‘OK – hands-up, who here can’t speak German?’
Mine was the only one that went up at Thursday night’s swing dancing class. It was a great class, an interesting one – and it forced me to pay a lot more attention to what the teachers were ‘doing’.
Arriving in Freiburg has been a wonderfully discombobulating experience. Unlike India, where no one expected me to have a word of Tamil – as an anglo-germanic Australian (or something like that), people take a look at me and assume I’ll be ‘one of them’.
As a passant, that’s a welcoming feeling as you get an initial feel for the real daily give and take. It changes though as soon I open my mouth, and apologise for my extremely limited language abilities.
Duolingo tells me that I’m almost 50% fluent in German. In reality, it’s closer to five.
Asides from the one lesson that I did on Wednesday – mein Deutche is borne from a computer program. Take note, Duolingo is an excellent crash course in basic nouns and verbs. If you can persevere past the early stages of ‘Ich bin kein kleines Mädchen ’ (I am not a little girl) – it’s a useful cannon to have on arrival in any country.
All of this meant that I was incredibly nervous heading to my first class. Would I be able to follow what was happening? Would I try a few German phrases? Would people think it was ridiculous that I was there?
Luckily– I was saved by one of the teachers. True to form, Steve – who was an awesome instructor, turned out to be a fellow Aussie. There’s a term that you only use when away.
He had a great knack of blending English with German – which made it a great language lesson. ‘Links, dann Recht – stehen an sieben and then rock-step at eins!’ That really helped.
What didn’t help was my lack of contextual language. Dancing with fifteen or so followers (it was a big class) – I thought, why hasn’t Duolingo taught me how to say ‘nice to meet you!!’ That would have been more useful then ‘Das Fleugzeug ist fertig’ (the aeropolane is ready).
Despite all the confusion – it was a lot of fun. I had many lovely dances, and finding myself often rushing dances, the focus was on how to dance slow when the music is fast.
It’s Friday afternoon here. A beautiful sun-kissed day and a nice reminder that summer was only a few weeks ago in this part of the world.
I spent the afternoon in ‘Die Altstadt’, busking for the first time since I was about 13 playing Christmas Carols (with the odd James Bond song) when the supermarket manager told me to pack-up. Essentially because I wasn’t cute enough.
In all corners of the globe, people love to share in music and thankfully jazz also crosses borders. Seeing people enjoy a few tunes while enjoying their Friday lunch time was a warming feeling.
It doesn’t matter what you speak, the tune of ‘what a wonderful world’ needs no lyrics.
(Taking in the sun at Cafe POW – 15.09.17)