What I’m Getting Ready to Do This Summer 

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Last fall, I took a huge, long breath and wrote my largest ever vacation payment, a five-figure check… 

This August 1, we land in Amsterdam for a couple of days touring, then board a Viking River Cruise ship for eight days down the Rhine River! Another couple encouraged us to join them in taking the plunge, but my wife later said, “I can’t believe you actually spent the money.”  

So…in preparation, I’m learning a bit of German, using the free version of Duolingo. In addition, through a language group online, I met an 85-year-old, retired, Swiss native now living near his girlfriend along the French Riviera. He wants to review his English while helping me practice my German. We’ve developed a fast friendship, and he’s very gracious with my stumbling German. On the other hand, he worked in Switzerland for a technology company with branches in the U.S. (Vermont) and made multiple business trips annually that included touring, so his English is advanced. It’s just that he’s been retired 25 years so now feels linguistically rusty. 

I’m making progress. Meeting weekly, we alternate English and German conversations and I’m becoming at least a little better at making conversation and asking questions. 

SwitzerlandBut my language partner has a special connection to us Microsoft trainers I wanted to share. “Edouard’s” son was studying decades ago in the same technological institute in Switzerland that he first attended (where Einstein also studied and taught) but met Microsoft and was enamored with their advanced software progress. 

So, he applied for and received a job in California with Microsoft, leaving Switzerland. His first assignment was to integrate PowerPoint into the Microsoft suite of software! Small world. He worked in California, then in Seattle/Redmond for about ten years before returning with his young family to Switzerland, where his Chinese wife and American children had to learn German! 

Now, what are YOU preparing to do this summer? Our local teachers are finishing their first round of state testing this week and thoughts of the end of school are popping up everywhere. What do you want to be doing a couple of months from now? 

Jim Ekrut

Jim Ekrut 

NCCE Professional Learning Specialist