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Yesterday morning, I got confirmation that the intensive German class I had thought of signing up for upon my return to the US from Munich last month had reached an acceptable enrollment number and would indeed be taking place.
A sense of panic took over my entire being. Shit was getting real. For months, I had talked about eventually needing to learn German, but the starting line had actually arrived. For the next 5-weeks, I would commit to an intensive entry-level German class: 7 hours of classroom training a week + the supporting homework and studying time + the travel time to DC from Reston and back for a total of 10 sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays.
I was fucking scared. And nervous.
But I grabbed some of my new recent acquisitions, a Leuchtturm notebook, my favorite Montblanc set of writing utensils and my Bavarian flag umbrella and headed to town. My destination: none other than the epicenter of German culture abroad, in the US capital: the Geothe Institut.
During the 20 or so miles commute from my home in the VA suburbs to Downtown DC, thoughts kept running through my mind: What if I am not good enough? What if my brain can’t actually learn like this anymore? What if I am the old girl in the class? What if I suck? What if I want to give up? What if I don’t understand?
I cracked open my new notebook and used its first page to journal. I knew I needed to let these voices out, to honor my thoughts and emotions, to stay in and savor this moment. Daunting. Difficult. Different.
So I let it all out. And here is what I observed and learned:
I haven’t started anything unknown in a long time. I am a complete novice at the beginning of a brand new journey. With an almost naively open mindset. And we don’t often get this opportunity in life: to start from scratch. Let alone have the luxury of awareness, of taking the time to feel, think, and write about it.
I am completely outside my comfort zone and in this experience, I am practicing living with and growing from what that feels like. And I am so grateful for these emotions and thoughts. Even if in this race, I know I will never reach the finish line.
All in the name of gaining a more profound understanding of this German culture I love. The gift that keeps on giving.
It all starts somewhere, and it doesn’t last very long…
Ich bin Caroline. Wie geht’s?