I speak German poorly. This is just a fact that I have come to accept. That’s not to say I don’t try, I always try to speak properly and to learn new words, but my retention for languages is just low. Now I talked in my last post about the market that is in Konstablewache square every Thursday. It’s like a giant gathering of food trucks where people sell pastries, flowers, fresh produce, beer, and of course Bratwurst and Rindswurst. There is also a stand that sells Apfulwein or Apple Wine as well as apple juice.
Today, after work, I was wandering the market talking pictures when I decided I would have a glass of apple juice. So I walked over to the little stand and I said “Ein glass Apfulsuft bitte” (My dad always says as longs you can order food in a foreign language, you’re fine) So the man nods, pours the glass, and takes my money. This stand, like many, gives its costumers real glasses, so one has to stand or sit around and drink their drink there so they can return the glass when they are finished. So I set my glass down and went to grab my phone so I could do some reading while I drank. Well the man who had sold me the juice started talking to me and smiling and obviously I have no idea what he is saying. The only word I got was glass.
So I ask him:”Sprechen Sie Englisch”
To which he replies: “English? Nein.”
So right away we are at an impasse. I don’t speak German and he doesn’t speak English.
In the spirit of full disclosure I told him: “Ich Sprechen Dutch Nit”
Which by the way is not the right way to say that. I don’t even speak german well enough to say I can’t speak German. The proper sentence is Ich Sprechen kein Dutch, but of course I couldn’t remember that at the time. So he just laughs and the other man who worked with him selling, (and drinking, welcome to Germany) Apfulwein begins to speak to him. I’m not sure what they said exactly, but from what I could make out the second man was asking the first man what we were talking about, and the first man informed the second that I spoke english. So this turns into another conversation.
“Du Sprechen englisch?”
“Nein. Ich sprechen englisch, unt Ich sprechen Dutsch…nit?”
To this he laughed and made the little bit sign with his thumb and pointer finger. gLad that one is universal in Germany. I nodded and he laughed again. And then he told the biggest lie he may tell all week;
“Sie sprechen gut!”
Which means you speak good. We have already determined that I do not speak German well and here this man is complimenting me on the three or four words I do know. We laughed and smiled and I moved on. So God bless the little Apfulwein man for being kind to me and trying to make me feel better. I also encountered, at the market, several different groups of Americans which was really bizarre. You know you’re growing accustomed to living in a foreign country when your own language sounds foreign to you. I’m so used to hearing people speak in Arabic or German, that to hear Americans speaking English was actually kind of shocking.
One more quick story and I’ll call it quits. Yesterday I went with my friends to Liebeighaus which used to be the villa of Baron von Liebeig, but is now a museum with art, mostly sculptures, ranging from Ancient Egypt, to the Middle ages. They had some truly beautiful works, including two alter models, and some beautiful Baroque pieces. It was only 20 Euro for five of us which is really quite good. It is a beautiful house with lovely gardens and very nice staff. I would definitely recommend it as a little museum in the river museum district.