A collection of grievances, memories, occasional musings, and everyday happenings

This Week in Grievances: School

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Man, I feel like every time I’ve sat down to write up the day’s latest grievance, it’s either time for bed or my husband and I have to run off to go somewhere. Not only has it been crazy busy around here, but it has been so, so hot. Compared to Oklahoma City, I guess it’s not that hot, however, we don’t have AC. Anywhere. No one does. It’s actually pretty uncommon for an apartment or office to have air conditioning. Not that it’s a game changer or anything, it just took us kind of by surprise how hot it actually gets. The lack of AC is kind of cool in a way because you get your air from outside (what? From like, nature?), and the cool air from the morning keeps your apartment somewhat nice for the day. On the other hand, the lack of AC is kind of bad in a way when you’re riding public transportation and stuck in between 15 sweaty strangers. This is especially unfortunate if you’re like me and get extremely motion sick on anything that, well, has motion. I should probably learn how to say, “Sorry in advance if I throw up on you” in German, which is actually a very real possibility since we registered for our German class a few days ago (whoo!). Class will begin in July and last through November. That’s 4 months, 5 days a week, 3 hours a day, in a classroom… with homework… and tests. *deep breath*

I don’t know about you, but once I graduated from college I didn’t look back. Being in school from 5 years old to 22 years old was plenty of school for me. It was actually too much school for me. Sometimes I would daydream about being one of those brilliant kids who graduated from high school early and finished college by the age of 16 just so I wouldn’t have to endure any more of it. Of course my husband is the opposite – he was reading newspapers on the toilet at 2, pleading the fifth at 10, enrolling in all the AP courses in high school, graduating with one of the sigma-somethings, and now looks forward to the day when he can go back to school to learn more. For fun.

I feel this expression on my face accurately sums up my feelings about school.

I like to learn too, I guess, as long as it’s on my own terms. For example, my best subject was English. I’m a grammar/story-writing/spelling/Great Gatsby-loving, Mice and Men-loathing snob, thus I was frequently proud of the efforts I gave in class. Math, on the other hand, forget it. I was constantly of the “I’m NEVER going to use this formula EVER in my life” mentality which was demonstrated on nearly every single one of my tests. Science – I don’t even want to talk about science. History – eh, I did a little better, but not by much. Basically I had one main problem in every subject (except English), and that problem was over-analyzation. I could KNOW the answer and still get it wildly wrong. Obviously not because I wanted to, but because of, I don’t know, pure anxiety and fear of getting the answer wrong. And because I had so much anxiety and fear, I would second, third, fourth, and tenth guess my memory, eventually talking myself out of the right answer. Here’s an insight into how my mind works under academic pressure:

A normal person’s thought process:

c) 1861

My thought process:

Oh I know this one. Uhh… C. 1861. …Right? Yeah that’s right, because it was bolded at the top of my notes, and I highlighted it orange, circled it twice, and said it out loud before I walked into class. 1861. Right? 1861… But 1823 is close. He wouldn’t have put 1823 as an option if it wasn’t important somehow. Now that I think about it, 1823 sounds right. 1823 or 1861? Or was it 1900? Was Lincoln alive in 1900? No he was shot, so not 1900. I think. Why does 1776 sound so familiar? Am I getting that confused with some other important event? The Civil War is old though. Like it happened a really long time ago. 1861 and even 1823 sound too recent history, so, yeah. It’s an old war. 1700s old.

b) 1776

As per demonstration, my thought process had no logic. But thankfully I graduated and, until a few days ago, had not encountered any academic hardships. When my husband and I went to register for our German class, we were met with an “Assessment”. We were shown to a white table, given pencils and our assessments, then the whole room went quiet as we attempted to fill in the blanks. I looked at the assessment and saw nothing but “AHHHHHHH” on the page. All of my academic anxieties came flooding back and I tried not to notice my husband filling in blank after blank. Ugh, husband! How dare you be so academically capable! Luckily I was able to fill in enough blanks to be waved on to not the lowest, but SECOND lowest German class, along with my husband.

Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna Opera). View from where class will take place.

The nice lady who graded my paper did get a good laugh from some of my answers which were apparently waaaaay wrong, but she was super encouraging and seemed to be genuinely excited for us. Even though I’m not exactly stoked about this whole going back to school thing, I am very ready to learn more about the German language and hopefully be able to say more than “Ich verstehe nur ein bisschen Deutsch” (I understand only a little German) and, “Nudeln mit Gemüse bitte, zum mitnehmen” (Noodles with vegetables please, to go).  I will of course keep you all updated on my progress, and if you could also be praying that my future children will inherit my husband’s intelligent mind, that would be beautiful of you.

Tschüss!

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Author: Holly

Vienna-based American wife/mom/expat.

2 thoughts on “This Week in Grievances: School

  1. Really like your post! Can’t wait to read what “sorry I threw up on you” looks like in German!

  2. Thanks so much! Will and I have enjoyed keeping up with your adventures. I’ll let you know when I learn my new phrase!

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