- As a resident of a German speaking area in Switzerland, I'm obligated to learn German
- I want to understand what people are saying at church, without obligating others to translate for me.
- I want a richer understanding of the culture
- I believe learning a second language is a benefit to everyone.
Okay, I do want to learn German for the proper reasons, but I've had two experiences lately that have really solidified my desire to learn the language.
The first involved a man, his dog, and the tram police. There was an intense conversation which I presume pertained to the definition of a small dog (kleine hund). Small dogs are free. Large dogs you have to buy a ticket for. I realize this sounds boring. But the woman next to me kept giving me those "that guy is such an idiot" looks. Only, I didn't know which guy was supposed to be the idiot--the dog owner or the tram police guy. If only I spoke German!
The second also involved the tram. Daniel was asleep when we left the house, so I wasn't in the kinder wagen, but in the front part of the tram. It was quite crowded when we got on, but there was a seat next to a young, black woman. I sat down. Immediately, the old lady on the other side of the aisle got up and told me something. I'm not sure what, but she kept motioning for me to take her seat. Now, keep in mind, I had a seat. I was already seated.
She said something about the baby. (Baby=baby in German, so that's handy!) The only logical explanation I can come up with something racist. I mean, why would you offer your seat to someone who already had a seat unless there was a reason the seat I was in wasn't good enough?
So, now I'm learning German. I'll let you know what other interesting things I learn. For all I know, the tram cop and the dog guy were next door neighbors and were having a heated conversation about dandelion growth. (Swiss=pro-dandelion.) As for the old lady--well, I'll have to come up with a creative reason for her offer.