I taught the last part of my class this morning with Lin, a two month old baby girl, in my arms. Her mother, Lima, was invited to join us by her friends and she brings her youngest (of four) child with her to class. She has had little time for language class, so she is often learning one on one with one of us, reviewing the basics of the German language. She is keen to learn and excited with each step toward fluency. What a joy to help someone like Lima integrate into German life!
It’s also been gratifying to get back to work after the Christmas break. Our students have been keen to continue learning. But more than that, the large majority are still interested in connecting with each other socially as well. Our decision to stop offering a weekly lunch seems to make sense. As part of our own cultural learning, we discovered that most Syrians (the large majority of our students) prefer to eat a bigger meal in the mid afternoon, so the small lunch we offered between noon and one didn’t really appeal to them. They were just saving their appetites for later!
So instead, we chose to plan a monthly Saturday potluck, the first of which just took place this weekend. This event met the need for community building and also allowed other family members to join us when they had some free time. As hosts, we wanted to make sure we had enough food, so both Greg and Jennifer and Marla and I supplied a good amount of food. We were a little concerned as people started showing up, some bringing along more friends than food. Thank goodness our mothers in the class came through with some Syrian specialties to save the day. Needless to say, we didn’t have a lot of left-overs! Loaves and fishes for the over 50 people who gathered on a chilly Saturday afternoon.
And there was Lima, a smile on her face. After only attending two classes, she was enjoying some conversations with the other women in attendance. Her children were busy playing with others upstairs and enjoying the space to run around a bit. And, there was Lin, sleeping quietly beside her.
German words of the week: “hin und her” (together, they mean ‘back and forth’). These words are used quite often to describe movement from and to the speaker. “Komm her” would ask someone to come here and “geh hin” would send someone away. But, there are so many ways to use these words, it can get quite confusing. And not only for the students!