Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sydney's Famous New Building

Being bilingual is so much fun. You understand things from different persectives. You get to mix and match. And, sometimes, you get to misunderstand things in an entirely different way too.

Ryan and Andrew presented their posters on Australia today. To a not-so-rapt audience made up of Aidan and Matthew and their six-year-old friend Jordan, who is also staying here for the week. Since Jordan, and all the other guests Ryan and Andrew are hoping to present to (their BIG debute, here on the Birkholmhof in Iglersreuth!) speak German, they prepared the presentation in German.

Andrew likes to improvise so it's really fun to hear what he comes up with sometimes. I've heard the speeches FOUR times since yesterday so I just keep reminding myself that they are learning the facts - oceans and states and historical events - as well doing something that makes them feel important. And I amuse myself with the extra "facts" Andrew comes up with. (Ryan uses flashcards and keywords - she was in the German school system far too long to feel comfortable with improvisation.)

I've learned that the first man to land in Australia who COULDN'T play a didgerigoo was James Cook. That the weather in Australia is too warm to go snowboarding anywhere but in the mountains. But that snowboarding is so dangerous that most Australians wouldn't want to do it anyway. He wasn't sure about ice-skating. (I couldn't shake the image of 1900th century Australians iceskating in Sydney Harbor.) And that the English sent prisoners down to Australia as punishment until they realized that the weather in Australia was so nice that all the people down there were sunbathing and surfing and watching koalas in the trees. Then they got mad at themselves for being stuck in the cold and rain and stopped sending people there.

This one only works in German.

"The Sydney OPER house,"explained Andrew this morning, " is a big old place where Opas can go to sing.'' He thought about it a moment. "I'm pretty sure Omas can go and sing there too.''"

Just for that, I think I'll make an effort to keep up the German in Australia after all!

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