Sigmund Freud defined “regression” to be when adults resort to more childlike mannerisms. If you’re over 16 years old and have thrown a temper tantrum, congratulations, you’ve regressed. Historically, regression does not have the best connotation, but I think that sometimes it can actually be a good thing.
This summer, Germany gave me a second chance at childhood.
Every morning, when I walk downstairs to leave for school, my host mom greets me with a “good morning” and hands me a lunch box with a sandwich and a snack for later. I walk outside, and I join the cue of kids also on their way to school. In this situation though, I am not a kid. The kids I’m referring to range from 5-10 years old. But these are the kids that go to school at the same time as me, so we all end up walking to the train station together (I stick out a little bit, being slightly taller than you’re average 8 year old). All of the cool kids take a short cut through some bushes to get to the train station, and of course, since I’m cool, I do this too (Again, I stick out a little, being slightly taller than the hole in the bush). I figure since I’m here to learn how to be German, might as well learn how to be every age of German.
Once I finally navigate myself to school, my college-credit course feels nothing like anything above 1st grade. We greet the teacher with a collective “Guten Morgen” and then we begin learning the German alphabet and German numbers. Sometimes, we even have vocabulary words. We play games. We read stories. We sing songs. Then, we go home.
Once I’m home, I sit down with my host mom and we do my homework. Sometimes after, we’ll go to the park. The park by my host family’s house has quite a nice view of Stuttgart.
We come home, we eat dinner, and I do the same thing the next day. Yes, I have definitely regressed, but it’s regression with a purpose. It’s pretty common knowledge that the best time to learn something is during your first few years of life. This is when you learn to talk, to walk, and just a general sense of what to do with yourself. So yes, I have regressed, but my regression stems from a desire to learn a culture from its beginning, and absorb every aspect of it. It also stems from the fact that my host mom makes me a lunch, takes me to the park, and does my laundry. But overall, I don’t mind feeling childish or doing childish things. I feel more open to new ideas and more eager to learn German. So yeah, right now, I am pro-regression all the way. Sigmund Freund might not agree, but he wasn’t really even the breast psychologist out there.
Embracing my second chance at childhood, I’m ready for the 26 letter vocabulary words, I’m ready for the culture shock, and I’m ready to look cool climbing through the bushes tomorrow morning.