Thursday, July 21, 2011

So, how was German camp?

Here's the latest escalation in my ongoing battle with the German language: I packed up my whole family to Germany to spend our vacation on three weeks of German camp!

In case you're asking "Wait, don't you already live in a German-speaking country? Why do you have to travel to have a German-language immersion?" -- allow me to review. The problem with Zürich is they speak a flavor of German that is impossible for foreigners to learn without first learning German German. And everybody in Zürich speaks English anyway. So -- while I speak kind-of OK German -- I haven't felt confident enough to inflict my terrible German on unsuspecting Swiss people. Instead we've saved this fun for the Germans!

On the down-side, the camp kind of reminded me of that song "Camp Grenada." Particularly the line where they sing "...and they say we'll have some fun if it stops raining." I'd packed mostly Summer clothing (being as it's July and everything), yet the first week was unexpectedly chilly. Then the second week was even chillier, with occasional rain. But it didn't really start raining in earnest until the third week.

Then (while I'm on the complainy part), there was the food. My husband was already leery about the food when I first suggested this trip. ("Three weeks?? You have no idea how terrible the food is in Germany!") I then recounted that conversation to my boss (who is Swiss). He asked me what part of Germany it's in, and when I said it's near Köln, he immediately said, "Oh, the food is really terrible there! Oh... I mean... It's not so bad..." Anyway, with that introduction, the food at camp exceeded our expectations. Tragically. Picture a cuisine that's already not much to write home about, then imagine how it might be prepared by a school cafeteria for kids.

That said, I don't want to complain too much about the food because overall the camp was great fun, and we got a ton of good German language practice and instruction. And by the third week of people complaining, the food improved considerably. Either that or we just got used to it. My husband was only subjected to the first two weeks of it because he had a conference to attend, lucky bastard.

On the positive side, it was fun for the kids to get to attend the same school as their parents! After they divided us into classes, I told Léo that I'm in the same class with Daddy, and Léo immediately said, "I hope you get to sit by Daddy!" So cute! Naturally, why would he imagine that the grown-up classes would be any different from the classes for kids? He also assumed we'd be needing scissors and a glue-stick for our class...

1 comment:

Siastar said...

This cracked me up. Fellow atheist here living in Germany (about an hour and a half from Köln). I do have to say that German food really isn't THAT bad! :D Keep up the good work!