Last month, I decided to keep a record of my “wow moments” (Link). These are the milestones that prove I have become better at my new languages. My plan was to write about one “wow moment” per month. But since this month is December, I want to look back over the past twelve months.
There are many differences between my German in 2016 and my German in 2017, but one stands out from the rest.
“Wow Moment” of the Year: Sturm der Liebe
In March 2017, I was watching a lot of German TV. That is, I was taking Khatzumoto’s advice to have German audio in the background whether I watched it or not (Link). This is how I discovered the telenovela Sturm der Liebe (Storm of Love).
Although I could barely understand the dialogue, I understood enough of the story to dislike it. There was a married man who was in love with another woman. And his wife seemed so unlikeable that it was obvious they would be separating. I’m not a fan of the casual “partner swapping” in soap operas and other modern dramas, so Sturm der Liebe didn’t make a good first impression. I kept watching only because it was Germany’s most successful TV series. (Source) Remember that my two criteria for choosing “real” German resources are: Things I would like and things that all Germans would know. Although I didn’t like Sturm der Liebe, it was clearly a big part of German pop culture.
I also started reading about previous seasons and watching them on YouTube. My vocabulary grew with words like: Staffel (season), Folge (episode), Traummann (dream man), Traumfrau (dream woman), and Traumpaar (dream couple). My tolerance grew, too. When I learned that the Traummann of Staffel 6 originally dated the mother of the Traumfrau, I was scandalized. And I was certain that the cast and crew had been unable to make that plot “work.” I watched as many Staffel 6 clips as I could find, just to prove my theory. But when I was done, Konstantin and Marlene were my favorite Traumpaar.
Thanks to Sturm der Liebe, every month of 2017 has had a “Wow Moment” — but the best is from this one. A few weeks ago, I decided to watch a Sturm video that I had first seen last April or May. Back then, I understood very little. Maybe I picked out a familiar word or a clear phrase. If I got a whole sentence, it was because it was short. Watching it a second time, I followed the dialogue very well — and even laughed at the jokes! I am a better German learner today because I gave a German telenovela a chance in 2017.