Forcing English on Unsuspecting People

…or Globalization has it’s perks.

Being a foreigner in a new city is not new to me. Being a foreigner in a city where I don’t know the language…well, okay also not new. But knowing that I will be living here and still don’t know the language, that is quite another story.

I have met a lot of new colleagues this week, as well as people in pharmacies, restaurants, cafes, photo shops, book stores, real estate agencies, etc and I’d say about 90% of them are native Germans. Of that 90% about 98% of them speak English, and pretty damn well. For this, I am grateful, but not without a measure of sympathy for those who are not anticipating an English lesson for the day when I approach them and confidently say, “Sprechen Sie Englisch?”

Most people downplay their level of English telling me they really can’t speak, (in perfect spoken English,) or that for me, they will try. And I speak with them patiently as they grasp for the right word, and sometimes I even find it for them, but for the most part I am helpless as they repeat a German word to me over and over asking, “What is it in English?”

I must say, though, that if this experience is teaching me anything, it is that the giant evil monster called Globalization, which I have been theoretically opposed to for so long, is really quite an amazing thing. The fact that I am able to travel across the world, so far from home, in a land I have never been with people I have never met, who speak a language so different from my own, and still am able to manage fine is pretty amazing. Add onto that that I also can buy my favorite eye shadow, hand lotion, or dress brand wherever I go and it just makes you want to look to the globalization gods and thank them for all they’ve done for mankind.

Maybe that is taking it too far, but at the very least, I want to thank the British for spreading their language far and wide across the globe so that today, I can wander aimlessly anywhere I please and make due with my native tongue.

Hey Baby...Getty Images and someone's poor photoshop skills got it right!

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