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4 days until we fly from BWI to Ramstein to start our stay in Germany.  Today is also my last day working in Maryland, and to celebrate we are going out for the token “government farewell lunch” at Bill Batemans in Havre de grace.

Over the past several months I have been brushing up on the German language. Having taken 4 years of it in high school, I had a headstart….barely. It was barely a recollection of not so useful phrases like “Wo ist die Kofferkuli (where is the luggage cart)”, “Dieser Platz is sehr bequem (this seat is very comfortable)”, and of course “ich habe mein Buch hier (I have my book here)”. So I dove head first into translation apps, audio books, and language workbooks. My favorites have been an 8 CD audio book called “German – Learn in your car”, which I listened to three complete times over the past two months. Another has been a workbook to learn the building blocks of the language, such as gender (der/die/das), but also which case. With four genders (including plural) and four cases (nominative, accusative, dative, genative) that makes 16 combinations just to say the word “the”!! Not to mention when you use indefinite articles (a, an), personal pronounds, AHH!!! So this is the reason why, after all this studying up, I have completely frozen up when trying to speak German with an actual person. For example, a landlord for a house we are interested in. After a few futile attempts to put together a conversation, we ended up going forward in English. I can only hope it gets better once I have a chance to practice face to face!

Until next time….

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