If normalcy involves…
…calling strangers and asking them in a language you don’t speak to move their car because it is blocking your newly acquired driveway
…overcoming insecurities and getting gas for the first time (without paying at the pump)
… getting my introverted self up to my first PTO meeting with the express purpose of meeting fellow parents
… going to a very German customs office to pick up Elliot’s winter jacket kindly shipped to us from our friends in the north
…navigating Amazon.de to get missing necessary items for the kids’ school shipped
…attending a two-day cross-culture training seminar (exceedingly helpful, btw)
…managing the emotions and roller coaster ride that is two kids at a new school doing new things any getting used to new schedules (it should surprise no one that Meredith came home today — exactly one week into her new school — asking if she can sleep over one of her new friend’s homes and sharing the happy news that the boys invited her to play fußball at recess).
The good news is that I am slowly picking up the confidence to try useful phrases and sayings that are helping me communicate my wants and needs to my new German neighbors and shopkeepers. (I’ve even been complimented on my pronunciation and lack of an accent, which was a definite boost).
The bad news is that I’m doing well enough that said neighbors and shopkeepers reply to me in quick and detailed German that I can’t for the life of me follow. Even if I try to use context or situational rationalization, it is too fast and too in-the-moment. I get flustered.
The result is that I have my daily small humiliation every time I have to pull the “Sprechen Sie Englisch?” card. But I still walk away with delicious bretzel, so in the end, I win.