#dutch, Dutch, General Life Tips, Other, Story Time

I Got A Present From My Mommy Dearest | NT2 Update

My Thursday morning started with going online and fighting the internet because for some reason it couldn’t open the website or it will shut down once I click on the ‘see results’ tab. I should explain a little. So remember five weeks ago I wrote my NT2 or Dutch as a second language test. It was finally time to see the results and boy could I hardly breathe while waiting for the internet to finally get its shit together. So I clicked enter after putting in my details, closed my eyes and blocked the screen with a piece of paper. After a few minutes I grew a pair and finally checked. Boy did I get a sucker punch. Please give me a few minutes while I rant. Just skip it but also feel free to read because it’s probably entertaining.

What the actual fuck man. I mean I failed the one test (writing) with 8 points. 8 points. Throw a bitch a bone man. I mean 8 points. Now I have to redo the test just to make an extra 8 points. Like come on! 8 points. 492. That’s a lot of points. The worst part is I have no idea where I went wrong. It wasn’t a test I was that worried about afterwards. The only part that made me second guess the success of the test was the two long questions at the end. They asked for 180 words and I gave them 350 easy. It could go two ways. First they only mark the first 180 words and then leave out the rest or mark everything as is. I suspect they only marked the first 180 words. That’s the only way I could lose so many points and fail. I really can’t think of how else I lost those 8 points. It was just really disappointing if I’m upfront with you. I worked really hard and studied my ass off and now I have to redo it again. What a sucker punch.

I failed the speaking test too. It wasn’t a super close call like the writing test but 37 points from passing is still pretty frustrating if you catch my drift. The speaking test is the one that made me panic and I honestly thought I would be lucky if I get half of the stuff correct but then again it still feels pretty disappointed that I failed. I don’t want to fail. I also really don’t want to retake this test. It was fucking horrible. I hated that test so much and now I have to do it again. It just really was a blow and I know it’s not that big and all but it does change my future plans a little bit. I think the worst part outside retaking the test is just how frustrating it. I just really wanted that part of my life behind me but now I have to wait weeks before I can retake the test and then wait weeks for my results. The positive thing is I know exactly what to expect and can properly prepare myself.

The one thing that really worried me was how this could affect my studies. I’ve been trying to start my studies a few years now. I’ve been ready but there is always something that needs to be done that takes months. My studies start in March and hopefully I can still start even though I won’t have all four certificates by the time I start. Oh that’s a messy sentence. All in all. It would have been wonderful if I passed all four tests but there is nothing I can do about it now. I just need to stand up, dust myself off and make sure I don’t make the same mistakes again. I shouldn’t be too hard on myself either. The test isn’t known to be easy and at that point I was probably actively studying Dutch for four  months. I mean this test is for people who are fluent in the language. I was close, 80% fluent so it really just adds to the frustration. But anyway there is nothing I can do about it and after sulking for a few hours I’ve moved on. I will probably make the appointment for the next test this weekend. It takes six weeks so I have time to prepare.

Now let’s move on to the good stuff. So I mentioned my sulking and pity part already but the results couldn’t have came on a better day because today I was expecting a package from my mommy dearest. I went out in the cold and picked up my package, basically sprinted home, died a little carrying the package up four flight of stairs before switching on Facebook Live and digging in. Boy I was like a little kid on a Christmas morning. My mom went all out with this package. All my favorites treats. Three packets of my favorite soft candy in the world. Two bar of chocolates that’s literally heaven. Six packets of rice chips in a flavor that is home and so much more. Speculoos even got some toys and the husband is just as obsessed with his present. It was truly just what I needed to end my day and got me out of my pity party and into a yay I can’t wait to stuff my face party.

I will be honest. Its hard sometimes to be so far away from family and the country that was your home and all you knew for nearly two decades and it will probably always be hard but festive season just takes it up a notch. I get homesick and I wish I can have my family by my side as I celebrate this season but I signed up for this when I made the big move. I will find a way to deal with the homesickness I’m sure but for now I’m just going to feel what I feel and enjoy my time here with my two favorite boys. (Okay I have three but my dad doesn’t even count. I mean he is my dad. He is included.)

Here is the picture of my big present. Quite impressive isn’t it? I’m so happy right now. I already made quite a big dent in it as I’m writing this and you bet your sweet little booty by the time this blog goes online there will be another big dent in it. I can’t wait. I’m going to stuff my face.

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#dutch, Dutch, General Life Tips

Dutch As Your Second Language | NT2

This post is for everyone who wants to take the test to officially make Dutch your second language. As some of you might know, if you want to live and make a life inside of the Netherlands eventually you will have to get that certificate. I need it for my future studies and job.

I wrote all four tests on the 1St of November and the 2nd of November 2017 and there is a few things I wished I knew before I went in.

Writing

The thing I found the most difficult with this test was the subjects. There is two parts, each part has six questions. You will get different emails or short letters you will have to finish. They will give you guidelines as in write about this and that. You don’t get a spell check but you do get access to a dictionary (your own). I just found it difficult to fill in the blanks as the subjects are so random. They definitely test to see how quick you’re on your feet. It’s not that horrible, just keep an open mind. They do say it can be fantasy so it’s not the end of the world. I’m just a writer so I want everything to be a certain way and flow so that’s why I found the test difficult and frustrating. They also give you a word limit. That is hell to me. How can I possibly limit myself to 150 words? I can write 200 words in five minutes.

Speaking

The entire test was pure panic. I freeze up when someone puts me on the spot and that’s basically what the test did. They give you a few seconds to think about the question and then BEEP Speak as quickly as you can to say everything you have to say and don’t forget proper Dutch and pronunciation! Oh and don’t forget that grammar! BEEP Oh I really hope you said everything you had to? Oh you didn’t? Well that’s too bad. It was just pure panic for me. I would freeze up and to be honest I’m not sure what language I was speaking in the end but I somehow got through it. It was hell. I will be honest. What was so funny was before the test I was most worried about being able to speak with 30 other students in the classroom. How funny. I guess a way to prepare for this test is to test yourself in a similar setting. Get random questions or subjects where you have to give your own opinion on it. Then time yourself with reading the question, processing the question and thinking of your response and finally time your response. Record your response so you can hear it back and see where you went wrong.

Reading

This test was the easiest one for me. You basically get different articles with a few questions on them. You then have to choose between A, B, C, D. There is no tricks to it. You have all the test time to complete it so there is no pressure or rush.

Listening

Oh, the boredom. Honestly this one made me want to bang my head against the table. Basically you listen to a few people speaking while being interviewed. The interviewer ask questions and then you have to hear the answer that fits with your A, B, C, D choice. They give you more than enough time between every questions. Unfortunately if you know your answer in the first five seconds after listening to the interview you have to wait a minute if not more before you can move on to the next question. This drove me up against a wall. Honestly a sea turtle could be born, live 100 years and then die and you would still be waiting for the next question.

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If you study hard enough and your Dutch is at a high level than all of these tests would be a breeze in the park.

Good luck and ‘Succes’!

 

#dutch, Dutch, General Life Tips

How To Learn A New Language

There is four parts to the process of becoming relatively fluent in a language. There is writing, speaking, reading and listening. As some of you might know for the last few months I’ve been actively studying the Dutch language. I would rate myself an 8 out of ten in all of those 4 parts meaning I know my stuff when it comes to learning a language. Before I share this knowledge with you I do want to state very clearly that learning a new language isn’t easy and will take some time. It will also come with quite a few frustrations but give it time. You will get there.

The perfect place to start is listening. Listen to the radio and watch movies where the language is the only language. I would recommend kid movies with English subtitles to start off with. The more you hear the language the better. Some words will start to stick in your brain and the language will stop sounding so strange and different as you familiarize yourself with it on a daily basis.

Speaking is the next up on line. Now that you’ve heard the language and have familiarized yourself with the basics you can start speaking it. The best possible thing would be for you to speak out loud with people of that native language so they can correct and help you with your pronunciation but otherwise just follow along with movies. The more you speak in this language and the more you practice your pronunciation the better it would be. Don’t worry about grammar and all that jazz. You will pick that up with time and the reading and writing part will help a lot.

Reading pretty much can go in hand with speaking and writing. I read kid novels out loud with someone of the native language where I concentrated on pronouncing the words correctly and also learning new words as I go. Thus not only did I widen my knowledge inside the language I also practiced the speaking part. It’s a win, win.

Writing is the last part. I started off by rewriting a kids novel. This taught me to recognize the grammar more and get used to writing the language. Also by writing the words down, reading those words before you write it just hammers down the language even more. Once I felt my level was high enough where I could write on my own I found 101 conversation starters online and would answer these questions in Dutch. You can do this by answering this question out loud as if talking to someone or writing it down as being interviewed. This was a brilliant practice that really took my Dutch to another level.

All in all you really just need to give yourself time to learn the language. You won’t be fluent and perfect overnight. Just take on day at a time and keep trying. Best of luck!

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PS I want to be fluent in five languages and I’m currently on number three. The most difficult language I want to learn is Japanese. I think the next language is a tossup between French, Spanish or Italian. I can’t choose yet. I’m definitely going to give myself more time before I jump in with another language. Learning a new language can be quite exhausting. Best of luck!!

PSS. For all of my fellow friends that want to ace the Dutch as a second language test; I wrote a blog just for you! Here is the link: https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/11/10/dutch-as-your-second-language-nt2/

#dutch, Dutch, Story Time

I Spoke Dutch For A Week | Third Language

I decided to attempt a full week in my third language as that last little boost before my language test. It was quite an interesting learning experience and definitely helped to improve my skills in the language. Here is how it went.

Monday, Day 1

When I woke up I completely forget about my Dutch language promise and did the usual good morning’s with my husband. He didn’t have time to reply before my ah ha moment came and I repeated what I said in Dutch.

Goede morgen schatje. Heb je goed geslapen? | Good morning baby. Did you sleep well?

As Onno works all day I had the entire day to myself and it’s not like I talk to myself, well I do but inside my head most of the time so my Dutch really came out to play when Onno came home. I also received some disappointing news on Monday and I forced myself to tell everything that happened in Dutch instead of just throwing in the towel and switching over to English. The rest of the evening went well.

Tuesday, Day 2

It went smoothly. I remembered to speak Dutch from the get go and did just that. I made a few slip ups but you could follow me and understand what I’m trying to say. It was getting there.

Wednesday, Day 3

I started getting the hang of it, but at the same time it started getting harder to keep my concentration. I can’t really say if it’s because of all the Dutch and the level of concentration I need to speak proper Dutch, or if it was my family worries. Basically I would start speaking Dutch without any thought about it but it didn’t always end up well because my full concentration wasn’t on it.

Thursday, Day 4

Around this time I was getting a little sick and tired of it if I’m honest. It was annoying to have to concentrate and rethink every single word before you say it. Although I really can’t tell if my family worries played any factor in this. I still spoke Dutch although I was tempted to throw in the towel. Yeah. It was okay. It was difficult to keep going and try to actually speak proper Dutch and not just throw some words together.

Ate apple – Dutch when I don’t concentrate

I ate an apple – Proper Dutch when I concentrate

So you can see why I need to concentrate when I speak Dutch.

Friday, Day 5

It was a really suck-ey day and I barely spoke but the little I did speak was in Dutch so yay?

Saturday, Day 6

My normal Dutch without much concentration was improving and although my emotional state was still on the low side I was getting there. I kept to my promise by only speaking Dutch so I did have my pride to push me through my last few days.

Sunday, Day 7

I was emotional, frustrated and just over it. I was tired of having to struggle through my sentences and conversations but I pushed through. I didn’t speak a hell of a lot but I still staid Dutch.

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This entire week would’ve gone a hell of a lot better if my mental state was better that is clear but at the same time I still stayed true to my promise and spoke Dutch 95% of the time. 5% was when I slipped up with Onno (I would repeat myself in Dutch when I noticed) and when I spoke to family members. To explain a little, my father heard he had to go under the knife and since I’m so far away…well it’s really nerve wracking. It feels horrible to be so hopeless. I tried to stay positive but it was difficult because I knew my father needed me, I could hear it in his voice but I couldn’t physically go to him and help him. It hurts and it will never stop hurting. You always want to support and help your parents. Onno and I did step in and tried to help where we can but yeah there is only so much you can do when you’re on the other side of the world. I’m still proud of my progress I made this week. I started picking up on my most frequent mistakes and now that I know them I can try to nip it in the bud. It still slips out and it grind my gears but I almost always pick it up and fix my mistake.

For all my Dutch readers this one is for you. So my most frequent mistake that basically slips out every two minutes is “reg”. Now in Afrikaans this word can mean many things; right (you’re right) and ready. But in Dutch you won’t ever use the word in that context and that’s when I run into a wall. It’s GOED en KLAAR. I’m repeating this for myself for a little extra reminder. It’s only “reg” when it’s “regs” for turn right or when you’re talking about the law. It’s honestly the finer details that always gets me.

I’m learning slowly but I’m definitely getting there. I won’t rate myself as being fluent in Dutch but if I have to score myself then I would give myself 8,5 out of 10. My biggest hurdle I need to surpass is my confidence when speaking Dutch with complete strangers. If someone puts me on a spot I get nervous and my Dutch comes out all poop-ey and if a stranger does this it just gets ten times worse. I even struggled to speak Dutch to my mother in law the first time. I just get so embarrassed. It’s something I’m sure will pass and I’m sure once I get my results it will give me a big boost of confidence. That and when I start my job I will just have to get used to it. I’m more nervous about getting a job and speaking understandable Dutch the entire day with so many strangers than my big language test. All well. I just have to put my head in the game and get it done.

 

#dutch, Dutch

My First Month (Back) In The Netherlands

I shouldn’t be feeling like this. I mean I’ve been in the Netherlands before. I love my husband more than anything in this world. I knew about the move when it became clear just how serious our relationship is. So why was it so difficult?

There isn’t an answer to that question to be honest. A part of me felt lost, confused and so unsure. I was emotional and overwhelmed. Something that came as a surprise to me. I always knew what I wanted in life but the big move threw things off for me. I suddenly started to doubt a few things. Some things didn’t go according to plan and others completely changed directions. It was something I had to come to terms with. Once I could accept that some things are out of my control and it’s okay not to immediately have my shit together; I relaxed. It was a breath of fresh air. I adjusted to the life here again. I found my feet and before I knew it a month has passed.

I spend my time discovering new and exciting things here in the Netherlands. We started bicycling here and there. We explored the city and then some. We got our precious boy, Speculoos. It was a great month. A great start in my new chapter of life.

I’m going to end this blog with a poem that I sucked out of my thumb. Prepare yourself.

New Beginnings

I’m writing this poem because I need more words for my blog.

I know this isn’t even a poem but that is because I’m not a poet.

I’m just going to make things up as I go and hope for the best.

I’m sorry it’s bad but it could be oh so much worse.

At least I can spell with the help of my computer of course.

 I will post an update about my life here in the Netherlands once I hit the three months mark. I will probably have a lot more to say. It’s on the 2nd of September in case you were wondering.

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