Chapter VI – Part 12

$ What you have just said refers to cosmetics produced by corporations and I don’t use them.

$ I see. Neither do I. And washing powder, dishwasher liquid, dry food for your dog?

$ All right. You’ve won. When I come home I’ll have a look at the packages. Number three was: talking to my friends. I wonder how you’re going to sell that to me since I have no German-speaking friends (of course, I don’t count colleagues from work) and I even don’t want to have any because the very contact with German at work makes me throw up.

$ So let’s combine it with your hobbies. What’s your hobby?

$ I enjoy viniculture very much.

$ That sounds great because in Germany and in Austria there’s a long tradition of growing grapes and producing wine. Tell me about your hobby.

$ It started longtime ago, as soon as I became financially independent. From every trip I brought a special bottle of wine: an extraordinary taste, shape of the bottle, something typical to the place I was visiting. When I took my car, I filled a whole cardboard box with wine bottles. After we got married we decided to build a house and from the very beginning, at the very stage of the project we took into consideration a wine cellar. Now we have even special wine fridges for wines that require a lower temperature than the cellar temperature.

$ You’re really passionate about it! Would you be interested in exchanging experience with other oenologists, from Germany and Austria?

$ I suppose I know what you’re aiming at. I frequently visit English wine forums. To find something like this in German…

$ Ask your colleagues at work: maybe they have personal contacts of this kind. Anyway, it’s only a suggestion. We’re working on how to transform learning a language into a life style. Next activities were: listening to music and watching films. It is already going on, right?

$. Yes, it is. I love German music, from Bach through “Winterreise” to Marlena Dietrich and Rammstein. I seldom watch films. I watched “Das Leben der anderen” after a very long break in watching something in German.

$ Do you sometimes happen to sit in front of your TV set with no intention of watching anything particular, just like that: sitting, relaxing, zapping.

$ Of course!

$ So in this case transforming the process of learning a foreign language into a life style can consist in getting used to stopping your zapping when you come across a German channel. The best option would be a film that you have already seen or a quiz show or news with headlines displayed at the footnote of the screen.

$ So I would need to think while doing this.

$ You poor, poor Eve. Maybe at the beginning. Then just let them teach you.

$ Listening to the radio would be similar.

$ Yes, that’s right. Program your remote control so that 3 or 5 buttons switch on German radio stations with different accents: Austrian, Swiss, Bavarian, Berliner or others. You press the button and imbibe even if you want to do something else while listening to the radio: tidying up, cooking etc. Next thing: books.

$ You know, I hardly ever read books. Maybe 1 or 2 a year. I feel sad about it, I have bad conscious that I give a bad example to my son but that’s just the way it is. I read newspapers and magazines, that’s all.

$ ‘Just the way it is’ is a lie that people use to cover up the fact that they won’t take time to figure out how things really work. Who said that? anyway, let’s leave it for a while. The last thing was travelling abroad. This can be a huge motivator.

$ Trips stress me so much that I can’t look forward to them.

$ What stresses you the most?

$ Of course the fact that I won’t be able to come to an understanding. That words I need won’t come to my mind when I need them.

$ When is the next trip?

$ In two months’ time.

$ It’s great to have two months ahead to prepare for a trip. The better you prepare before you go the more confident and less stressed you will feel.

$ What do you mean? What am I supposed to do in your opinion?

$ Do what you usually do in your daily routine: get up, take a shower, eat, work etc. From time to time focus on whether you’re going to do it on your trip. At home you do the ironing yourself. Maybe there you’ll have it ironed? How will you order this service? Are you going to buy a local phone there? In your head make up a dialogue with the salesperson. Is the country you’re going to famous for the seafood you love? Make a list of seafood. Are you supposed to have negotiations with a real estate agent? Find the equivalents of words like row house, square meter, lift, countryside. And it’s not about exhausting the subject and downloading all the dictionaries existing in the world on your laptop. It’s about getting started and in a certain moment looking forward to going abroad.

$ How much time do you want me to handle this a day?

$ As much as you want. And if you don’t, only read chapters related to hotel, airport or taxi for a couple of minutes from your old Student’s Book. Maybe you’ll get some appetite to do more. Maybe not. And this is going to be all right, too. To sum up: how can you formulate an alternative opinion to the destructive thought: I have no time to learn languages?

$ Learning languages is my life style.

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