The lighter side of diversity

A few years ago I was in Germany, somewhere near Düsseldorf; visiting with a nice Romanian-German family.
The plan was to stay there for a few days then drive (all of us) to Romania to visit with our families.

I looked forward to this trip because I’ve never been to Germany before.
The family I was visiting moved there in the early 90’s. By the looks of it, they have integrated well in the German way of life.
They were friendly and generous with their time, trying to answer all my questions about the country, culture, food, etc.

There was only one problem: I only understood part of the answers. They spoke half Romanian, half German.
I kept asking for translation; but then you can only ask so many times, “What did you say?”, and “What does (German word) means?”

As I said: very nice people; and obviously they have integrated so well in their new home country.

German banker practicing his English
Days passed and it was time to get ready for the car trip. So we went to a local bank – I needed to exchange currency.
I was in the bank for less than ten minutes and I was smiling.
Never mind the exchange was not in my favor: I was giving them more dollars and getting fewer euros.
(Not a fair exchange!)
Still – that didn’t take away my smile.
Why was I in such a good mood? The banker spoke English.
Yes! Since I landed in Germany, it was the first time I understood a whole sentence!

You have an accent!
Personally (the polyglot that I am ; ) I try my best to keep from mixing languages.
It works most of the time.
But then I found out I have a different type of impediment.

This past weekend I was on Skype – talking with someone from my family.
At some point he is telling me I have an accent.
Since he lives in London, I thought he is talking about British vs American English.

Then I realized we weren’t talking in English. He meant I have an accent in Romanian.
The language I grew up with?!
Now I have an accent in all the languages I speak!!
(Well, hopefully it’s a nice accent : )


/Comments/in Fun,Learning/by Mariana Fieraru
Mariana Fieraru
Mariana Fieraru, an Eastern European transplant, fell in love with her new home shortly after landing in New York. She "discovered" pizza! Years later she still loves pizza. And so do her two feathered-kids, Sunny and Flipper

Mariana worked on both, the east and the west coast.
Big or small, each project she worked on helped define the importance of gaining and sustaining a competitive edge in an increasingly complex business environment.

Business know-how, love of teaching and writing – all combined in 2006 to form OBI.
Its mission: to make learning fun! And easy.

Through its training, consulting, and publications OBI builds bridges of knowledge to take you from where you are to
where you want to go. Using a mix of serious, informal, analytical, and optimistic approach, OBI truly makes learning fun.

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