It’s very likely that today I am more fluent in German than I have ever been before (or in any other foreign language), and more fluent than I will ever be again. After sixteen weeks of three hours of German class a day, today was my last day.
I’ve studied quite a few foreign languages in my life (most prominently Russian, but also Spanish, Chinese, and French), but I’ve forgotten most to all of each of them through years of disuse. I’ll try to maintain my German talking with Jenny, and I’ll probably take occasional conversation courses when I return to St. Louis, but I expect that my German will atrophy as much as the other languages have.
The class actually ends tomorrow, but Jenny and I will be on our way to Vilnius, Lithuania for a long weekend, so I’ll miss the class (expect to see a lot of new pictures sometime next week). The main teacher for the class moved to Barcelona yesterday, so we had our farewell party two days early, skipping the last half of class to have a picnic with beer and Bocce on a lawn by the lake. It was a wonderful day, with temperatures in the 80s and cloudless skies that are unusual for Hamburg.
Besides losing my structured way of learning German, I’m also losing the structure to my day. The class was always the center of the day, running from 10:00 – 13:30, but now I’ll have a lot more free time for our last two months here. I expect to fill that time with more work on my independent study project for my Computer Science masters degree. Additionally, Jenny’s family is visiting for a week in September, and parents are visiting for a week in October. Those visit and that work will keep me quite busy as I enjoy the twilight of our experience in Europe.