Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

I got a notice today about my Dutch lessons which are scheduled to begin next month. I signed up for the lessons at the city when I first arrived and have been anxiously waiting to hear back from them. I got a letter to invite me to a meeting to ask questions and to make sure I qualify for the sponsored classes. Did I mention how competitive it is to get into these courses? At the meeting they told me it is the law that immigrants make an effort to integrate and that I was doing the right thing by choosing to take lessons. It was intense...I thought this was for fun when I signed up, only to find out I would be breaking the law if I hadn't. Nick is in trouble! Bad boy, bad boy, what you gonna do, what you gonna do when they come for you? The more exciting message was that I qualified and I could start as soon as there was an opening at one of the schools. The city is going to pay the majority of the cost of the course and I am responsible for 200 euros. These courses are usually over 2000. Lucky me! I waited again and finally another notice came this week that said that I am required to come in to write a Dutch proficiency test in order to place me in the appropriate class. I tell you, they sure do make you jump through hoops around here! I don't know why it is necessary for me to take an hour out of my day and waste the time of an exam proctor to tell them I know absolutely nothing. I filled that out on the application form. I understand that if you had some background this would be helpful in getting you started in the right class but if you have never heard or spoken the language before I think it's pretty clear where you start, THE ABSOLUTE BEGINNING.
I was thinking about the test today and for a second I actually considered studying. The type A in me hates to fail, refuses to fail, but this is one occasion that I know that no matter how hard I cram for this exam I am going to fail. Nick and I joked that if the entire exam asks only about saying good morning, thank you and how to count to eight that I may have a chance of passing it :) So after this final hoop I think I will be able to start class in November. It is an emersion program that runs full days so I should be speaking Dutch in no time. Fingers, Toes and Eyes crossed that I will be speaking Dutch by the New Year.


  1. On the contrary, I speak the only words I need... "I'm American" and "my wife speaks Dutch" ;)