Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Alles ist Möglich

I can't snowboard and I can't speak German. These 2 facts have hit me more than once a week since I have been living in Austria. Sometimes they hit me with hilarity, while I belly slide down a slope unable to stop myself or when someone speaks to me and all my German practice goes out the window and all I can say is '...errrrrr'. Other times they hit me with such defeat that all I can do is sit in the snow, body aching, and cry.  I was very aware of both of these facts before I packed up my life and moved over here, but it doesn't stop it from being any less of a blow. Not when I've fallen over for the 15th time, smashing my head and lower back on the ground and bounced around, sitting up with a face full of snow and a splitting headache knowing that no matter what, I have to get back on the board at least to get to the bottom of the mountain. Each time down the mountain I get a little better at snowboarding and I am significantly better than I was in NZ, however some days it is hard to remember this - even when my ever patient snowboarding instructor (Tom) is sitting in the snow next to me, waiting for me to dust the snow off, encouraging me and reminding me how far I've come. 

Not knowing the local language is a lot more isolating when you're not living in a hostel. You don't have the safety of other travelers who you can band together with. Of course, being Europe and Europeans being linguistic geniuses, 90% of people here speak English, but I don't want to be that person, if you know what I mean. So a lot of the time I opt to not speak unless very necessary (which means poor Tom gets all of my silliness). I am doing online German lessons, which currently provide more entertainment than usefulness. I have learned all sorts of phrases such as Ich habe eine Ente (I have a duck), Ich bin nicht normal (I am not normal), Deiner Mann isst der Insekt (Your husband eats the insect) and Der bär trägt ihre kleider (The bear is wearing her clothes). But there has been not so much on the useful phrases side. I am focusing on the little wins, a few weeks ago I went to a cafe on my own and managed to get through the whole process in German, which I was quite happy about. 

So, I can't snowboard and I can't speak German, but I am definitely trying to do both. Alles ist Möglich - anything is possible, with each phrase and each run down the mountain I get a little better, I just have to remember to keep on standing back up & keep pushing myself to talk =)

Innsbruck is beautiful though =)

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