Now I Know….

…that my Nederlands taal (Dutch) is poorer than a 2 year old! Gyaboo~!

This is what happened:

As usual, I picked my daughter up from her daycare (or creche, we say here) around 5 PM and there was a bunch of young children ages 2-4 years old. They are all in this development stage where all they want to do is play around and importantly, speaking. I think 2-4 year old is the time where linguistic skill develop rapidly, all of a sudden the babies just want to talk, talk, and talk.

In another different but related story, I have been following a Dutch language course (paid full by the office, naturally) for 40 hours so far. I now can catch some words, and if I’m lucky, one complete sentence in Dutch or Nederlands. My level is still basic, the level where I can catch a few words here and there and then quickly processed that information in brain so I can come up with a conclusion of what has been said. I can say that I could understand Nederlands but I still stumble on how to answer or to speak in it.

Back to the creche, I was picking up my daughter when suddenly I was swarmed by toddlers. They all curious and lighten up whenever they see an adult approaching. However, I didn’t realize that they’re all at the amazing development stage of life, so I get in, say “Dag!” or “Halo!” to the carers (I don’t know the correct word in english, but here they are called ‘Leidster’). The Leidsters all said “Dag!” back at me, and then with the same confidence… I greet the toddlers.

“Dag, baby!” I said (although they don’t like to be called “baby” since, you know, they’re 2 now! No longer a baby! –in their mind) and I continued, “hoe gaat het met jouw?” (how are you doing?) and they suddenly answering, “goed!” and just when I’m about to walk further down the hall, to the baby room, I heard a little girl voice asked me: “ga je de baby ophalen?” jreng jreng jreeeeng…!! Oh God! That was my lesson two weeks ago! How to make future tense using the word ‘Gaat’ + infinitief, bla bla bla…

Well, basically what the girl asking was, “are you going to pick up your baby?”, luckily my brain works amazingly fast that time, so I can come up with the answer: “Ja!” and I walked (read: almost running) into the baby room and pick up my Nina. After I put her on the stroller, I forgot her dirty clothes and pacifier, so I, again, walk/run quickly into the room. But then when I got out, the toddlers are there again! One of them sees me without the baby, “waar is de baby?”, I was like “de baby is in de wagentje!” and just there one of the Leidsters saw what I’m doing and she gave me a big smile, could be a smile that she’s happy I’m now using Nederlands or a smile that tells me to just play along with the toddlers or in another word: don’t run away now, haha!

Just like that and the toddlers are swarming me and my baby, whose sit nicely in the stroller. “Hoe heet jij?” (who are you?), “ben jij Mama?” (are you a Mama?) and suddenly I was in this playful mood, so I just asked them back! “Ik heet Kania, ik ben Mama, hier is mijn baby”, and of course the “hoe heet jij?”, they answered their names and now, it’s their turn to ask. All of a sudden they all asking me questions, in perfectly ordered sentence, but in NEDERLANDS! Oh no, no, no! My mood drop from playful to ultimate survival. How to get away from toddlers surrounding me without making them feeling disappointed or ignored. So, I pretended to get busy with the stroller. While some of them already tired of waiting, some still waiting for me. Luckily only 2 girls waiting. Just when I’m about to walk near the entrance door, they suddenly talking to me, “mijn mama kom zo… ” I don’t get what she was telling, but I’m trying to be polite so I asked her “waar is je mama en papa?” and then she answered “Papa is in vliegtuig, mama is thuis….” while she was talking, the other one started talking to me as well. And try as I might, I only get very little of what they’re talking about. Partly because I’m still novice, they also novice, I’m scared, but mostly that I could not reply to them properly! I was so sad…

So sad to learn that my speaking dutch is in the level of 2 year olds. Even a 3 year old would already surpassed me, like way better than me. The thing is, I know what they’re talking about and I know little girls like to talk a lot. But I just cannot supply them with a proper response. And to think that I will raise my daughter here and soon enough she’ll be picking up words and learn to talk, I just need to be ‘there’ for her. I know that there’s this mother in the creche who talks in english with her daughter while her daughter is answering/talking to her in dutch. And they seem fine and get along so well…

But still, my dutch level… I need so many work to do! I will try to talk in dutch with work colleagues and all the people around me. And adding more hours for the course, hopefully the HR manager would approve of that.

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