It has been more than 5 and a half weeks since I took my Dutch Exam. The one very important exams for which if I passed, I do not need to ever take any more exams when we get our asses to live in the almighty Netherlands long-term, with my own family. Legally.
The one exam which my Dutch teacher keeps asking about every other day if I have gotten the results. The one very exam for which I was so sure I was going to fail real bad that whenever my Dutch teacher asked me if they have reverted with the results, I would tell him that perhaps I had flunked out so bad that they don’t even want to bother telling me about it.
It was that one damning exam which had caused me a lot of unnecessary stress. And after that 3-hour session at the Embassy, I have never in my life felt so sure that I had screwed it all up pretty bad. A pass would be a miracle.
Now the wait is over.
A bloody damn miracle was what this is!
And it got me thinking: Either they have got it all wrong or I may have just scraped through by the skin of my teeth! Because goddammit! That really was a very tough exam.
If you were to ask me if I remember the questions, I’m telling you I don’t. Some questions and depictions of scenarios were downright ridiculous yet they are all vague to me now; only random words and pictures floated in my head yet none I could grasp well to remember clearly. But! I remember how I fumbled and how I thought my head would burst especially at the harder questions.
It feels surreal to know that I had passed. Apparently I’m getting a Diploma for that (although I just don’t know when I’ll be getting it) .Wooohooo!
I’m curious about my scores though and, I wonder if they would release the individual score of each of the exam I have taken in my diploma:
Knowledge of the Dutch Society (Kennis van de Nederlandse Samenleving – KNS)
Speaking (Spreekvaardigheid -SP) – and mind you, this is not just basic sentences like “I live in Bangkok”. But rather grammatically correct sentences, structure and usage of words in a few sentences. This was my nightmare!
Electronic Practical Exam for Work (Elektronisch Praktijkexamen -EPE: Werk or OGO)
Then again, whatever the scores are, I have already fuckin’ pass the damn exam.
Bloody well, then.
Can I now speak Dutch? Hell no! But I’ guess I’ll get there in time. At least, I could read and understand some of it. Reading the kids’ Dutch books helps too and having this Diploma will ascertain that I can now be fully and legally integrated into the Dutch society. (I’m saying that with lots of sarcasm).
Bloody well, then.
This journey started in late May 2014, and over a dark period of my life if I may add. It has not been an easy ride for me both mentally, emotionally. It was draining. I can’t believe that was almost 2 years ago now.
2 years of spending my Saturdays with a 3-hour lesson week on week; although not entirely continuous as there were long stretches of weeks or months when we weren’t having any class at all as I was either travelling or busy with work. So technically, the entire learning of basic reading, writing and conversational Dutch took about 15 months; give or take 3 months.
But that was not the main reason it took me so long to get here. The one and the only reason this took THAT long was because Silver Bullet had to spend close to a year being bounced from place to place to just get a date for me to take both the Inburgering and Naturalisation Exam. No, I’m not kidding.
The process was atrocious. He could not get any straight answers from anyone at any point in time and he spent countless of hours on the phone (international calls, too!) and emails only to be sent back in circles with no firm directions. The ding-donging took forever. And that would have to be a separate post altogether.
I pretty much left it to Silver Bullet to sort it all out and I have been pretty blaisé about the whole thing. I used the waiting time to my advantage. My job was to learn Dutch; enough Dutch for me to pass the exam so that my kids would not end up without a mother just because she is a foreigner.
Then somehow, he had a breakthrough only late last year. That was when the real process started and I still had to wait for a long time before they were able to give me a date for the exam to be taken. Pain in the arse.The waiting is nothing but a waste of bandwidth.
But life is funny that way.
In these 2 years, my Dutch Teacher has become a rather close family friend and we have worked together on the professional front. The kids enjoy his company (Spud wanted to marry him but changed her mind when she realised that he would die before her when we told her that he’s too old for her) and our couch has since become his best friend. He can be counted on to finish all the food that I cooked and I love that. He’s like a little brother to me.
But above all, he has been a very good teacher. He’s got all the smarts and has been incredibly patient with me. His knowledge of the Dutch language is beyond excellent and none of my questions have so far gone unanswered. And I asked a lot, a lot of questions; only because the Dutch language has time and again confused the fuck out of me.
If anything, I owe all this new acquired knowledge of the Dutch language to him. I’ll be happy to connect him to those who are interested in learning Dutch. He does Skype sessions for long-distance learning and I cannot vouch enough for him that he is one hell of an incredible teacher. Pop me a message if you know of anyone who needs a Dutch teacher.
Come to think of it, Silver Bullet finding him in Bangkok was like a needle in a haystack. He had been shooting in the dark and it was kind of random that he found him. This quote comes to mind:
Indeed, our paths seemed to have crossed for a reason. It has been one hell of a ride. And now the wait is finally over.