I think I made new friends today.
How, you ask?
Let's begin.

I finally started my Deutschkurs A1 yesterday. There are 7 people in my study group (including me), each from a different country. I have never known anybody from any of these countries before today. To me, they as good as represent their respective countries. No pressure. Nevertheless, they have made a pretty good first (and lasting) impression on me. Humans. We are all the same.

Karibi’en Kruise

150-1505937_male-flight-attendant-clipart-image-male-flight-attendant-cartoonAnouar Karibi is from Morocco. He is in his 30s. He speaks Arabic, English, French and Spanish. His girlfriend is from Spain and works at Lindt. Anouar used to be an airlines crew member/flight attendant/steward. He has also worked in restaurants back in Spain. I am guessing that is where he honed his conversation skills, from his experience in the service industry. He has the ability to hold a conversation using his knowledge and awareness.

Anouar likes to cook, swim, and box (“Ew, contact sport!”). He says he watches a movie every day (with German subtitles). I believe him, because he seems to have watched more SRK movies than I have, and I happen to be a die-hard SRK fan! Wunderbar.

Anouar’s 5 minute rule is that he will arrive exactly 5 minutes after the teacher begins the lesson.

Password to unlock smile: As-Salaam-Alaikum / Marhaban

Dobar Viber

d9ba5caa6157ededbbd3ffb6ccb89c5eDijana Mikić is from Zagreb, Croatia. She is an educator by profession. Her childhood ambition was to be a singer. She is pretty (“Obviously! She is Croatian. Have you seen their President?”). She is in her 30s, married, with two sons. The youngest is two and a half years old, and goes to Kindergarten. She is an amazing mom, by the look of it. Her husband is from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dijana speaks Croatian and English. I have also overheard her conversing in Italian with Giada.

When she is not using Viber, Dijana is a hard-working woman. I can tell from her Holy Book of German, which contains the stuff we learn in class on a daily basis, neatly summarized.

Lady Long Legs plays Volleyball and Basketball. Nobody is surprised. And she walks every day farther than I walk in a month. Phew.

Password to unlock smile: Dobar Dan / Dobro Jutro

Rajul Ahmalin

2000px-A_Bearded_Charming_Cartoon_Businessman.svgMahmoud Gendel is an automobile businessman from Zawiya, Libya. He is in his 40s, married, with four children aged 13, 10, 4 and 1. The youngest is a baby girl. But his young family is back in Libya. He is here to learn German, because it will help his business. It must be really hard to stay away from family.

Mahmoud is not very social, or perhaps he feels like he does not fit in the circle. He is also constantly taking calls on his phone(s), however, so that could just be a part of the package of being a businessman. Or perhaps he is simply not comfortable conversing in English, since the rest of us use only that. 

Password to unlock smile: As-Salaam-Alaikum / Marhaban


barbie-tennis-player-doll-84972-0-1422274187000Evgenia Luchkina (a.k.a. Jenny) is from Saint Petersburg, Russia. She has been living in Maastricht, Netherlands (“Yes, the land of the Spooky!”) for the past 8 years. Her husband is Dutch. She has two daughters, aged 14 and 4. She speaks Russian, Dutch and English. Jenny is an English teacher by profession, but has a degree in business management. She has worked as a purchase executive for a MNC in the past. 

Dženi, lijepoto nedostaješ mi čežnjo; da te ljubim niježno, niježno, niježno.


Jenny is the last to arrive in class on most days. I would assume between getting kids ready for school, all the stuff that she does, and driving from Maastricht to Aachen and finding a parking spot, it is a given. Jenny is a professional tennis player and a mother of a teenager. Enough said. Well played, girl.

Password to unlock smile: Privet

Pinguino Italiano

baby_penguin_playing_italian_flag_guitar_blue-rf127e3bb3f814952a96fe596d87dfb75_xvuat_8byvr_307Giada Tosi is from Modena, Italy. Her boyfriend is also from Italy. She is in her 20s. She is a radiologist assistant by profession. Her childhood ambition was to be a veterinary doctor. Giada speaks Italian and English. She is sehr klein und cute!

Giada is the first to arrive every day. She is also the only one in the learning group, who in my opinion, gets the German pronunciation of words spot on. I don’t know if it is the gift of the Italian accent or it’s just her, but her enunciation is always on point. Just ask her to say Bergdriesch. Giada loves her television so much that she brought it all the way from Italy to Germany.

Giada is not a short human; she is a tall penguin with two cats and a Panda.

Password to unlock smile: Buon Giorno

Gǔpiào Yìshùjiā

5804f881006a69c5598c8c12a954013aAline Wang is from China. She is in her 20s. She speaks Mandarin and English. She has a degree in art she earned during her time in the United Kingdom. She is sehr adorable! She has no sense of direction, however. Aline will attribute her clumsiness and un-organisation to being an artist, but she is yet to prove it by making a sketch for us. The most artistic thing I have seen her do is open das Fenster during the break.

Aline does not believe in making grocery lists or planning. I experienced it first hand the one time I went to the supermarket and medicine store with her. But she is bold and carefree, and I like that about her. She is not afraid of making mistakes and (seemingly) has no fear of being judged. That is an amazing quality to possess. She also likes things ugly, apparently, for some weird reason. Prima!

Password to unlock smile: Nǐ hǎo

Update (Friday, 14 December 2018):


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We completed our A1 level today.

Dancing Queen


Malika Boymirzoeva joined us for the Deutsch A2 level. Malika means queen. She is from Kulob in Tajikistan, but she has studied and worked in Dushanbe. She is 22 and married, pretty young with a gorgeous smile and twinkling eyes. Her husband is a seismologist. She likes to bake, paint and dance. Check out her Instagram blog here. Malika has left her home country for the first time, and moved to Germany. She speaks Tajik, Russian, Turkish, Arabic, Parsi, Uzbek and English.

Malika has knee-length hair, which is neatly kept in a headscarf. It seems that is only 50 times the length of my hair. That is not much, is it? I could grow mine to that length too, if I wanted, you know. In my dreams. A guy can dream, can’t he? (Update: She chopped it off!)

I don’t have a little sister, but if I did, I imagine she would be just like Malika- sweet and adorable.

Annotation 2018-12-17 190629
Tajikistan is so freakin’ close to India, I had no idea. Leh is as far north of India as I have been yet. Further north is either too cold or too dangerous, or both. (Screenshot: Google Maps)

Password to unlock smile: Salom / As-Salaam-Alaikum

Update (Wednesday, 19 December 2018):

German classes have been amazing, so far. Four hours every day just go by without realising. I wake up at 6 AM and actually look forward to going to German class.

I wish I had joined sooner (but then I would not have met the amazing people mentioned above). My only regret is this is not only intensive, it is hardcore express pace. I am afraid if I miss a day or even a session, I will be lost and fail to catch up, the way I feel in my university courses most of the time. Had I joined last year, I would not have had to go intensive. I could have done evening classes with leisure.

For those who join the group in due course, it is only fair to have a bit about myself here as well. So, here goes:

Professor Kokosnuss

aca759795d9f80caa8ff13a0f772423fNaveen is from Mangalore, India. He is 29 years old and single. He speaks Konkani, Kannada, Hindi, Urdu and English, and can understand Telugu, Marathi and Punjabi. Naveen is a mechanical engineer by education, but his childhood dream was to be a coconut seller. He is pursuing his second masters degree in aerospace engineering at FH Aachen. Like Malika, he has left his country and travelled abroad for the first time.

When Naveen is not obsessing over cricket or complaining about the lack of biryani in his diet, he is usually busy being obnoxiously patriotic toward his motherland (India) or passing snarky comments on world politics. He secretly loves being addressed as Professor or Kokosnuss by his friends, but he will never admit it because that would be breaking character. Naveen likes pencil sketching, blogging and photography, but it does not mean he is good at it. He tries.

I changed my Twitter username to reflect the two nicknames “Professor” and “Kokosnuss”.

Update (Friday, 25 January 2019):

We completed out A2 level today. We will be starting my B1 on Monday. Shit is about to get serious now. We will also be having 4 new people joining our group, so we are moving to a bigger room with a bigger blackboard.


Ying Qian

Karin Dawson


  1. This blog post was last edited on Thursday, 31 January 2019.
  2. This blog post was first published on Tuesday, 20 November 2018.
  3. All images (except the Featured Image, which belongs to me) are sourced from Google Images. I do not own the rights to them. All credit goes to the respective artists.


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