Tonight I’m going to my Dutch lesson. I have been attending classes with the same group of ladies for 3 years and we still speak Dutch terribly. In fact, I don’t think I even go there to learn Dutch but more so to see the same group of ladies. We are all stuck in a small village facing the same cultural differences and language problems I face. It is nice to feel part of a ‘foreigners group’.
We have had newcomers over the years and some stay and some go but we always seem to have a core group of four of us. Our teacher is from Russia but probably has better Dutch than the locals here. Older people from the village speak dialect which I have no chance of learning, therefore to hear proper Dutch (ABN) albeit with a Russian accent is better than nothing. The teacher has a flair for eye shadow that matches her jewellery and it always nice to see brightly coloured beads on a shitty grey day!
There is Olga the older Russian housewife who is always immaculately dressed, complete with home sewn monogrammed handkerchiefs. I see her slightly stiffen as I sometimes tramp in my tracksuit pants. Tracksuit pants are called a ‘House suit’ in the Netherlands and unlike my country, it is not acceptable to leave your house in them. When Olga doesn’t get the grammar she will fight it out with the teacher in Russian. Oh the passion! Over grammar!
Kiko comes from Japan. Like Olga she has spent 10+ years here but Dutch has escaped her. Like my other Asian friends Dutch is extremely hard as it has no resemblance to their languages and they can’t get their mouths around some of the words. Kiko also happens to be an ex-pro cyclist and a personal friend. Despite hours spent on the bike with Dutch men everyday her understanding is great but getting understood is difficult. We also love Kiko because she loves to bake. It’s her hobby and we often find ourselves recipients of her baked goodies.
Lila comes from Spain and she commutes about 3 hours a day to travel to Amsterdam to work. Despite coming to work hungry and tired she is always laughing and clearly the best in our class. I think she works with Dutch people therefore her learning is expedited. She always makes class fun and worth going to.
The newcomers this year are a Polish lady and a Romanian lady who is pregnant. They both seem nice and I hope they are going to continue for the rest of the year. I am the lucky one as English is closest to Dutch and some words are just the same. I have clearly relied on this advantage until Level 5 but now it is obvious I will need to work a little harder as I’m falling behind.
Last week I skipped class to go to the theatre in Eindhoven. My friend who loves dancing and thought it might be a good show. The review said it would be an energetic performance of Mexican cowboys dancing. However, It wasn’t quite what I imagined. Think of a Mexican River dance without music. There were 12 five foot tall men tap dancing to the beat of a drum. Most of them had long hair and after 20 minutes of jumping about the sweat would fly off their hair and around the stage, dangerously close to where we were sitting. They were clearly talented but I felt I was missing some music to get me excited about it.
Tonight I need to give that review of the dancing Mexicans in Dutch to my classmates. I think my review will be lacking, like their performance! I asked my Dutch husband for the right words but school was never his forte so I’m on my own. Eek.
*I’m taking a break from being miserable. No babies, doctors and hospital talk this month! Only the good things in life will be thought about.