A grumpy little update

Writer’s block would be a better excuse for not writing in here for a while. But I guess I’ve been following the little adage about not having anything nice to say.

So I’m reading and ignoring the fact that I’ve retreated into my introverted little shell. HA. It is what it is.

I guess recently I’m just tired of working my butt off and, well, let me word this correctly, I’m not getting directly criticized per se, but I feel like I am constantly surrounded by people who just want a frickin dictionary and pay no mind to the actual work I am doing. You can’t translate a language word for word, how often have I repeated these words to deaf ears?!?!

It’s more like I have negative comments and disappointment and scorn and American stereotypes sort of floating above my head, not exactly hitting me, but after an extended amount of exposure, not exactly leaving me unscathed either.

Neither are English classes a place where I can improve my German. I write things down to be polite, but my brain is fully concentrating on the lesson, working and answering questions and thinking ahead to the next activity. They can tell me all the German expressions they want, but in five minutes I’ll have forgotten it completely.

I did go away for a month and took a course, but that might as well have been another lifetime, for all the good it did me. If I want to learn Greek, (and I had darn well better do it, while I’m surrounded by it everyday) I don’t have time for ANY German.

If it were the kids only being stupid, I guess I’d be doing OK. Kids need to mature and learn things the hard way. Ignorance is forgivable when you’re young.

But oh dear, this cynicism from the seniors. I don’t need to defend all of America, from some pig-headed old man, who has decided that all English speakers who come to Germany purposefully don’t learn German, and they’re incapable of learning any language well, just cause they don’t have to. Nor will he listen to my careful explanation of the American high school experience and my argument that one might not meet a native speaker of French or German or even Spanish until almost out of their teens. Forget a “short” trip to Paris.

It’s not all about me mind, but when I’ve taken the time to address his wildly-outrageous, old-man-the-world’s-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket-worldview, and doesn’t he just have that arrogant look in his eye, that tells me even this man thinks poorly of my German. And I tell you, yeah it’s enough to totally deflate me. And these aren’t one-off stereotypes either. I hope to God, my world doesn’t revolve around conspiracy theories if I reach such a ripe-old age.

You know work colleagues, who cares. We’re not going to be friends anyway and I didn’t learn German or Greek for them. If my boss wants to explain to the little girls that I don’t know Greek and I understand every single word, but just sit there feigning ignorance, because…really.. why bother interrupting your boss, who cares. I’m not paid to speak Greek there, and I don’t speak Greek in class, cause it’s hard enough maintaining classroom control without speaking in a funny accent/making a stupid mistake that’ll have the kids laughing for ages. If I want to say something, I say it right, or don’t say it.

But you know, I know in my heart that there will be some kids who explain for the rest of their lives, yeah there was this American teacher we had at Frontistirio and she tried to learn Greek, but it’s like totally the hardest language in the world and Americans can’t learn languages anyway. I mean she was cute but she spoke German with a stupid accent too. The other teacher said it was awful too. We did so many bad things and she never realized it.

“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I see all my goals are within my grasp, but meanwhile I have no time to make progress on any of them and people are constantly trying to shut the door on my progress for me. I don’t think I’m over-reacting. But I can’t deny that I’m burned out   and resentful.

The thing that I hate the most, is how being this way makes me incapable of really being present with the kids when they are sitting in front of me, excitedly greeting me and willing to learn and I’m stuck in my own head, and no amount of chewing myself out is helping.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not pouting while I teach, or copping a major attitude, kids don’t deserve that and the seniors just want fill up the hours of their weeks with pleasant chitchat. I’m just quieter, but repressing my irritation also has an adverse effect on my stress levels. Furthermore it leaves me grumpier in the presence of the one person I see during the week that I completely trust and respect and want to see everyday.

All there is to it, is to focus my effort on moving on to the next step and moving to from this chapter of my life. Sometimes you just gotta admit that you’re grumpy for a reason and carry on living.

Check out my zoo pics on FB. We had our typical bad-luck-streak in Munich, but oh well. It’s just added to the interesting experiences we have together and laugh about later.

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