American in Austria

August 4, 2011

I love being an American who speaks German…well, I guess I really only love it when I’m in a German speaking country. I suppose it doesn’t do me much good in Italy. Granted, the Italians don’t acknowledge any other language exists besides Italian…they are very French in that regard.

Anyway, I digress. Back to American speaking German in a German speaking country. When I’m with the Americans, obviously I speak English. I mean, I could speak German, but they just give me X’s for eyes, and there’s nothing like X’s for eyes to kill a conversation. So I acquiesce and speak English.

The fun parts comes in when the German speakers around me don’t realize that I speak German and consequently can understand them! {cue evil laugh}. Case in point. The second week into our trip here, I went out with 2 of my friends. While sitting in the tram, a group of drunk teenagers got on and sat directly behind us. Naturally, they noticed the loud Americans and immediately started talking about us. I eyed them, but they had no idea that I actually understood them. It wasn’t anything mean, just general joking about Americans, though they did try to claim our male counterpart was gay. When I translated this to my friends, they put on a good show to prove otherwise. It was rather fantastic.

I spent the rest of the ride trying to figure out how I was going to get them back. The opportunity presented itself when we got up to leave. In a snotty tone, one of the girls told us goodbye in German. I turned to her and answered sugar sweet in German, “Thanks! You have a great night, too” The stunned expression was priceless. As I got off, I said in German, “It sure is funny when the locals don’t think you can speak German.” I shot a perfect American teeth smile at their stunned faces. We all waved and walked off in triumph.

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One Response to “American in Austria”

  1. Georgeanne Says:

    Ah! You’re motivating me to learn German. I’ve studied Italian and will continue studying for the rest of my life, but I really should get on the German boat..

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