There are some evenings where I should not go to Danish class, if I am tired or out of sorts it just makes me want to leave the country as fast as I can.
I really do not want to move countries but given my disappointment with the Danish media, the crappy weather and then the dull slog of Danish grammar exercises; it puts a cast on my day.
The thing of it is that I cannot even think what it is I do not like about the class. There are a few things that float around but defy being pinned down. I do not appreciate the haphazard way we are entered to exams, I do not like the opaque system for changing groups, I do not like the way all we practice is how to pass the tests. But you cannot point to any one thing and say “that is it… I hate class because of x”
The group I joined in September has completely changed. There are just two of us left and he is moving to the “exam team” next August. I do not understand how people get moved out, I do not understand how the system works. A couple of Belgians were with us briefly, the guy had been speaking Danish for a year before class and his gf was pretty good from the beginning… but my understanding was once you were in a group, you stayed in it. She got entered for exams a bit faster than the rest of us. Who knows if I would have passed if I had been entered at the same time, it was never discussed. I dislike this system. There is too much of a margin for favouritism and error. She certainly is better at speaking but there is no way of telling who could read/write better at that stage. It was not discussed as a possibility.
Then there is the constant exam practice. We are just doing things that prepare us for the test. Nothing else. I am in the sausage factory again and I am being made into a product. What about my needs as a learner? What about my priorities?
My test last night was okay, I suppose. I get the results on Monday. The tasks were pretty funny. The first one was “write an email to a friend explaining why you have moved house”. An email. Do you see. Because people do not write letters anymore but the ministry in charge is not imaginative enough to see what I could use written Danish for. An email. Presumably my computer does not have a spell checker, google translate is broken and my dictionaries have all been burned.
The next one was “write an email to apply for a job”. The job was specified. The job was “cleaner for a børnehaven” and not any job of my choice. Not a job where I have the vocabulary to describe my competences. I had to describe myself and I did in terms of “strong and healthy” because I cannot spell “honest” and I am fucked if I know how to say “hard working”, I think I wrote “difficult working”
I do not have applying-for-job vocabulary and as the email HAD to include “why you want the job”, I had to write stuff like “I really like clean kindergartens”. Don’t you go get these sorts of jobs in person? I just turned up to my old cleaning job. “Hi, here about the cleaning” Doesn’t your social worker force you to take these jobs here?
I also had to say how my Danish was. As if you need to speak Danish to clean. I have cleaned, you are on your own wiping stuff and hoovering. Your boss barks at you, you try not to think about your aching body. You do not need to be able to speak any language, just need to find ways of keeping sane in the face of extreme boredom, fatigue and frustration with lazy, dirty people.
Then there were reading exercises and these were a bit tricky. I had to put in sentences into paragraphs, put in missing words, match descriptions with longer text. And still I cannot work up the appetite to learn. Even though it is beginning to present appropriate challenge.
In the Danish class itself, one of my partners told me that she had seen my youtube in our discussions about free time (I teach her little sister) and that was pretty cool. But she could have told me that in French and English. Danish seems really unnatural to use when we both speak each others’ language.
I need to chill out, really, I need to stop being so negative but I have not been sleeping. I drop off after hours of trying only to wake up again and again. My back hurts almost full time and I keep getting tension headaches. I need to push myself into the realms of pollyannaism and other mental tricks but it is hard. I feel good after running but that is hard-won, during any run I feel like shit. I tried a little red wine with dinner last night but it just made me sad and dizzy, not relaxed and sleepy. The news and things that I choose to watch makes me feel weepy. I would love to explain it as The Time of the Month but my contraception is such that the usual rules do not apply. Hoping that my visit to Guildford will chill me out. I definitely want to meet Paula in London on Saturday (if you are free) and maybe just seeing familiar things and friendly faces will reset my clock.