Expat Magazine

Willkommen in Deutschland

By Shugavery @ThinkIncognito
If you know me well you know I can't avoid telling you about the place where I live. It was the case in Bologna so why won't it be for Munich? So what happened so far after I told you this shameful story in which you know you'll never lend me your scooter? Well, a lot of things involving German people.
Not having time to take pictures of Munich and take you with me on my journey discovering the city felt such a pity that I decided to make you explore Germany through my experience with its inhabitants. I decided to tell you short stories in which I will be the narrator and obviously the main character. To refresh your memory: you are on a fashion blog and as you all know, us fashion bloggers, are a rather self-centered species hence the abundance of the pronoun «I» in every of our posts. So why wouldn't I be the protagonist of my own stories? But since telling you only about myself would be dull, I decided to tell you about my interactions with German people. So let's start this very egocentric journey into my life in Germany with this first story.
  1. In which an injury led me to practice my german
It's been three months I've been in Germany, with one hour and a half a week of german lessons, you can figure out my level at writing and speaking Goethe mothertongue. But still yesterday I received a message on my phone ALL IN GERMAN from my tandem, this word could refer to a bike but it actually refer to the german friend I practice Kant mothertongue with. For him, it certainly took less than 5 minutes to write it when for me it took approximtively 1h30 writing a very simple message. Whilst I swear I am wondering how the heck will he understand what I wrote, I am really glad I actually injured my leg. If not for it I don't think I would have met him. In this story I will tell you how it took me ages (basically since my arrival) to get to know my tandem.

My tandem, Hans-Jacob, was the one to help me the following days I got hurt. I actually asked him if there was a first aid kit to ease my pain and the following mornings he saw me he would bring it up without even me asking. Since this moment from being a nice person, I upgraded him to many levels up: that is the one of an angel. After my hurt got healed I would say hello to him each morning but didn't know how to approach him to be friends*. So after a whole month of smiling at eachother I finally decided to break the ice and ask him to be my tandem. I did write one month but it is actually three. Three months of seeing him smiling with a lot of shyness to then see his face illuminated with a bright smile as soon as he heard my request was utterly a sudden and unexpected change for me. I mean in France, someone would approach me and ask me to do a tandem together I would be like: «what is a tandem and what the heck do you want?». I told you we are no nice people us French. I asked my French friends what would have been their reaction in such a situation and they all answered like me, so yes we are no nice people, it's not just me being a snob.

Willkommen in DeutschlandThe following morning, he would welcome me with a huge bright smile and would even tell me «how are you doing?» when it was usually MY line. Even more surprising, the same day he invited me to go with two of his friends to a party by the Isar (the river crossing Munich). For the first time of my life I got into a Volkswagen van. I didn't expect him to contact me on the same day. In all honesty, I wanted to meet him a week later so that I could at least say something in german because the fact is I could not say anything else than:
  • «where are you from?»
  • «How old are you?»
  • «Do you have brothers and sisters?»
It was actually him practicing his english and not the other way round. So I did feel ashamed that is why I started writing to him and his best friend, Dorothea, on Facebook in a very uncorrect german, messages in german. Hence why I receive now from time to time messages IN PERFECT GERMAN and answer them IN A VERY APPROXIMATIVE GERMAN.What I have learnt from this encounter?
  • Go to speak to German people because they certainly won't do it first!
  • Once they are used to see you, either they smile at you in a really shy way either they just don't smile and stare at you really stern
  • German people are actually really warm people
  • German people are always willing to help you
  • German people actually appreciate a lot seeing you making effort speaking their language (though you are probably massacring grammar and syntax)
Now this said, I don't even want to imagine when I'll meet them again because I will have to speak, I mean SPEAK german! Understanding should also be something worrying me but what to do when my first issue is pronunciation? Have you ever been in such a linguistic situation? Do you like this kind of post?Let me know in the comments below!*Can you feel my despair: "pleaaase be my friend, my GERMAN friend not my german colleague with whom I can't help but speak english with!!!"

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