While I grew up hearing and speaking German,
the years of not hearing it and speaking it
on a regular basis
took their toll.
So I could still read German without too much problem,
but in conversation, the words simply weren’t there any more.
But most of the time,
in the hotels and restaurants
and on the streets,
when I asked what a word was,
I would then recognize that word when told it,
and the recognition was fun—
in a reclaiming familiar kind of way.
And over the course of our time in Europe,
more and more words fell into place,
and it was wonder-full, while we had the rent car,
to have the radio on,
and listen to the news,
and even the commercials,
and sink into the language
and feel it soaking into me,
I wasn’t translating.
Oh, and I just have to say,
it was truly ridiculous
how proud I felt
to be complimented on my German by Germans—
to be recognized by them
as someone connected to them—
as someone who, somehow, belongs.
Maybe it was like Pentecost!