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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

And so it Begins...

Well, I guess it is time to begin.  Yesterday I was on a phone call and the person I was attempting to communicate with  declared that I spoke better German than she did English.  I had no other option than to stumble along foolishly and speak.  The most shocking thing for me, was that it turned out I actually recalled words that I had once learned but never used.  

I hung up a bit flustered and embarrassed but actually kinda proud.  I had made myself understood in German.  On the phone.  And let me tell you, I would much rather communicate in person than on a phone - wait, let me clarify that,  I would much rather speak German in person than on the phone.

Today I emailed colleagues a little bit in German.  That was a first as well.  The worst part about attempting to speak another language is how foolish you feel.  I mean, 3 year old children can express themselves better than I can.  I literally have to be forced to be put in a position where I feel silly and inadequate.  Lets face it - most people would.

Sunday while skiing with another expat, we attempted to summarize our day completely in German.  It sort of made certain that our conversation was rather brief.  And then there is my Swiss friend who brings me things he knows I would be interested in reading in German along with declaring (and enforcing!) a "Deutsch nur" texting rule.

The problem is that in Zurich, it is easy to avoid speaking German.  Everyone speaks English.  But the problem is, when learning a language you must use it - or lose it.  Every Canadian knows that.  We all learn French - but who can speak it?

So I have to admit that I am secretly glad my friends are forcing my hand a little on this - we all know that I need it.  







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