March 15, 2007

... and now in Munich

And now I'm in Munich in a lovely (but slightly strange) hotel. The room is great but the layout is a little weird (since the first thing you see is the bathtub, and you can't close the curtains and still use the desk so I'm feeling like I'm sitting here working under a spotlight (and its only a second floor internal courtyard room). But the internet access is free and it really is a very nice room. Tomorrow I'll go find our offices and do my 5 training sessions before working my way back to the airport.

I thought my French was bad, but by the time I got to the airport today I was realizing how much French I actually do know. I was still failing pretty miserably in actual conversations with people, but I had a decent internal dialog going where I could name most things and understand what was going on around me, as well as order food, thank people, etc. On the other hand, the moment I stepped off the plane in Germany I realized how completely and absolute my lack of German is.

I don't think I've ever actually been completely alone in a foreign country where I didn't speak a word of the language. When I was in Germany before, I was with Hanna, who at least had some high school German behind her (plus we were staying with Bellamy, who was fluent). Even when visiting Israel and Japan I had brushed up on the language quite a bit before embarking -- and so even if I'll never be able to talk to anyone, I could at least handle the basic pleasantries and count (though the concept of having different terms in Japanese for counting round things, flat things, people, etc. was what made me drop the classes I was taking). When Carrie and I were in Amsterdam, we at least were lost there together. So I'll have to brush up on a few stock phrases for the morning and should be just fine once I get to the office... and my co-puzzler Lisa's husband is in town on business today as well, so at least I have one person to call in the case of a real emergency, which is nicely reassuring.

Gute Nacht!

Posted by Emily at March 15, 2007 12:07 PM

Here is how the most important stock phrase sounds...

Es tut meer light. Ich sprech kein deutch. Sprechen sie English?

I'm sorry. I don't speak German. Do you speak English?

(I have ammended mine to be "Sorry I only speak a little tiny bit of German")

When they say NEIN you just smile. You are much more likely to get a NO in Germany than here in Switzerland...Swiss are linguists. Oh, but Swiss German is different than what you hear in German - so don't try to learn too much :)

Posted by: Paul at March 16, 2007 04:02 AM
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