I should be sleeping. But it has been one of those days of highs and lows and it is taking a bit to settle. And having blogged here about that goal of trying to learn German to reading proficiency over the course of four some months with a very persistent newborn needing my attention… I thought that I should let y’all know about my exam today. Besides, I didn’t do my seven things this past Saturday- prepping for said exam, visiting with mom, and well… it just didn’t happen. Stay tuned. Your regularly scheduled programming should return soon. Maybe I’ll even do it twice this week to make up for it. But I’m too tired for it now.
So, the exam… well, I was feeling really good come Saturday night. I hadn’t done all the review I had intended to do, but I had done enough that I felt I could honor sabbath on Sunday and just brush up a few things on Monday before the exam today, Tuesday. I had e-mailed off my most troublesome sentences from the three articles to a German friend who graciously offered her help and I had this peaceful sense that everything was going to be o.k.. If I didn’t pass, well, then I shouldn’t. If I can’t translate 2 pages, and summarize 5, after all the time I’ve had to prepare… I’m not ready to be judged proficient. And that’s not the end of the world. It complicates scheduling for next year, but it is not the end of the world. And, by Saturday I knew that it was a crap shoot. There were passages that I would be able to navigate fairly easily and others that still stumped me. It would all depend on what the prof picked… And I have no control over that. I knew that I had done a darn fine job with all that I did have control over and that even if I didn’t pass, I had learned A HECK OF A LOT of German, on my own, in a very short period of time. And that was something to be proud about.
And first thing Sunday morning I heard back from my German friend and life had happened for her and she had just been able to spend one hour with about 12 of the sentences that I sent along. She was astonished at the complexity of the use of the language- like nearly all academic writing it was made practically indecipherable for even a non-native speaker! With all that she had on her plate she didn’t think she’d be able to help with the rest. Which was fine with me. It was what it was. And I was SO grateful for the help she did give. And, strangely enough, hearing from her that it was hard, made me feel SO MUCH better. “Oh, so then I’m not really THAT bad at German. This is just hard German. Phew.”
So, yeah, Sunday I was at peace.
Yesterday, not so much. I spent the morning first planning the liturgy for a pulpit supply gig this coming weekend (yes, sermon prep starts tomorrow- no rest for the weary… sounds like parish days to me) and then reviewing some of the material I had not managed to review previously. And doing this was STRESSING ME OUT. “Oh my goodness! I thought THIS was the EASY article. Why is so much of it so confusing today?” Eventually I abandoned the task as I did not think working myself into a tizzy was helpful preparation. Mom had planned to take Caroline to the zoo to give me study time, but as I needed to drop them off and pick them and then kev up, I needed to either find someplace near the zoo to study, or… go into the zoo and study… or…. I don’t know. There were no good study spots near the zoo, so I opted for going in with them, on a beautiful afternoon, and walking about reviewing flash cards as I went. This was a good move. The walk was good for me. And flipping through cards and realizing how many I knew… well, that helped a bit. I was basically back to the “whatever will be, will be” place as the day was drawing to a close. I even fell asleep easily- of course Caroline woke up shortly thereafter, screaming. But… high anxiety days do not make for good sleeping nights for me usually… but yesterday, when Caroline allowed, was an exception.
So today… rough start to the day… our fridge has been seeming a bit warmer than it should be, but we haven’t known why. Mom cleaned it out yesterday and nothing seemed amiss. Well, the six ounces of milk I steadily pumped over the past few days and saved up so mom would have enough for the morning of my exam… spoiled. Agony, I tell you. Agony. Fortunately, 3 oz had come out that morning so we had SOME milk, but 3 oz is not adequate to 4 plus hours. I was freaking out. I nursed Caroline again before leaving and then tried to let it go. When I got to the parking garage near campus I realized as I shoved my last dollar into the slot that I was feeding the wrong parking space. Fortunately I was feeding an empty space so I moved my car… and just prayed I had fed ALL the dollars into that slot.
And then I picked up my exam.
And I took that envelope with my name on it to my library carrel which I have not occupied in months. And it felt good to be in that quiet place. I laid out the pile of pencils Kev had sharpened for me, set out my dictionary and grammar, wrote my name, etc. atop the first piece of paper in my notebook, and then took the exam out at 9:15 a.m.. Imagine my glee when I saw that the translation portion of my exam was being drawn from the shortest of the three articles, the LAST article I had translated in my practice (therefore the one translated with the most skill) and the ONLY article on which my German friend had been able to give me any feedback. When I turned the page to see what section of the exam… I almost fell over. First of all, I was being asked to translate MUCH less than I anticipated, and it was the EXACT passage from which I had gotten help from my German friend. This article was also the one that got the most careful review in the week prior. THERE WAS NO BETTER PASSAGE FOR ME TO BE ASKED TO TRANSLATE!!! I glided through it, checking words that seemed to be needing some improvement, and getting it done and proof read in just under the hour and a half allotted to me. I took a quick bathroom break, and came back to work on the rest of it, which involves skimming a five page section of an article and writing a summary of it, more or less. The passage for this was from what I believe to be the hardest of the three articles, and contained some of the hardest passages, BUT it was the only other article I had carefully reviewed, and even if I still wasn’t to the point of being able to translate it, I was to the point of getting the basic idea and therefore, likely, being able to summarize it. If I erred in this section it was in over sharing- more paraphrasing, perhaps, than summarizing. But overdoing seems a good error in a situation like this. I got through it all with two minutes to spare.
I would be SHOCKED if I didn’t pass. And if I didn’t, I’m going to need help understanding why. Friends, this is a huge relief. I wanted to accomplish one thing this semester (one academic thing) and it looks like I have done it. Well, I have done it. I’ve accomplished the learning of a lot of German, but I may have also fulfilled an academic requirement!
As I was wrapping up my exam I thought “Now, if only your baby is happy with only the 3 oz you left her and your car is still in its spot.” I called home and the baby was doing great (no so much a few minutes later, but she survived!) And… the car was still in its spot.
There were some other glitches to the day that I really don’t have the energy to get into, but… praise God- mom, Caroline, and I had a lovely, relaxing afternoon, and we had friends over for a fire and what turned out to be a bit of an impromptu picnic in our backyard. And, glitches be darned, this was a good day.
and now i’m tired enough to sleep. keep sleeping caroline. mommy and daddy need our rest.