Language Win

| June 15, 2014

Yesterday as the kids were leaving Sequoia’s party, a little girl, Emma, came up to me and asked (in German, of course) if I’d seen her pink jacket.  I had not.  I began helping her look for it and then attempted to dispatch Sequoia to her room in search of it.  Both girls insisted it was not upstairs.  Suddenly Emma began babbling about something I did not understand and gesturing in a manner that told me this was no longer about a jacket.  With Sequoia’s help, I learned that Emma was trying to tell me something about guinea pigs.  Guinea pigs.  I was now thoroughly confused: had she lost some guinea pigs in my house?  Had I seriously misheard an entire exchange about a pink jacket, and this had all been about some guinea pigs?  Please, let these be pink toy guinea pigs that fell out of a jacket.  Finally I just ushered the child out of my home, with neither a pink jacket nor guinea pigs in hand.  Ten minutes later, I found: Emma’s pink sweater.  On Sequoia’s windowsill.  Whatever the fuck the child was trying to tell me about her guinea pigs, I honestly  All that matters: I understood what she was communicating about her jacket.  And that, folks, is what we ex-pats call: a win.

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Category: In Germany A Broad blog, Linguistics, Shits & Giggles

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

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