Okay. I have sorted this out. The reason that I couldn't understand anything yesterday is that in my class of 18 people, there are 16 different countries represented. Each with their unique way of pronouncing German. I had not had time to acclimate myself to the individual accents. Now I am starting to figure it out. The woman from Columbia runs every word together without pause. The girl from Spain can't make the "sch" sound. I can't make the "cht" sound. And so on, and so on, and so on. It's a comedy of vocal errors.
I sit next to a girl from China who is a super-smart, classic over-achiever. She's completed the vocabulary worksheets for the entire class the first night. That's approximately 500 words, folks. I did only the requisite 25. She understands grammar. She studies grammer - oops there I go again - grammar. But god love her, I can't understand a thing she says. She has a hard time with "r's" and adds a vowel at the end of every word. This is not good as we are always together for partner exercises. It goes something like this...
China- DasE istE einE HotES Fahhat.
Me - Wie bitte?
China - DASE istE einE HOTES FahhAT.
Me - Noch einmal, bitte?
China (with frustrated hand-waving) - DASE ISTE EINE HOTES FAHHHHAT. FAHHHHAT!
We move on to pictures and pointing.
Alexia - Ohhhh! Das ist ein rotes Fahrrad (that is a red bike)??
China - Ja! Ja! Das habe ich gesagt (that's what I said).
And it goes on like that for most of the class. The girl from France can barely understand the guy from Iraq. The girl from India plays the same call and repeat game with the woman from Russia and the teacher tries to remain patient as she corrects us all. We are a speech pathologist's nightmare.
Okay, I have to go finish my homework. Yeah, that's what I said. Homework. People over 40 should never have to utter the word homework unless it is to one of their children followed by useless threats. Homework does not get easier with age. Homework STILL sucks.