Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008 - , 5 comments

Blending in with the Locals

The other day I was talking with a friend about traveling outside of the States and the problem travelers can face even if they’ve tried to familiarize themselves with the local language. I was reminded of a time when I was visiting Heidelberg, Germany with my dad about five years ago.

We had just returned from a morning visit to the castle at the top of the hill (see picture) with our tour group, called Heidelberg Castle, strangely enough. lol We were ready to find some lunch, so we walked around for a little while to get away from the other folks on our tour. They were nice enough, but you know. When you’re on a tour of Germany, you don’t want to sit in a restaurant with a bunch of other Americans if you can avoid it. So, after about ten minutes we found a gästehaus that looked promising where locals seemed to be going inside.

I had been practicing my German with drills for months, and by looking at the menu written on a chalkboard on the wall, I saw that we could get some bread and cheese. (Cheese had been highly featured in the language program for some reason.) Something about it appealed to me, and I thought it would be nice for a change. I ordered everything in German. The waitress was very nice and patient, but I wasn’t quite sure that I had gotten everything right. However, everything came out great, and the waitress would always speak German when she came over.

My dad and I were trying to figure out whether or not to have desert, and the waitress heard us speaking English. She immediately began speaking English to us (and very well too). She hadn’t realized that we were Americans! lol I don’t know what she thought we were because with the way that we were communicating with her, she certainly knew that we weren’t German! But we all certainly got a good giggle out of it.


I haven't travelled much internationally, but the language barrier always makes me nervous.

It makes me nervous too, and I so don't want to come across as another "arrogant American."

May I suggest the UK? It's a great place to visit, and they speak the same language ... sort of. ;)

they speak the same language, sort of - LOL

I don't think I've ever read anything about you as a kid. this was cool :)

It's surprising how many Europeans speak English (American.) But it's a shame when one wants to try out ones new ability.

Oh, I really didn't mind that she spoke English. I wasn't the most confident of my language skills. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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