As opposed to Denmark, not speaking the language here is a real handicap. You can get by (order a coffee, get pointing-level directions) without German, but to make a special request or ask a detailed question, hand-symbols are pretty hopeless.
On Tuesday I bought something called ‘Learn German in 30 Days’, and I’ve been studying one hour per day since. So far German feels like someone smashed together the vocabulary of Danish and English, then said ‘these grammar rules are too easy! Another gender, please!’
Yesterday I successfully gave directions in German for the first time. I dress quite poorly, and look pretty sour-faced when I’m in public, so I get mistaken for a German a lot. Usually I wave people along when they ask for directions, but yesterday a woman asked me in German for Victoria-Louise Platz, which is right by where I live. ‘I can do this!’ I thought.
I gave her directions in caveman-speak: ‘Here … to the left … you are walking 200 meters … Welsherstrasse … right … you are arriving!’
She looked pleased with the information, but utterly bemused by my presentation. ‘… Danke?’ she replied and biked Platz-ward.
The purpose of language is to convey meaning, right? Well I conveyed some damn meaning. Thank God there’s only 26 days left til I’m fully fluent.