english as a second language

Mehr Von Einer Amerikanischen Auslanderin

One thing I didn’t appreciate about America until this trip: that tap water is always free, as are bathrooms. It makes my whole “Stay Hydrated” lifestyle much more affordable.

I’m in Berlin now, which is the first place I’ve been where I’ve been mistaken as a local. Seems like everyone here shares my not-quite blond hair and light eyes. (Tasteless joke: I guess that was the point.)

Every time I go abroad, it takes me a while to remember that not everyone speaks English. I guess this an obvious thing, but one that is easy to forget in the States, a place where it’s ok that I nearly failed Spanish for three years in high school and then again for three semesters in college. With my linguistic limits and hypocrisy acknowledged, it always surprises me to hear children talking to their parents in another language. Like, don’t those parents know that to talk to me, their kids are going to need to speak English?

Still in Germany, or from my one day of walking around Berlin, most people speak a bit of English and haven’t minded helping me out with maps or taking my food order. The only exception was the guy at the TV Tower, who sounded like he was being called on in English class and just wanted to go home and die, which is something I can relate to. This is all to say that for the past two weeks, any time a local has answered my question in English, I want to thank them for paying attention in high school.