Thursday, November 6, 2014

Oy vey

Awkward moments are a part of life when you live in a foreign country. At some point, you will inevitably be completely clueless and not understand what's going on. I can't count the number of times I felt awkward in France. Awkward moments ranged from just feeling a little silly to the scarring moment when the mean lady who worked at the train station might have made me cry in public. It was a high-stress situation. Which I'm now reliving haha.

Anyways, I felt hopelessly awkward the other day, so I thought I would share. The story had a happy ending, so it's not too painful :)

As a part of my program, you're supposed to take either German or Yiddish. I was already taking German, but decided that I also wanted to try the Yiddish class. I love languages, so why not, right? I've already studied one Jewish language, so why not try out the other one.

All of my classes are with the same group of people. Not everyone is taking every class, but we only have classes with that same group. Also, every class is taught in English.

So I get to the Yiddish class, and I don't recognize anyone. Finally, I recognized one person from my program who I asked if it was the right class and I felt a little better. But not for long...

There were about 30 people in the class, and they were ALL Israeli. Then the professor comes in and is only speaking Hebrew. 

My thought process:

This can't be the right class.
Oh no.
What are they saying.
Please no one talk to me.
How can I leave.
Why did I sit in the back corner. 
I can't escape!

That morning, I'd had an interview for an internship. Just as the class was starting, the lady who'd interviewed me walked in and sat down next to me. So that would have made it even more embarrassing to stand up and leave. I wasn't anonymous anymore.

So the class starts, and they're correcting the homework from last week. I had missed the first class. I'm just praying that I do not get called on, because I have no idea what they're talking about in Hebrew or Yiddish.

Thankfully, as they're correcting the homework... the professor paused and asked if everyone in the class spoke Hebrew, because he noticed there were some new people in the class. He was looking right at me because I had a scared look on my face haha.

So I had to admit that I only spoke some Hebrew. After that, the professor would also translate some things into English. And EVERY single time he spoke English, all 30 people in the class would turn around and look at me.

Awkward American, party of one.

I found out later that the class was actually supposed to be in English, but then it turned out that everyone taking it was Israeli so they changed it. 

As the class went on, I actually started to understand most of it. I can understand a fair amount of Hebrew, so when I stopped freaking out and some things were in English it was all fine. I already tried the homework and I can do it easily. So crisis averted.

I don't know why this situation was so scary, but it was. However, I'm happy I didn't run away and try to sneak out of the class because I'm still excited that I get to learn Yiddish. I know that probably doesn't sound fun to most people, but I am clearly not most people. :)

p.s. In case you're wondering, Yiddish looks like this. It uses the Hebrew alphabet. I chose this picture because that big word is one of the handful that I've already learned. It means today!

1 comment:

  1. So glad you stayed! I'm excited for you to teach me some fun new Yiddish words and phrases : )