You can teach an old dog new tricks!!
My Mother in Law reminded me on Tuesday, that I haven’t updated my blog in a while. I realized it is hard to write about adventures, when the only adventure you have now is going to the grocery store, or walking your wife down to the train station! Part of that changed today. After waiting, what seems like years, but was actually only six weeks; I got the results of my German Test in the mail today. It turns out I get to stay in Switzerland. Thank goodness it came now. My visa is dated September, as that is when I arrived in Switzerland. However it turns out that my visa is tied directly to Julie’s. We BOTH have to renew our visa’s next month. If I had not gotten the results back, I would have to have asked for a waiver on the visa requirements. Now all I have to do is fill out the paperwork, and provide a copy of the certificate.
If you remember from earlier posts I wrote about having to learn German to fulfill my Visa requirements. I went to school for 18 weeks. The school met Monday – Friday for two hours a day. In addition, I had at least an hour of homework every night. All of this to take a test that says a two or three year old knows and understands the language better than I do. :).
The test was four parts: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. You have to get a minimum of 60% over the whole test to pass. It truly is a pass/fail system. All I can say, is I am very glad the percentage was over the total test. It turns out, I can’t write worth crap in German. Which really wasn’t to surprising, since in all that time, I only had to try and write something one time. It also turns out that I can not hear anything. I do not know if it is simply that I am getting old, or what, but the test was basically recordings from train stations, or department store speaker systems. So I had to hear a recording made from a crappy speaker, on a crappy CD-player that was probably 25 years old. Needless to say, I did not do very well on these two sections. The reading and speaking portions truly allowed me to pass. In reading over this paragraph I sound like I got a 61% on the test. It wasn’t that bad. I really did fail the writing portion. I got a 58.5% on that section. However, the 100% I got on the speaking portion, and the 95% on the reading portion pulled my overall score up significantly.
This by no means says that I can speak German. I can do the absolute bare minimum. I can ask for directions (though I may not understand the answer) and I can get by in a store or restaurant. That is about it. However, this does now open up some things for me.
From the very beginning my wish was to find a way to volunteer, or work with a local school. Now I can really start reaching out. I was hesitant to do this earlier, because of the test. If I had failed the test, my only tasks in life would be to: 1) Study more 2) Clean the Apartment, and 3) Feed Julie. My guess is that Julie would waive number 3, because I don’t think she is that fond of my cooking anyway. I have drafted emails to the “Principals” of the primary and secondary schools in Rüshlikon, and Thalwil. I have also identified some of the private schools in the area and if I can not make arrangements at a public school I will try there. Hopefully, they can use some free IT help. I would really like to work with teachers or students, but I would be happy in the back end as well. So for any of my Winneconne colleagues that read this; someone from Switzerland may be contacting you. Please say nice things. You may have to lie a little, but I will be very appreciative.
Other things on my to do list: get a fishing license! I really missed hunting this fall, and I am missing turkey hunting this spring. Studying for the fishing license exam will be good. Now I just have to convince Julie to let me buy a boat. I don’t want anything fancy, even a kayak would work. I do see people fishing from shore, but I have not seen ONE person catch anything from shore. I also need to get more serious about the Apps. I have been working on re-doing the website, so I need to buckle down on that, and I need to spend more time on getting feedback to Mike so he can program some changes! It isn’t like the App Business is going to make me wealthy, but I really do have time now. I thought I would have spent more time on that over the last five months, but I let myself down, so I need to get back to that.
It is still going to be at least a month before Julie and I can do any traveling. We may be able to take some day trips around Switzerland, but the current normalization plan doesn’t have restaurants and bars opening up until June. It is hard to travel anywhere if you can’t eat. 🙂 Julie and I still have our reservations for returning to the US for the end of May, but neither of us are optimistic about that actually happening. Hopefully, we still get to head back home for a bit, but it is not looking good.
I am going to sign off now. Julie just hollered at me, that her hair stylist’s website says they are taking appointments; so I have to use my newly acquired german skills to help her navigate the website. Stay safe everyone. I’ll write more soon!