amw (amw) wrote,

  • Music:

early post

Mainz is nice. It reminds me of Holland. Middle-class crowd and lots of stores and interesting architecture. I was having a good time right up until i walked into a burger joint and made a fool of myself trying to order. I don't know what it is, but i get utterly mortified when i have to drop back to English, and aside from having "real" conversations i haven't had to do it yet. But here i couldn't even get my words out to order food, and i felt like a complete tool. To make matters worse, the girl at the counter kept asking me to repeat myself, so what little i did say in German (or English) i felt like she couldn't even understand that. It probably didn't help that there were a bunch of surly teenagers around. I was honestly about to have an anxiety attack from the shame and embarrassment. And i know there are a million tourists here who can't speak a lick of German and won't even try, but that doesn't make me feel any better.

This happened when we took a high school field trip to Aachen. We walked into a massive record store so i tried to ask if they had the Immortals' Mortal Kombat album and i just froze up completely. Being on the border they understood my Dutch, but i felt like i could never show my face there again.

I don't know why it's such a big deal for me. It just is. I hate being the outsider, and one of the weirdest things about Europe is that although culturally i was brought up in a similar way to most people here, there's always been a language barrier because i was also brought up monolingual. Ironically i have my mom to blame for that (if i'm to believe my dad). He said he was all for us being brought up bilingual, but mom didn't want it because dad couldn't speak any other languages. Eh whatever. Even if i did speak perfect Dutch i still would've fucked up my German today.

Maybe it also kinda embarrasses me because i spent 4-5 years of my childhood here, but because we were in the British Army we only ever socialized with other Brits. Being a resident who didn't learn the language is so much worse. The funny thing is, i'm not a proponent of a national language. I think it's bullshit they force Canadians to learn French, and i think it's bullshit rednecks want to force Spanish-speaking Americans to learn English. People should be able to speak whatever the fuck they like, it shouldn't matter. But then when it comes to me... yeah, then something runs deeper. Seems i've never really fit in anywhere...

I want to get really fucking drunk, but unlike Frankfurt, there aren't half a dozen tobacconist/liquor stores on every block, so i might have to go to a pub. And make a goddamn fool of myself again. Urgh, confidence shattered. But i refuse to go to a fucking backpackers or an English pub because that would just be complete capitulation.
Tags: crazy, travel

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