5.10.2008

The new comfort zone

When we first moved here, I didn't think about how strange it would feel to not be able to understand the language around me. Being in a different country was not new, but language in the UK was strangely...similar. I was out of my comfort zone. Being a literal person, I am constantly reading signs, posters and the like to try and figure out just what was on sale, what event was scheduled and where to find that particular building to fill out that form. Even listening to the radio--I could pick out some obvious words "George Bush" , but the rest left me wondering what exciting news events had today's interest.

I can now pick out the "survival words". By this I mean the things you need to do in going about your day. I can have a basic conversation with a store or city worker. This is when I speak to them, but I feel freaked out when they ask me something. Help! I know numbers and basic food items when ordering, and can sometimes understand the amount, but I check the display anyway so I don't look silly.

I have even picked up on conversations of people here and there and noted that they are not speaking German-maybe Polish or Russian. That's progress, right? Maybe, just maybe I will have some fair conversational skills by the time we leave. Or not. I think the age for optimum language learning is before age 7, and I am waaaaaayyyy beyond that. Ryan will start at the nearby German kindergarten this fall. I guess he will be the German speaker in the family.

Just now, DH is asking me to look up an ingredient in some potato salad that he bought ---"ei". Oh! "egg"-good to know. Just avoid the ones with "zwiebel" (onion).

3 fabulous friends:

Christina said...

Somedays I feel like I can barely navigate a day here, let alone in a foreign country! I guess a person can learn to do anything if they 'have' to!
Happy Mother's Day to you!!

Bilary said...

You are so brave! Just the thought of living in a foreign country scares the pants off me. I think it would be fun to experience a different culture...On vacation! I don't know how you do it! I think it is so cool that you are learning so many new things and that your kids get to experience this as well!

Come to think of it, I think the thought that scares me the most is the food. I am SOOOO picky. Just give me plain ol' wheat toast and chocolate milk and I am happy. Sounds like I am three doesn't it, but that really is my favorite food because I grew up on it. Weird. I think I could do just about any vegetable dish, but you throw weird meats into the mix, I will run away so fast! I WILL NOT TRY IT! I wish I could appreciate food more, but I am so picky it is pathetic!:)

Rhea said...

I just noticed the wedding photo on the side bar. You and your husband are a great looking couple! Love the picture.

I'm impressed with your new comfort zone. The closest experience I have to it was living in Spain for a month. I panicked when anyone spoke to me, I admit, but boy, I did pick it up fast and get a lot more comfortable with it once I was "immersed" in the language and the culture.

I don't understand why they don't make foreign language a MUST here in the US public schools. Young age children soak up these languages, and it's the best time to learn it.