Shannon Falls, August 2012

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Language Barrier

Having a person from another country under your roof 24/7 makes for some interesting conversations. We have introduced many new words to Pia (ie., supper, tweezers, necklace), and when she honestly doesn't know the English word for something, she simply uses the German one! Then we have a lengthy discussion to translate that German term into an English one. It's been fun, but it also takes a good deal of energy (you must get creative in explaining some American--and especially Southern!--terms and expressions) and time (you need to slow everything down and use lots of patience). It has also been a trying week at school, so I'm not sleeping soundly, and I have 6 classes who love to tell me how tired I look. Today one young lady told me I had bags under my eyes! Why, thank you, miss.
Pia, however, is absolutely wonderful. She's having a bit of a difficult time at school, and that makes her miss her mother. I can completely relate; I called my mom after my bad day today! And I'm 26!! Pia's always willing to help, and she's teaching us a good deal about German culture. Oh, we went to Bop's Friday night and she loved it. I wish I could express her reaction to her first bite of frozen custard here. There's no way to illustrate that sound! Saturday night we ran to Sonic; I didn't think she'd want to go with me because her jet lag had caught up with her, but the other German exchange student at school had told her about the servers delivering food on skates. When she realized that was the place I was headed, she literally jumped off the bed and slid on shoes! She forgot her camera, so I assured her we'd return for pictures of the servers. Pia wants to experience everything, so even when she's utterly exhausted she'll join in. I applaud her enthusiasm! We try to keep her busy on the weekends because the weeknights are pretty low-key. She's stepping up her studying, though, so she seems okay hanging out at home.
Back to German culture: they typically eat one hot meal and two cold/cool per day. Lunch is the usual hot meal, so it's taken a bit of adjusting to eat a hot supper every night. She's tried everything and has even started having seconds and getting her own drinks out of the refrigerator. We want her to feel as at home here as she would in Dortmund, so this is a HUGE step for all of us! She could certainly teach my students a thing or two about politeness!

I know she's told us other things about how home differs from south MS, but my day is catching up with me. I'll keep posting about our adventures! I still can't believe we have a German female teenager in our home!


Katie A. said...

I think it is so great that y'all are hosting a foreign exchange student. I'm sure you will all cherish this time for many years to come. Enjoy the learning opportunity that has been presented to you right in your own home. How fun!