spanish and chatted more afterwards while watching the France vs. Belgium soccer game.
- On Thursday I went to a different speaking practice meeting.
- Google Maps lied to me and I could not find the entrance to the doctor’s office, so I asked someone on the street. We had a 2-3 minute conversation, admittedly short, but I spoke smoothly without hesitation, answered her questions coherently without long pauses, and successfully maintained the formal register throughout the conversation. I didn’t need to ask her to repeat herself, she didn’t ask me to repeat myself, and she didn’t ask me if it would be better to speak in English. It was one of my best successes in spontaneous conversation so far. And yes, I found the doctor’s office!
- I chatted with a German teacher and her boyfriend at the IIK party on Friday night.
Read 15 minutes a day in German: fail
I must confess that I haven’t picked up my German book once since I made this goal. Since my July class has been very vocabulary-focused, I’ve been a little bit overwhelmed with new words lately. But reading more would definitely help me cement more of the new vocabulary into my brain, so I’d like to focus on this goal more this week. Since just saying “15 minutes a day” didn’t work, I’ll set aside a specific time: every day right before lunchtime, I’ll read for at least fifteen minutes in German.
I also need to remind myself that I don’t have to limit myself to the one book I have on hand at the moment. I can also go to the giant bookstore and read in one of the comfy lounge chairs for a while, or I can read articles, news, and web comics online.
New goal: journal in German
In my weekly Thursday German practice, the organizers always start off with an open-ended question such as “What do you consider art? What kind of art do you like to consume? What kinds of art, if any, do you produce?” My limited vocabulary usually prevents me from answering these questions as thoroughly as I’d like, which often leaves me a little bit frustrated. It’s a good frustration though, since it’s pushing me to improve my ability to speak on these kinds of subjects.
In order to do so, I’d like to start writing a little bit every day in German. Instead of just writing letters and fictional stories for class assignments, I think I need to also write about more personal subjects. This will arm me with personally relevant vocabulary and prepare me to better express myself in conversation.
To make things concrete: I’d like to write at least one page a day on a personal topic in German. Topics can include personal experiences, plans, thoughts on a book/television show/news article, etc.
I’ve got two weeks left in Düsseldorf. Let’s see how they go!