It’s The Little Victories

The title card for the musical comedy series G...

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When I first moved to Germany a year ago and had to start functioning in German, it was being able to accomplish the little things that brought such joy. Things such as ordering lunch without having to switch into English and being able ask how much something cost.

These days not much has changed, except that the bar has been raised a little higher. One of the things I’ve wanted to do was to have a simple conversation with someone I didn’t really know. Therefore when I ran into the cute receptionist (CR) who works for the business centre my office is in, I decided to seize the chance.

Now, a bit of a backstory. I have seen CR almost every single work day for a whole year and never been able to say more than a simple hello, goodbye, thanks and that weird Northern German custom of saying ‘mahlzeit’ (mealtime) when you go to lunch. Now most of that has been a language issue but some of it has also been a confidence issue.  I’m not really confidence around cute girls when I’m in an English speaking country, therefore in a German speaking country I have zero confidence. Add to that that CR looks like Brittany from Glee (Gleek will know exactly what I’m talking about) and it’s a wonder I can get out a basic greeting.

Fast forward back to this morning when I run into CR waiting for the lift up to our floor.  I think ‘fuck it’ and after saying Good morning, I ask her how she is doing and we play out a carbon copy of the ‘how are you’ conversation you learn on day 2 of German class. I do this every day with my colleges, so I’m feeling pretty comfortable.  Meanwhile CR is lovely enough to be completely surprised at apparently how good my German is. Bless her.  Then, and this is the awesome bit, we continue to talk in German all the way up to the office. It was simple things like how long I’ve now been living in Hamburg and if I like it here and then where was I from and after learning I was from Sydney, why on earth did I move to Hamburg. Once she learnt it gets up to 40C in summer she was much more okay with why I moved.  Then we had the typical bitch about Hamburg’s rainy weather.

The icing on the cake was the look on the other receptionist’s face when we walk into the office chatting in German.  It was like ‘what the fuck!’.  This is because no one has ever heard me speak more than one or two words in German since I arrived a year ago.

So, have a conversation with someone I barely know in German and talk to a cute girl without looking like an idiot have now been ticked off my list of things I want to accomplish. Win!!

Of course this means the next time I talk to cute girl or try to have a simple conversation with someone I don’t know, I will fail spectacularly. This is the way the universe works.

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About Meg

A thirty something queer Aussie geek girl who now lives in Germany.
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9 Responses to It’s The Little Victories

  1. Mahlzeit! Today, we have lovely weather in Hamburg. Cold, but sunny.
    I’m sorry, “Mahlzeit” we normally say for lunch break, not in the morning. I think, this habit derives from bigger industry companies, where the have “Kantinen” for lunch break. But to say Mahlzeit is cool, since Walter Moers comic hero “Kleines Arschloch” (little asshole) always said “Mahlzeit”.

    • Riayn says:

      I’ve only ever heard Mahlzeit said as you are heading out to lunch or before starting to eat a meal. I’ve never heard of it as a greeting at other times of the day. Moin, on the other hand, I hear all the time. :)

  2. Stereo says:

    Small victories indeed! This means that you can now start on your Game skills when talking to girls. This is actually pretty big when you think about it.

  3. cliff1976 says:

    Congratulations! i enjoy reading about your triumphs.

    What about reading and writing German? Is that in the scope of your personal challenge as well?

    • Riayn says:

      Reading is. I’m currently reading the children’s book Heidi. I’m also Tweeting now and again in German, so that kinda covers writing. :)

  4. Frau Dietz says:

    MASSIVE WIN!! Don’t even think about failing spectacularly the next time, you cannot fail now you are Cool German-Speaking Australian Who We Thought Was Really Quiet But It Turns Out She Was Just Hiding How Awesome She Is. So just focus on how utterly brilliant you are :)

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