29 January 2014

When the Small Details of Language are Lost on You

In the Netherlands, it's common that once a month a basisschool (elementary school) will have a studiedag - essentially a teachers' in-service day that the kids have off. Since Little Man started school in November and December is a blur of holidays (Sinterklaas, Christmas, and New Years), we have only experienced one studiemiddag as a half-day in November just a week and a half after the transition to "big school."

A few weeks ago, I saw on the school's calendar that today is listed as a studiedag and dutifully marked it on my calendar (with a time alert) to fetch the Little Man at school at the half-day release time. As the morning started, we got up and got ready with our normal routine and got out the door with good time. We walked to school instead of our usual bike ride and had a pleasant stroll into a school yard completely devoid of the usual clusters of children's bicycles. If it had been an episode of a sitcom, a tumbleweed would have rolled by. As I stood there a little surprised, one of Little Man's teachers was walking into the school and I was able to have her confirm that it was, in fact, a whole-day studiedag. The early releases are marked on the school calendar as studiemiddag (study afternoon), she told me.

So, without anything else to do, we turned around and walked home. Little Man chattered happily at how silly the whole situation was, and while I was initially pretty embarrassed I'm starting to see the humor in it. Fortunately, I didn't have anything scheduled this morning, so we came home and started playing with dinosaurs with some hot chocolate and tea, as you do.

Studying dinosaurs on an unexpected studiedag


I have learned two important bits of information today: the school has half-day AND whole-day studiedagen that are designated as studiemiddag and studiedag on the school calendar; and I need to make sure I'm reading school notices a little more carefully. I suppose this is just one more learning curve in the expat experience.

Have you ever experienced a language-related mishap? This one worked out well enough, and it's a good reminder to read a little more carefully!

10 comments:

  1. I have done many things like this but funnily enough those two words are similar to Swedish ones and I surprised myself with understanding the difference right away! Also last night we ended up watching the Manchester United game via an online stream with Dutch commentary and Fredrik and I were competing to see who could figure out more words, he own though!

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  2. Haha that's like every time the Bavarians have a holiday and I forget to make a note...then go out for milk and the whole village is a ghost town!

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  3. Oh, that's a good feeling when that happens!
    I think it's easier to figure out the words on paper than listening - some of the vowel sounds are unlike anything in English!

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  4. LOL - those surprise holidays! I'm glad we live in a big enough city that all the stores have ads for any kind of holiday.

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  5. You KNOW I appreciate this so well! In fact, just this morning I had to put out an APB on Facebook asking for help with the instructions for the field trip to the library. I took a picture of the flyer and a kind soul told me what I had to do. Oh yes, my friend. We're in deep :)


    Ps- I am SO looking forward to you being at the birthday party. There will be 2 other adults there to 'help' but it's going to be a riot.

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  6. Haha - it's "living life on the edge" ...and by edge, I mean the edge of my insanity some days =)

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  7. Oh the joys of language barriers! At least it all worked out ok. Thanks for linking this up!

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  8. Ha, thanks! It's just one adventure after another with these sorts of things. =p

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  9. Giggling over here... I know I should not... sorry. You need a highlighter for all of those studiemiddag on the calendar now :)

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  10. Oh, the giggling is deserved. I'm sure the teacher had a good laugh when she went inside...

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