It’s still a bit difficult to tell were the intake for my inburgering went off the track, but the simples explanation seems to be this: in trying to tell people what work I do, they came to the conclusion that I don’t really know how to do anything at all. So they put me on a vocational track that would teach me how to get along in Dutch society, how to speak the rudiment of the language, and to acquire a useful trade.
Gardening, to be precise.
I went through the necessary steps with the Gemeente, not worrying why it happened, but just getting onto the right track. I’ll have to re-sign my contracts with everyone, but it’s behind me: I was invited back among my classmates this morning. ‘Off towards NT(something – not quite sure if I’m on the 1 or 2 track).
A few observations after the restart:
This whole inburgering is going to take a huge commitment of time. ‘nothing wrong with that, but I mis-underestimated it and clearly need to shuffle days and priorities to meet it.
It’s also going to be relentlessly Dutch. This, too, is as it should be, but complicates administrative negotiations terribly. I wish that they would relent when solving sign-up problems. It’s frustrating and slow to work through alternatives that I don’t understand in sentences that I don’t understand, confusing them with my Dutch as much as they do me. Mistakes get made, time gets wasted, and everyone ends up with more work.
My radio and television need to be tuned to exclusively Dutch stations. I understand more than I think I can if I focus, but it does take that focus., otherwise, my mind just free-wheels over the sounds. I also need to multiply the opportunities to express myself in Dutch: a Twitter feed, a Tumblr post, where I can put short notes for my “Dutch Buddy” to read. (Did I mention the importance of Dutch Buddy – someone who can speak the language with me daily?)
This first week was a waste. We are getting used to being in class, getting oriented to the computer, endlessly reviewing the college rules (over an hour on Bezwaren and Klachten yesterday – complaint procedures). I just want to move on improving vocabulary and conversations. Still, the Theory of Sunk Costs say never look back: Simply assess where you are today and move on forward tomorrow
Confidence Is Everything. When the class gets rough and unfamiliar, its easy to get cautious right when I need to be vleaning into it. Yesterday I got so flustered that I couldn’t conjugate a simple verb or remember the personal pronoun for “him”. Fluency will come with practice; understanding with time, and everyone started out here (even the woman next to me going a mile a minute…). It’s important to keep perspective and to know that I can do this.