No, I’m not talking about being a Muslim! It’s a revelation that’s come to me since settling here in Wales. It is just such an utter relief to be able to freely communicate, chat away. It took a few weeks for the sense of having to prepare my sentences before I spoke to leave. I do get occasionally caught out when someone says, ‘Half Four’ meaning 4.30, in German that’s 3.30.
I worked, I had friends, I chatted away. But there was always a sense that I wasn’t being me as I would in English, some of my humour I couldn’t communicate. If I lost the context of a conversation in dialect, I was dumb. That I couldn’t be as eloquent or clear as I would in English, no matter how I tried. I often wonder how my German sounded to people, like English Geordie, but in German???
There was this invisible barrier around me all the time. And it’s only know that I can acknowledge and perceive it. Dave and I watched out local evening news from the Lungau recently, and I was relieved that I could still get most of it, I wouldn’t want to lose the ability to speak the language.
And all around me, the scenery, houses, blew me away; that sense never left. But not because it was home and I could take it for granted, I was a constant visitor, marveling at this new land, which never became as familiar and as comforting as an English village or town. Now I’m home and there’s no possibility of misunderstandings, if I don’t understand, I can take on the people around me and their wonderful sense of humour.
A complete and utter relief.