Have you ever had a moment in your life when you think, ‘How did I get here?’ I had one of those moments last week as I found myself sat next to a nun in a German lesson in rural Austria.
Finally, and very luckily, I have found a German class I can take. I happened to ask my Austrian grandma (as I now call her) if she knew of a class I could take, and she rummaged around in a drawer for a while like old people do and produced a booklet of courses at the Volkhochschule in Rohrbach. What were the chances!? There was a class beginning the following day that looked about my level. When I looked online it was all booked up, but I decided to email anyway – and it was a good job I did, because who should email me back but Eva’s daughter who I helped deliver bread to on my first day in Rohrbach and who happens to be the person who organises all of the lessons at the school (told you Rohrbach was small). Of course, she let me go along to the course anyway, despite not having registered or paid yet. So now I’ll have a three hours of German twice a week, which will keep me nice and busy.
Sadly I got wolf-whistled at for the first time on the way home from my German lesson (quite terrifying when you’re walking up a hill on a country road without a path, using your phone as a torch because there aren’t any streetlights), proving once and for all that even when you move to deepest darkest Austria to a village of 2,500 people, you can never outrun the misogynist dickheads of the world. I think it was my sexy bobble hat that was to blame though tbh.
This seems like a good time for me to pause and reflect on the real reason I came to Austria:
to run away from my problems to learn German. Why on Earth would anyone bother to learn German, I hear you cry. Well…
Reasons to learn German
- Seriously, have you ever heard someone speak German? It’s awesome.
- It’s an infuriatingly difficult language but you get to feel like a boss when you get literally anything correct.
- There are really fun grammar rules that you can learn by heart and then say out loud super fast and everyone mistakenly thinks you’re really clever when you actually just learnt a little rhyme (eg. AUS BEI MIT NACH ZEIT VON ZU THE DATIVE CASE WE BRING TO YOU WITH GEGENUBER TOO and DER DIE DAS DIE DEN DIE DAS DIE DES DER DES DER DEM DER DEM DEN). If I ever get a tattoo, I can guarantee it will be a tattoo of a German grammar rule.
- The words are hilarious. I still laugh at the word Ausfahrt (exit) and I’m not even ashamed, though I probably should be. I also laughed at the name of this shop for a good ten minutes.
- This song
- This film
- IT’S AN ADORABLE LANGUAGE. They call a fridge a ‘cold cupboard’. They call gloves ‘hand shoes’. They call diarrhoea ‘fall through’. Come on.
- German-speaking countries have the prettiest mountains.
- German-speaking countries make the best chocolate.
- German-speaking people are lovely and funny and kind.
- Even their most unremarkable words are hilarious and cute, eg. umbedingt (absolutely) and der Spargel (asparagus)
- Beer tents
- Austrian/German men are fit and surprisingly un-creepy (for the most part).
- An example of this and another reason entirely on his own, Daniel Brühl, my future husband.
My second week of teaching was easier than the first, primarily because 8 of my 12 lessons were cancelled, usually without notice. This was annoying because I had spent time preparing lessons and waking up at 5:30am to get to school on time to teach, only to find that I’d been stood up by not only the teacher, but the whole class… but useful because at least now I have a few extra lessons planned, and because I used the extra three hours sat in the staffroom to revise some German and take selfies – which was how I made the most important discovery of my trip so far, namely that ROHRBACH HAS A GEOFILTER.
The lessons I did teach were mostly alone, which I’m actually surprisingly ok with – the students seem to be happier talking to me when the teachers aren’t there and we can have a bit more of a joke and a laugh. This is not at all what I was expecting from my time abroad, but I’m essentially a teacher at this point – an underpaid, part-time teacher, but a teacher nonetheless. I suppose this is just what happens to language graduates – the teaching profession sneaks up on you, one way or another. It’s crafty.
In Willig and Eva news, Willig has continued his top banter by putting this rock by the front door…
…and building a new house for his pigeons in the garden. He told me over coffee and cake one afternoon that he started off with two, but now they had multiplied to eight, so he was building them a bigger house and he’d show me when he was finished. Don’t misunderstand me – these aren’t fancy racer pigeons or anything, these are literally vermin pigeon that Willig is breeding in the garden. #austria
After an an hour and a half discussing his travels and birds, Eva wouldn’t let me go back to my flat without loading me up with the rest of the cake (classic grandma). She told me it was a Betthupferl, which she explained is a sweet thing that you eat before you go to bed to make you sleep better. I’m not convinced that a sugar rush right before you try to fall asleep would make for a good night’s rest, but I wasn’t about to say no to cake.
Eva and Willig get more and more adorable by the day, my heart just swells up whenever they bring me food – which is often. Today, Eva brought me up a huge bowl of cooked pasta that will easily last me five meals, for no reason other than that she ‘made too much’. I could live without her occasional racist comments and Willig’s farts, that echo through the corridors, shake the house and rattle the windows and that you can hear even from the bottom of the garden, but otherwise they’re the loveliest couple you could imagine.
In other Rohrbach news, this week it became the setting for every joke ever.
That’s about all from me, so until next time, auf Wiederschauen!