Bring a change of clothes to class

There are twelve students in Romansch level five and our teacher is Annatina Nay (her surname is pronounced “nigh”). My first class was yesterday and after an absence of two years I felt as though I were in a sweatbath. Monday was not an easy day and I dreaded the idea of feeling this way for the next two weeks. So I vowed to do something about it, and studied and did my homework, even future exercises, for the rest of the day. It felt like high school again, having five hours’ worth of homework. Unlike all three past years when I was in the course, this time I did not go to the common areas to study with my fellow students. I stayed holed up in my room and sat on the bed with all my books and dictionaries sprawled out in front of me. It paid off. I felt I actually knew something when I went to class today. I had the vocabulary from yesterday’s lesson down pat and since I had done all of today’s exercises yesterday night, I wasn’t surprised by anything I didn’t already know. I even had questions prepared so I got answers to matters I could not figure out on my own. I felt that I was back in the swing of things, yet our final exercise today really threw me.

We were given a Romansch recipe and then had a few moments to prepare a short speech on how to make whatever dish it was. I found it very hard to improvise and I did not want to simply read off the recipe page. Besides, a recipe gives just basic instructions and that was the whole point of the oral exercise: to take the short point-form instructions and make full sentences out of them. I started sweating buckets again and felt the same way as I had felt yesterday. I know I am getting back into Romansch and I can understand what I read –I read today’s paper, La Quotidiana, without difficulty, while sitting by the Laax lake– yet throw me in front of a small group and tell me to start talking and I will forget everything I ever learned.

So today, again, I lived as a hermit, doing my homework and rereading the recipe. I will be able to make everyone “capuns” when I get home because I can recite it and its ingredients now off by heart. I managed to find an English recipe for capuns here:

I have received some requests to attach photos from my trip. People want to know what Lucerne looks like, and why I said it was the most beautiful Swiss city I had ever visited. Let me tell you why there weren’t any photos: I don’t have a digital camera. I still use film. Therefore not even I will be able to see the photos I took until I get back home. I will likely buy a digital camera before my next trip because the film I use is not manufactured anymore.

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