Thursday, October 7, 2010

Auslander? I don't think so....

I'm due for a vacation. In fact, I'm so due for a vacation that I've enrolled myself in a German Course at MSOE just so that I'm "part of the action" when I return to Vienna in November to visit some friends I made when I briefly lived there in my undergrad. I don't want to sound like a typical "American" when ordering Austrian food and I certainly don't want to disappoint my friends when thy naively believe I remember any amount of the German I learned when I lived there with them. Basically, I just don't want to sound like a complete idiot; even if I am one.

So, I've enrolled in a course and am re-learning things I would have found laughably easy in 2003--and surprise (!) it's paying off. As my German knowledge and fluency are slowly starting to escape from the trenches of my brain (way, way back), I have found myself with a confidence and assurance that tells me come November, I will not be an outsider. Or, as an Austrian would "Auslander." Eek!

I have also checked out a myriad of books, audiotapes, and MP3 players in an effort to refine myself. Some of them I put on hold, some of them I found here at the Waterford library. In doing so, I realized that we often forget these types of materials are available for our use..and get this....for free!

A gentleman came into the library recently who'd been on a Mission Trip to Mexico and asked me where our Spanish materials were. I showed him a few options that I thought he'd find useful and he thanked me and said, "It was am amazing experience and I'd like to do it again. But I'd like to do it sounding a bit less like an idiot. I should at least know some basics, don't you think?" And I shook my head in agreement knowing EXACTLY how he felt. The effort to look as less idiotic as possible is, I'm sure, universal in nature. Or so I'm starting to believe.

If you ever have the travel bug or simply want to seem more intelligent than you probably are, feel free to head to the library to grab some language skill tools that will definitely help you solve that problem (at least until your trip is over). We carry a variety of MP3 players that teach Spanish which means you can literally do laundry, go for a run, or garden all while becoming the next bi-lingual wonder. We even circulate a Rosetta Stone Spanish program on a laptop! (See what wonders can be found at the library)?

So, as this great man heads back to Mexico to do great deeds and I head to Austria to probably gain ten pounds eating schnitzl, I hope we both feel a bit more intelligent and confident having a small gem in our arsenal: access to our local Waterford library.


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