It looks like they've turned the tables on us. While Aaron and I can now carry on basic conversation in German, we have certainly not mastered the language. We still use the present tense whenever possible, struggle with complex sentences and have horrid grammar and pronunciation. So, Aaron's colleagues have decided to exploit the only asset we actually have- we speak English!
Last Friday Aaron had his second tutoring lesson with Philip, the 12-year-old son of Thomas. Philip doesn't like to study his English lessons and won't let his parents help him (despite at least one of them being fluent in the language). But he has been very interested in Aaron since they met last June and Aaron accepted his soccer challenge. So, Thomas pleaded with Aaron to help. In exchange for a bottle of wine, Aaron spent 90 minutes quizzing Philip on his vocabulary words and sentence structure. Philip was happy because we gave him Coca-Cola!
Today was my first session with Mercedes, who is the 10-year-old daughter of Aaron's boss (no pressure there)! She is in her first year of learning English in school so she doesn't know many words and is not comfortable with it. And she's a little shy! Her parents want her to understand that English is a useful language, not just something that you have to learn in school. So they just want her to "hang out" with me and for me to talk to her in English. Today we talked mostly in German (stretching my limited vocabulary) but I thought it was important to find out her favorite color-red, subject in school- art, food- candy and her best friend's name- Teresa. We baked chocolate chip cookies- her dad also wants her to be exposed to American culture.
Truly, we are honored to be trusted with people's children. It is a fun opportunity to make a difference, something I feel I've been missing since being here. Once we get over our language jitters, which should be easier to do with kids, I hope we'll all get something out of the experience. I fully expect to learn as much as I teach!