I was drawn to German as a young child. I watched a German detective series on television. Ein Fall für zwei.

We had German in highschool, but highschool being highschool we didn’t learn that much. There was only year the teacher really tried to teach us German. With rather poor results. We simply didn’t have enough hours of German per week. And the teaching methods were not exactly inspired. We also had a teacher one year who told us many interesting things, but he spoke Dutch the entire time. A pity. When you are a native speaker of Dutch you can understand German. He could have told us all those interesting things just the same in German.

It’s always easy to criticize teachers. The truth is also that back then we had our minds clouded by other things.

The first time I had a real conversation with a native speaker of German in German was in Slovenia in 2005. It was with a girl. 5 years older than me. To my surprise I could say something and be understood. I understood what she said. I didn’t do much with German after this short holiday romance, but it was encouraging.

Studying German was not part of my curriculum at university, so I didn’t do much with it then either.

Am not sure when exactly I started taking German seriously.

For a long time I just watched every German movie I could find. Often multiple times. Then I watched every German documentary I could find. I read a few German books. Not many, but I read them thoroughly.

Then I finally took it seriously and started teaching German.

You learn a lot while you are learning.

I got a private teacher. I took her to lunches in nice restaurants every week.

When she moved back to Germany I started doing online quizzes in German almost every day. I watched even more movies and even more documentaries.

Now I listen to interviews in German no matter where I go. They take one to two hours. I have them on my phone and I listen to them everywhere I go. That way on most days I hear about four hours of German a day. Sometimes more.

Is my German perfect now?

Far from it.

I understand pretty much anything. I can listen to those interviews without any problems. There is almost never a word I don’t understand.

Producing the language remains the hardest.

I don’t often get to speak German with native speakers.

Something I wish to change in the near future.

You could say am obsessed with the language now.

Am listening to a German movie I have seen ten times as I write this.

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