Okay, so there is a slight update to my language school plans, but nothing is set in stone still.
I asked Marie on Monday for this mythical list of language schools Ralf gave her and told her to contact to see which ones could get me in and which would be a good fit. She printed out some information for me (all in German) from one school’s website. I don’t know if she had already pared down the list or if Ralf’s “list” was just this one school. I went to their website to gather their e-mail address. Despite the website being in German, it IS a language school, so I figured if I sent and e-mail in English, someone there would be able to write me back. Lucky for me, they also translated most parts of their site and compiled them into an informative site when you click on the “English” option at the top of the page. After reading through their English information, I was really excited because the program sounds well rounded. The website says that most of the learning is done through textbooks (which I LOVE), but there are also the teachers with 1v1 time and outings to discover the culture and history of Germany. They also teach about the German government, which is something I have only come to understand through Felix’s eyes. He may be 100% German by blood, but there is still a LOT that he doesn’t know or fully understand about the history, culture (particularly the more obscure holidays, like St. Martin’s and the German version of Thanksgiving), and government because he didn’t live here growing up.
The least exciting part about what I read is that the courses are in 8-9 week increments and the last one before JANUARY began on October 24th. I wasn’t even part of the DJK until November, so it wouldn’t have been possible for me to begin at that time. The website sort of makes it sound that because the October course already started and there is a “Weinachtenpause” (Christmas break), that January 9th would be the next time I could start the course. I e-mailed the language school on Monday to see which of the courses are the best fit for my goals with the language and my current skill (or lack there of) level. I am eager to start the school because I truly think it is my best chance at putting my German learning into overdrive, so I asked, in my e-mail, if I could start any sooner than that.
(here is the link if anyone would like to check it out: http://www.deutschkurse-mainz.de/ )
I was surprised to receive a response less than an hour later, but it was sort of a mixed response. Martin, the man who responded, said that I should come in to their office so we can assess if I am a better fit for the Basic course or the Intermediate I course based on what I currently know. If I should start the Basic course, then he said I could start right away! However, if my Rosetta Stone training has prepared me well enough to qualify for the Intermediate course, then I would have to wait until AT LEAST January to begin, and even that isn’t certain. They would have to see if there would be room for me in the course because most of their students from the Basic course tend to go on to the Intermediate course.
When Felix called from work later that day, I filled him in on the response I received. I told him the disappointing news. I told him that if I have to take the Basic course where they teach me Mann, Frau, Mädchen, Junge, Katze, Hund, Apfel, Hallo, Auf Wiedersehen, blau, Schwartz, etc., I would shoot myself. Yes, this is a very dramatic statement, but I have known these words since my first trip here in 2006. It was a struggle to make myself complete the first several lessons in my Level 1 Rosetta Stone because it was all words I have known for years. It seemed kind of like someone was trying to teach me how to add 2+2 again. But... Felix made a good point, like he usual does when I get a little dramatic. He said that it would still get me out of the house, practice speaking German and hearing it (the 2 parts of the language I have the hardest time with), meeting new people, and that it would give me something to do besides sit around the apartment. I agree completely. So tomorrow evening around 7, we are going into Mainz to meet with someone from the language school and figure out the best course for me.
Thankfully, the course at this school is very reasonably priced at between €240-340 per level per semester. It may sound like a lot, but the higher end of the price range are the more advanced levels of the school. Felix said that even if, for some reason, the DJK cannot or will not pay for my courses, we can still afford it. I don't know if it will be necessary, but from what I have read online, once I have turned in my 50€ depost to the school, my spot in the course is secured. They will then send me a letter that I can take to the insurance company (if necessary, but I don't know why I would) and to the visa office. I believe that enrolling me in a language course will allow me to apply for a student visa, so if for some reason this other visa doesn't work out, I think we have a back up option.
Felix also called the insurance company again on Monday to try to get our questions answered. He recieved different information this time that contradicts what he was told the first time (isn't that always the way), so now the order by which we do things has changed. According to this representative, I cannot get the public insurance without the piece of paper from the "county" that I am a resident here. I read online some places that this document is also required to get married here, but when Felix asked the woman in THAT office about it, she said it wasn't necessary. I also need my visa or residency permit before I can get insurance. All this time, we were under the impression that I needed insurance first before I could get a visa. I guess not. So now we are putting pressure on Ralf to talk to the connection he has in charge of the visas. We need him to prep her so when we go in to talk to her, she understands the situation and we aren't just everday random people. ha, ha. If she refuses to give me the visa and I end up not being able to get a student visa through the school, then I really don't know what my options are other than to apply for every job I can find and hand out my resume on the corner in the city. :) I am hoping it doesn't come to that though. Honestly, I am trying to just go with the flow in this situation. I know Felix and his family love me and have no desire to see me be forced to leave the country without doing all that they can.
Whew! And there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth.
Oh, and as a little side note, tomorrow is normally one of my off days. However, Marie asked if I could take over her basketball group BY MYSELF because someone she has known for a long time passed away and she wants to go to the funeral. I am a little terrified since this age group doesn't know enough English and I don't know enough German to really communicate, but mostly I just have to keep an eye on them so they don't get into any trouble, light things on fire, or kill one another in an epic gang war. Here is hoping we all survive!