Last Dutch class of the year yesterday, during which our teacher put up a document which set out all the mistakes we made in the exam - not collectively, INDIVIDUALLY. By name. FACE YOUR FAILURES, STUDENTS. I was first up and the list was loooong and shaming, many poorly structured sentences and off-the-wall verb choices, but I was still on a high from managing to crowbar the phrase “onnodige verplaatsingen” (unnecessary journeys) into my oral exam, after spending the entire night with it trotting around in my head. Post oral debrief:
Teacher: That was some rich vocabulary you used there, nice one, I was impressed.
E: But it’s exactly the phrase you told us to use. You wrote it down, word for word, on the blog.
Teacher: Yeah, but still.
I got 90% on the oral exam, better than my exam partner Elena who is married to a Dutch speaker and who terrified me with her hugely long, sophisticated sentences full of complex grammatical constructions, which I answered with pithy (= basic) two word comebacks. I have huge holes in my knowledge, grammar and vocabulary, but somehow I blind the teacher with my plausible accent. I’m not proud of it, but it’s handy. We have a different teacher for the next level, so I might need to up my game.
This was my fourth Dutch level/class, and the higher I have got, the less interesting the class has become,. I mean, they’re all very nice and everything, but nearly everyone is Belgian and quite middle class now, whereas before it was a mad old mix of nationalities and backgrounds, Chechen students, Iranian professors, Lithuanian trailing spouses, unemployed Brits, French baggage handlers, the Indian bloke who just used to copy everything I wrote down… I mean, how am I going to learn the Rwandan national anthem now?
I have been going to yoga for a few months. (I go with my husband, it is our new Thing. We make for pretty improbable yogis, me idle/anxious/incapable of not comparing self to others, him goal oriented/alpha/inflexible, neither of us sylphlike or wearing leggings with weird geometric patterns also he insists on us going on his motorbike whilst playing Dutch dance music stations on its stereo at high volume. This sends the delicate, beautiful ladies in heavily patterned yoga leggings skittering in all directions). Once again, I make the same observation about sport/exertion: my thighs are genetically programmed to bulk up dramatically when exposed to even the mildest physical activity.
I don’t know what the evolutionary function of this was in my forefathers' Celtic bog, but I am a prime specimen of whatever it was: a couple of lousy warrior poses and I have thighs like an all-in wrestler. It is tiresome. Also, then the giant thighs request more food to sustain themselves, yes, this is biologically coherent, shut up, result: I am fatter than before when I did no sport whatsoever, more tired and achy and very cross about it. I can only hope that it is somehow stopping me from curling over into full Mrs Overall and is thus, on some level, worth it. I mean, do I have less back pain? Yes. But I have compensatory pains all over the rest of my body. Is it worth it? I do not know, but we've paid for the full year now, so I'm locked in. Namaste.
Look at me with all my improving activities. They are over for the week, let me reassure you, full inertia will now be resumed. Son is watching Dexter when banned from killing strangers on the internet, so I spend large swathes of every day - even mornings! The decadence! - staring dully at a programme I have already watched. Living my best life.
25% Chausson aux Pommes
25% Fitbit irritation
25% 'Took on a job that scares me' fear
25% Picard salt and pepper crisps. This is one of those Bourjois/Chanel situations. I swear these are Burts Crisps by another name and no one is going to convince me otherwise. It even says "produit élaboré en Royaume Uni" on the packet. *taps nose*