Learning is the process of a lifetime. No matter in what stage of life you are in, there is always something new to learn if you are willing to listen. I have never seen this kind of attitude more clearly in the eyes of the people than here in Germany. I tell you why.
I am currently taking a German curse, here in Berlin and right next to me class there is a class of retirees who are currently learning English.
There is a Buddhist proverb that says; “when the student is ready the teacher will appear.” But sometimes in life we have to look for these opportunities actively, we have to move towards them. This is what I see this Elderly population with their beautiful white and golden hair of Germans do with their time. They use it to be better human beings, learning.
It is so nice to see them in the morning arriving, nicely dress, with a smile on their faces ready to continue pursuing their dream. I have never seen more friendly and happy Germans than this older generation greeting foreigners with their new acquiere English skills. Sometimes I see them and I think, I hope when I become older I can be like them.
According to Beran Wolfe, an Australian Psychiatrist happiness is found in people who are pursuing their goals; such as building a boat, writing a symphony, educating children, growing flowers etc. This is what I seen in their faces, and this I wish sometimes is what I want others to see in me.
This year God has granted me the opportunity to pursue a new goal, it was never my childhood dream, but I feel I can’t waste such a golden opportunity, now I am learning another language in the middle of my life. We moved to Germany nine months ago due to my husbands work and in order to learn the language of Luther and Goethe I have register in the Volkshochshule in Berlin. A curse that is directly prepared for parents. Most of my classmates are Arabic, but I also have classmates from other parts of the world, like South America, Africa or Asia. (see previous post)
We have two teachers, and they could not be more opposite in their personalities and ways of speaking to us. One comes Monday and Tuesday, (which I will name teacher A) and the other comes Wednesday and Thursday (which I will name teacher B).
Our teachers are of course German and I have to acknowledge that they both do a good job, teacher A is a perfectionist when it comes to pronunciation and makes us repeat words very often with the intention to make us speak better. Teacher B is an expert on Grammatik and multicultural studies and seems to be able to understand us beyond borders.
Nevertheless I have to say that teacher A sometimes is very direct which is a typical German attitude, which for us foreigners is really strange. Besides that, she seems to stress easily, and is perceive as if she was always angry at something. Most of us believe she has not enough patience. She gets so frustrated when we speak wrongly and sometimes makes rude remarks that have made some of my classmates cry. This made me so upset that it made me go and talk to her about her attitude towards our classmates and how this could damage the learning process and her health. I don’t really know if she understood everything I said in my very poor German language but at least I tried.
Teacher B instead is the most sweet German I have met so far, she is gentle, patient, kind and most of the time is smiling and speak with a melodious voice that makes you want to learn German really fast, just to make her happy. We simply love her. People like her are what make me love this country and the adaptation process much easier.
From the stories of my classmates, what I have learned in the last months is that most of my classmates don’t have direct contact with Germans, other than the public offices, and to be honest for them and me our teachers represent Germany.
Truth be told, most of us will encounter this kind of people in our path no matter in what part of the world we live, people who seem to be happy to be alive, who are kind, loving, and understanding, and also people who are more tough, who lose patience easily and may be perceive as not very kind.
The reality today is that both of my teachers have been a gift to me, they have taught me different things, not only about Germany or the German language, but also about life and the way we can interact with each other and the way I want to be perceive by others.
The truth is that attitude is a choice; therefore every person we encounter is a gift, because they are mirrors that allows us to see both; the good and the bad that exist in each of us. The secret of happiness is to look always for the good in others and ultimately in life.
Perhaps for today we can choose the path to happiness.