I Can('t) Speak German

Sebrina Yan
June 26, 2016

Every once in a while, it's healthy to have a good laugh at yourself. Luckily for me, those experiences haven't been hard to come by since I've been in Berlin.

Take today, for example. A friend and I decided to try out a Korean fusion restaurant in Prenzlauer Berg, and I had the best (and only) kimchi burger I've ever tasted. I, trying to prove to myself that I indeed am becoming a German speaker, managed to successfully converse with the waitress about her recommendations for burgers. Who cares that whatever I said probably wasn't grammatically correct? I understood her and she understood me, so it was a victory! After we paid, she told us "Schönen Tag noch!" and I responded, "Ich."

That's right - she bid us a good day, and I told her, "I." 

After that, I resigned myself to the fact that I still have a long way to go when it comes to learning to speak proper German.

For all of my German-language mishaps (here's another one: the guy at the döner stand - döner is an extremely popular fast, street food - the other day said all the sauces way too quickly, so I told him I wanted the last one he said - "chili," the only one I understood. I ended up regretfully eating a spicy, although delicious, dinner.), I should probably state for the record that they're probably easily avoidable. As it turns out, Berlin is incredibly international (so much so that I don't really think I've had a proper "German" meal since I've been here). Pretty much everyone can speak great English, so I really could have just told that waitress to also have a good day, instead of "I." 

But what would be the point in that? There's no harm in embarrassing yourself once in awhile and making mistakes, because that's what we all have to experience. My dad scoffed when I told him that it was too hard to speak German. "Don't be scared to lose face," was his sage advice, "or you'll never learn anything." I happen to be the type of person who cares far too much about what people think and "losing face" is probably one of my worst nightmares, but unless I want to tell waitresses "I" forever, it's prime time to toughen up a little. It doesn't mean that I'm going to become fluent overnight (if only) or attempt to make as many mistakes as possible, but maybe my skin will be a tiny bit thicker from now on. 



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Sebrina Yan

<p>I hail from Houston, Texas and study in Austin, Texas, so needless to say, I&#39;m ready to get out of Texas. I study Chemistry and Spanish at the University of Texas at Austin and I like to pretend that I can manage German. This is my second time in Europe and I&#39;m excited for the adventure that awaits!</p>

2016 Summer 1, 2016 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Texas - Austin
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