Greetings from Germany!
Hello, my name is Dave and I recently moved from Canada to Germany. My wife is Swiss, and German is her first language. As we first got to know each other, I took a few evening courses in Beginner German, and tried some language software at home. Needless to say, without daily practice, neither the courses nor the software was enough!
Courtesy of the German Integration program, I've been learning German for 3 hrs/day, 4 days/week. While not enough to make me feel comfortable in, say a job interview, this has definitely helped with managing everyday activity like grocery shopping. Other ways I've discovered (and wish I knew about back in Canada - you know what they say about necessity!), are lots of audio podcasts, forums, and of course German-Flashcards.com!
As an English-speaker, the biggest challenge for me is proper pronunciation. Umlauts in particular. I know the differences between an 'u' and an 'ü', but seem to without fail get the two mixed up. Right now it's blazing hot, so I have to remember to say that it's 'schwül' (muggy), and not 'Schwule' (gay). It's interesting what my other classmates have difficulties with - while one girl needs to work on 'z' (should be spoken like 'tsett'), another may have difficulty with rolling an 'r' (myself included). As with everything, practice makes perfect!
Mach's gut, und auf wiedersehen!