Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bumbling Through

Today is a slow day in my office. Probably like most offices. The good news is, I have actually been able to accomplish a lot, the non-work highlight of which was a call to Amazon Germany to unravel the mystery of my order for my nieces.

Earlier today, I got an email notification, totally in German, I think telling me that one of my items was shipped and the other was back ordered. When you are sending gifts to siblings, it is never good for it to appear that only one kid was gifted.

After located the customer service number, I placed my international call. The first time I listened to the automated greeting several times, praying that a non-response would direct me to a person that could help me. This strategy back-fired and I was hung up on. Crap. I redialed and this time I began pressing random numbers immediately following the automated "Guten Tag" greeting. By some stroke of luck, I was sent to a customer service rep who greeted me (shockingly) in German. Crap. "Umm, hi...do you speak English?".

Fortunately for me, most other countries realize that Americans are typically not good at linguistics and adapt to accommodate us and this representative was no exception. We muddled through together and I think I selected an alternative gift for my niece that will hopefully be on its way shortly.

I think I should be embarrassed that I can only speak one language fluently. If I try really hard when talking to someone that cuts me lots of slack I can get by in Spanish, sort of, maybe...on a good day. And I can read Hebrew, as long as it is in block print, like in text books, as opposed to script, which is how most things are actually written. Not that I can tell you what it means, and I certainly couldn't have a conversation, but I can read it.

To make matters worse, four and a half of my nieces and nephews are bilingual. Two and a half (the half being my four-year-old nephew) speak Hebrew in addition to perfect English and the other two speak both Hungarian and English like champs. They all laugh hysterically when they try to teach me anything in their alternate languages.

I am sure in a few years LP will be spitting foreign curse words at me thanks to her big cousins. Yet another thing to look forward to...

1 comment:

Shari said...

You know all I can do is swear in German, count to 10 in Japanese and muddle through some basic Spanish phrases.

The swearing in German? Because my family is of German decent and cursing is the only thing to be passed down. So it goes.