German is not the easiest of languages to learn as I've spoken about before, I keep thinking that it would have been so much easier to have moved to China where the language sounds so much easier to actually speak (although I guess a complete pig to write) because they have no tenses, instead they 'time stamp' what they say;
'I go tomorrow/today/yesterday' instead of 'I am going/I go/I went' but then again I don't think I'd actually want to live in that particular country...
I have days here when I think it's finally coming together, when I don't put off making phonecalls before I've planned what I'm going to say and when a letter from school that covers 2 sides of A4 makes immediate sense without me resorting to my dictionary or my 13 yr old translator. There are also days when I feel at a complete loss and as though I am never going to be understood even if I live here till I die - which could be sooner rather than later if I don't stop with my really bad habit of shouting abuse (from within my car) at other road users - but that's another story.
I had a few conflicting experiences of my language prowess last week, but on the whole I feel more up than down about it all (at the moment);
- my tumble drier is making a funny noise and so at the request of my darling I called into to the local repair shop (called in, in person because that way I can make sure I'm not misunderstood, or at least there's less chance of me being misunderstood) the guy took all the details and said they'd call the following week to make an appointment, I didn't get why they couldn't make an appointment there and then but hey, who am I to argue with the crazy way they run their business? It got to Wednesday of the fiollowing week and I'd had no call to make an appointment so I bit the bullet and rang. 5 minutes later, after speaking to a very efficient woman, I had an appointment for the following morning - I guess I should have spoken to her from the get go as she clearly wears the trousers in that small organisation.
- in the same week as the noisy tumble drier my kitchen tap decided to go all leaky. It's done it before (this is a 3 year old kitchen we're talking about, taps should not be leaking) so I knew the procedure, call the kitchen company who then call the tap company who then call me to arrange to come and fix it. The man came on Friday, I didn't stand over him while he worked, I trust him to know what to do and to do it (and besides I have other stuff I can be doing) so he faffed about over in the general sink area and then turned the water back on and asked me to sign the paperwork. At this point I asked him what he'd done and whether other people have had the same problem with this design of tap (stupid really, like he's going to admit to that?!) now this man said he'd replaced the potato something...I swear I heard him say 'kartoffel blah blah' and as you should know by now, kartoffel = potato. I smiled sweetly at him and said 'really? how nice' or some blather in German and as soon as he was gone looked in the bin to see what exactly he'd thrown away that could possibly be called a potato.
When I had my German lesson she told me the word I'd heard was 'kartusche' (= cartidge) but that she only knew that because she'd also had one replaced by a plumber recently!
- I had cause to visit the T-mobile shop last week, took with me the relevant information and waited while the guy finished up with his customer. I explained to Herr T-mob that I wanted to upgrade my phone whilst retaining the same contract and that I'd spoken both on the phone and via email to T-mobile about this and it was do-able.
I showed him the documentation I had that showed otherwise (stood my ground and argued my case like a proper German) Herr T-mob then phoned head office to seek advice. Meanwhile a queue was forming, it was the end of lunchtime and there was just the one guy serving (2 others were hiding in what looked like a cupboard round the back) the guy at the front of the queue was of course old and therefore crotchety and started making verbal waiting noises, where upon I turned to him and told him that I'd had to wait too (German is such a great language to be argumentative in!) The outcome of my visit wasn't ideal, I didn't get what I wanted but I had forced Herr T-mob to take me seriously enough that he questioned what he was saying, I stood my ground and fought my corner in true German stylee, all with only lapsing into English once (when I declared the situation to be utter crap*) I walked away not happy, afterall I didn't get what I wanted but I did feel that I dun good.
* note to self; learn more mild German swear words...