In Europe these past few weeks, we’ve been doing a thing that I call “country- hopping”. This is when you move to a new country every few days. Country- hopping is great: it lets you see many beautiful sights without staying in one place for so long that it gets boring. Personally, I love this. There are, however, a few drawbacks, mainly regarding the language barrier. Moving around so much leaves absolutely NO time for learning languages! This has created a couple hilarious (and very embarrassing) stories.
- On our way from Paris to Ludwigsburg, Germany, we stopped for two nights in Reims, France. One morning, I had finished my math and had some time to kill. I decided to walk around the main street of the town (both of my parents were doing school work with Eva and Rikki, so I was alone). I walked into a shop, not looking for anything specific, just browsing. All of the sudden, I was ambushed by two salespeople. They started jabbering away to me in French while I stood there, looking very confused. Finally, they had both finished talking to me and looked at me expectantly. I had no idea what they wanted from me- I speak about 10 words of French, maybe less. So, I did what any other non- French speaking thirteen year old would do: I turned and walked out of the store. Language failure number one.
- Right before we left Germany, our friend Petra Muller took us to a mall/super market to stock up for the drive to Switzerland. Eva and I had just learned how to say “bye- bye” in German, and were sort of obsessed with the word. It sounded a little to us like “cheeses.”
We were trying (and failing) to say it with a “heavy German accent,” when Petra turned around and gave us a strange look.
“Where did you learn that?” she asked us.
Eva and I shrugged. “We thought we were saying good-bye,” I offered.
Petra chuckled and told us that, instead of saying good-bye, we were saying sh** in German. Eva and I laughed so hard that neither of us could breathe, I was still pretty embarrassed. Language failure number two.
I know that I am going to put a little more effort into learning the languages of the next places we go. Maybe, I just learn the word NOT to say. Either way, I am going to work hard to minimize these kind of situations. I’ll keep you posted it they so, though. (Woops, typo, language failure number three.)