Wednesday, July 13, 2011

No Sympathy

Not knowing the German language has been frustrating. There have been many occasions when speaking German would have been extremely handy, like when trying to order a McFlurry with both MnMs AND Oreos. Or when the mailman buzzes your door and wants you to accept a parcel for someone else in the building. Or when you are looking for the ‘login’ button on the Munich Library website to renew some books.

After a while, you begin to avoid situations where you may need to speak German. You go to the same coffee shop. You line up at the same check out chick that speaks English. You order the same thing on the menu because you know you to pronounce it.

After being in a foreign country for so long and struggling with the language, your ears become very attuned to the Aussie accent. You can be standing in a crowd and here an Aussie from the other side of the room. Normally, its the abbreviation of about 4 or 5 words into one slurred slang term like, ‘How are you going?’ into ‘Owyagoin?’. Recently, I went to a bar at a backpackers to catch up with some friends and the Aussies stood out like... well, you know the term.

The room was filled mainly with American and Australian backpackers. Normally, you wouldn’t really be able to tell the difference until you hear them speak but for some reason, I had a feeling the guys in the shorts, singlet and pluggers holding three beers and shouting a lot around the pool table were Australian. I don’t know what it was that gave it away??? We immediately got to chatting and discovered that they too were from Brisbane. After several months away, it was good to get some reminders of back home and they agreed.

‘It’s so good to speak to another Aussie!’, they proclaimed. Sympathising with them, I asked how long it had been since they had been home. ‘Oh, this is our second day.’ My sympathy was quickly lost.

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