I registered for my German class yesterday. The man I spoke with at the Goethe Institute looked a little like Santa Claus and was from Düsseldorf. I asked to be put in the beginner's class, but then he asked if I had any prior knowledge of the language and I had to admit that well, maybe I do, but no "formal" training. After talking a little bit in German he was convinced I should be placed in the advanced class, but then when I attempted to take the written fill-in-the-blank test I could only answer the first two questions, so I was placed in the beginner's class after all. Thank God. I'd really like to start from the ground up so I can refresh what I already know as well as move forward with it. Better that than being thrown in at a level I'm not comfortable at and then getting discouraged.
This weekend is Art Chicago; I have free passes printed out and ready to go! This is the big contemporary art fair that takes place here in Chicago every year, and I try to never miss it. I was a little worried that my trip abroad might prevent me from going this year, but I lucked out.
I was able to see my grandmother last weekend, thank Goodness. My mother finally relaxed her iron curtain over Milwaukee and let us all come to visit. Saturday was my grandmother's 94th birthday, so my whole family got together to celebrate it with her at the facility where she is being taken care of. I guess it's a nursing home, but I hate to think of my grandmother as being in a nursing home. My mother and I went to go see her in her room first to bring her to the big room where everyone was gathered. She was so unhappy and tears ran down her cheeks. "I hate being here, I hate this place. I wish we could all be at my apartment. This is the worst birthday ever." And really, I could see her point completely. She's seen all of her friends go to the assisted care facility and not come back, and now she's there. But she's too weak to even get out of bed without assistance, so she really does need to be there. She was very unhappy for the first hour or so that we all were together, but then about halfway through dinner she seemed to forget about her awful surroundings and just be happy to have us all together. It was good to see her, good to see that her personality is still strong, even if her body is not. When it came time to go it was really hard to leave her there, with the somewhat deflated balloons on her wheelchair, all alone again. I hugged her and gave her a kiss.