My week has been crawling along at a snail's pace, but that's probably because I am looking forward to the weekend. I have my third and last orientation weekend, this time in Greifswald, a university town near the Polish border. All of the exchange students from my district are going to be there, even the 'newbies'!

Newbies: Those who have been in their host country for less than six months.

Oldies: Those who have been in their host country for more than six months.

The newbies become oldies once the last oldies have left. For example, I was a newbie until the last Australian departed from Tegel Airport.

Concerning my German progress, I'm a bit disappointed. I feel a little dejected with where I am right now, as I had higher expectations for myself. I had wanted to be completely fluent by now. However, I make more and more sense by the day, and my accent isn't as thick as it used to be! Last week, though, my accent embarrassed me. I was in German class and tried to answer a question. I used the word 'Schriftsteller' (author) in my answer, but the teacher looked at me funny. She asked me, 'Wie bitte?' (excuse me/sorry/huh?- lit: how please?). The students all laughed, though not in a mean spirited way, and I had to repeat the word about five times. Thankfully my table partner helped me out and told the teacher what I was trying to say. We as Americans have a terrible accent when we speak German, compared to the British. It's because we use such a hard 'R' sound, I think. Anyway with the 'sch' sounds next to the 'r' sounds, it was too much for me!

I got over the embarrassment fast, as the next period was English class and everyone says 'zhe' instead of 'the'. Quite honestly, it made be feel a little bit better about my accent.