It's not that interesting to read about a frustrating rehearsal experience, so I'll just share with you this comparison. It was a struggle to play anything, so I was just happy I got the occasional note in. I was chatting about this with Dan who is just learning to play the viola and he empathized. I've memorized which staff lines are open strings so when I see one in the music I grab it and say "Ha! I can play that note!" Granted, it's not always meant to be played on the open string, but I gotta take what I can get. I compared it to listening to Spanish language radio and catching words like "amigo" and "cabeza". Mathew and Dan both agreed that, yes, that is what it's like. Particularly, that is what it's like to muddle through the Brahms Serenade.
There is much work to be done.