Carter & Ammon Shine in a Personal Courtesy Interview
Carter and Ammon Shine in a Personal Courtesy Interview
“Ich heisse Carter.”
“Ich heisse Ammon.”
“Ich heisse Catharina.”
I stood grinning ear to ear. Carter had initiated our introduction with Catharina Mette (Volkswagen of Chattanooga, Tennessee Plant Communications ) a native German who is now living and working in Chattanooga, Tennessee our home town. Carter started with “My name is Carter.” Then Ammon and Catharina followed with sharing their names. I was so pleased that Carter and Ammon were practicing their interpersonal skills without any prompt from me. We had been working on interpersonal skills for over two years, and now they had combined both interpersonal skills and speaking German.
I wrote to the Public Relations in the middle of September, and explained how Ammon and Carter were homeschooled, were studying the German language, studying the German culture, and needing to practice their interpersonal skills with a simple interview. I asked if there was a native German in personal relations with whom we could conduct an interview. They graciously agreed to an interview with Catharina Mette with whom I soon arranged an interview date and time. I was honored that someone from this multi-billion dollar industry was taking time to spend with two 5 year olds from Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Catharina personally greeted Carter and Ammon at the visitor’s check-in station with a warm smile and greeting. There was an immediate bond between the three. We were then ushered into a visitor reception room. Carter and Ammon gave her the red roses we had purchased for her as a “Thank You”. There were comfortable chairs, tables, and a mini-theater with a huge flat screen television on the wall. After initial greetings and a review of Carter and Ammon’s travels to Germany, Catharina interjected, “Let me show you two a couple of videos on the history of this Volkswagen plant.”
We all sat comfortably in the mini-theater where we viewed two videos.The first video was on the history of the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant. It was so professional and personal to our hometown in which Carter and Ammon are so proud. “Wow, Chattanooga!”, Carter whispered to me. The video ended with a focus on how the Passat (the plant’s car) won Motortrend’s 2012 Car of the Year Award, and it all connected to the hard working team at the Chattanooga plant. The second video was only 3 minutes, but it showed a 12 -hour time lapse of how a Passat is fabricated. Ammon and Carter sat riveted. When the video finished, Carter exclaimed. “Wow, they made that car fast!”. We all giggled.
“Now, I understand that you two have some questions for me.” , Catharina said while leading Carter and Ammon into their interpersonal interview.
The four main questions Carter and Ammon had created were regarding the cultural areas of food, clothing, types of shelter, and the composition of family units in Germany. Ammon and Carter took turns asking questions.
Ammon and Carter love to eat pretzels, and we had studied that pretzels were a favorite snack tradition in Bavaria, eaten them during our vacation there in 2012 ( http://bit.ly/ZvyR7c, http://bit.ly/13CXrSZ) and made them in our home during the study. Through questioning, they found out that German pretzels are not traditional snack foods from the region of Wolfsburg, Germany, Catharina and Volkswagen’s hometown.
Carter then asked, “Do you have lederhosen?”, “No, Carter, lederhosen is a traditional style of dress, once again, from Bavaria. I do not have lederhosen.” Ammon then took her cue for the next question with, “Does your house look the same as houses here in Chattanooga?” “Well, kind of….,” Catharina said continuing with, “…we have more rock and brick houses.”
Carter then asked, “Do you get to see your family in Germany?” “Well, yes, I return home to see them several times a year. As a matter of fact, I just returned last week.” , Catharina stated.
Our meeting ended splendidly with Carter’s free question, “Do you have a Volkswagen like this one (the Passat)?” Carter inquired. “
Catharina quickly replied, “No, but I have a Volkswagen Tiguan. It’s like a van.” We then Googled an Internet photo of a Tiguan. “Oh, that’s nice!” Ammon exclaimed.
We then agreed that our questions were over and that Catharina had to return to work. We snapped photos, and Catharina had the reception desk make Carter and Ammon Volkswagen Visitor badges. They were so proud! We then departed with smiles and hugs, and a few “Auf Wiedersehen” .
Thanks to Catharina’s personal courtesy, Ammon and Carter’s interpersonal interview had been a huge success.
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