So, yes, life in Switzerland. An update.
A couple of younger women who live in the flat – I mean, apartment – below ours just asked if they could take our dog, Sammi, for a run or jog tonight. Through hand signals and making gestures on the wall, they indicated they would have the dog back in an hour. Nine o’clock, they said emphatically.
I’m reasonably certain that’s what they communicated. It took a while to establish that much.
So, I just handed them the leash and felt like a parent letting a child go on a date. It was hard to know what was happening because my German was better than their English. And trust me that that’s a frightening situation.
The women seemed nice. But then so did the boys who dated my daughters. I trusted them about as much.
I introduced myself as “Douglas,” because “Doug” for some reason always produces puzzled looks. But in response to “Douglas,” the younger one said, “Oh, Michael Douglas.”
And I thought, “Okay, isn’t he like 70 years old or something? Do I really look that old to you?” Not wanting to know the answer to that question, I returned our attention to the dog.
And I said with an excited look, “Wir gehen nach Berlin…eine Woche.” Which, roughly translated, means “We’re going to Berlin … for a week!” I was hoping they would express interest in taking the dog while we were away, and – oh my! – they seemed to understand and said, “Ja!” The younger one said something about having “flexible hours,” but she could have meant something else entirely. I’m not sure.
You can’t imagine how good it feels to make a connection like this, to speak to other people in an utterly alien tongue, and to have someone say, “Ja,” as though that person understands completely, even when it’s not clear that she does.
I’m making progress. Even my language teacher agrees. She teaches six year olds during the day, and tonight she said to me – in English, of course – “You’re really doing well,” thinking maybe that I couldn’t handle that complicated sentence in German.
I felt prouder than I have since first grade, when Mrs. Myer told me that I had mostly mastered the first chapter of “Dick and Jane.”
(Update: Sammi was returned at 9:40. Mmmm. Is mostly tight-lipped about what happened while she was out. Am not sure these two women can be trusted. Will talk to her further – in English – about exactly what happened.)