http://www.one.org Dixie Peach: Music to my ears

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Music to my ears

This afternoon found me walking down the street to Karstadt to get another cord for one of our phones. Karstadt likely isn't the most economical place to purchase phone cords but I didn't feel like walking further down the block to Saturn. After my purchase I came out with the intention to walk across the street to the market square to go to the ATM machine and buy some grilled chicken from the chicken lady. She is not this chicken lady.

There's something about being one of the few Americans in Magdeburg. I can hear English, especially North American English from yards and yards away and such was the case as I stood in front of Karstadt making sure I had my wallet in my handbag. I could see an older man and woman walking along with a younger man who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the bratwurst he was eating and the older man was fiddling with a camera and saying something to the woman. In English! At least at that moment it sounded like English.

I wasn't 100% sure because a couple streetcars happened to be passing at that moment so as they approached I circled back behind trying to hear them but also trying not to look like a nosy freak. They discussed the camera's batteries (their being dead is probably the fault of me not being able to locate my camera's battery charger) and I debated whether or not to speak to them. Surely they'd get a kick out of meeting another American, wouldn't they? I went ahead and made the assumption that they were American instead of Canadian. I'm presumptuous like that.

The younger man mentioned to them that batteries could be bought right there at Karstadt and I wanted to add "Yeah, up on the third floor - turn right when you get off the escalator!" but I kept hesitating. I'm just not good at approaching strangers for any reason. I kept facing the street, trying to steal glances now and then, still not making a move towards them. Finally they moved along towards the store's door and my chance was gone. Rats. What would have been so bad with approaching them and asking where they're from and what they're doing? Their type are so rare around here - I could go years before I found another American tourist on the street.

Wait! They didn't go in. They're walking this way!

So I did it. I smiled and walked up to them and said "Excuse me. Y'all wouldn't happen to be American, would you? I heard you speaking English.".

They smiled back and said they were and I must be too judging by my English. They told me they were from Minnesota (heh...guessed right that they were American) visiting their grandson, the bratwurst eating younger man who is studying at the university in Magdeburg on an exchange program with his university in the US. I told them that I just don't hear native English very often and when I heard them speaking it I really wanted to find out who would be here from America. Magdeburg isn't exactly a tourist magnet.

We talked a bit longer - I told them why I was in Germany and how I met my husband and they told me they were enjoying their visit to Magdeburg and found it to be a very nice town and then it was time to let them go on with their sightseeing. The grandmother gave me a hug (who knew I could be so charming so quickly?) and they were on their way and I went off in search of the chicken lady.

See? What passes for laziness in me not wanting to walk futher down the block to Saturn to save a few bucks on a phone cable turned out to be a fortuitous occasion. I spent more money but I got a grandma hug out of it and they get to tell their friends back home about the lady from Mississippi they met on a street in Magdeburg.

10Comments:

Blogger christina said...

Aww, that's sweet. I'm also really reluctant to approach people when I hear them speaking English (happens once in a blue moon here, I tell ya) and haven't done it too many times. Good thing you took the chance!

Once when we were living closer to the city two young men approached me in our street and asked in broken English if I could understand them because they didn't know German and wanted to find the local youth hostel. After I told them how to get there they said "Wow, your English is really good!" Hee! I should hope so. :-)

11:25 PM  
Blogger Mr. Fabulous said...

How do you know she hugged you because you were charming? Maybe you smelled like bratwurst...

12:19 AM  
Blogger MPC said...

I know what you mean. I'm shy about approaching strangers too. I'm glad you had a nice chat and got a hug! I always knew you were charming!

12:35 AM  
Blogger JT said...

It's that same sexy Mississippi accent that I fell in love with. Guys dig that.

1:48 AM  
Blogger Haddock said...

I hear English quite often in Marburg and Frankfurt, but I normally just stay quiet and earwig. You get to hear some funny stuff sometimes! :)

9:18 AM  
Blogger traveller one said...

Ok ok I have to admit it--- I almost ALWAYS say hello to people speaking English here in Tirana. It's not difficult and you get to experience a rather nice moment!

3:45 PM  
Blogger Expat Traveler said...

I'd say I also pick up on where people are from and ask them more information. IT's just fun. USually here I can pick up who is from the US. And if they speak french, I ask them where they are from, but that's usually a given where. Glad you took that step because it sounded like it made your day!

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Belinda said...

I love how you busted out with the "y'all".

I still sometimes have a texas twang when I speak...I catch myself saying.

ach neeeeee du! ally'all better be freakin' kidding.

LOL

I get excited when I see people here from Malaysia and Singapore and I don't care what they're doing I'm like "HEeeeeeyy" lol

5:33 PM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

What a great story, Dixie. It just shows to go ya that Serendipity can happen anytime, anywhere!

11:53 PM  
Blogger beege said...

So it makes me rather oddly happy that they were Minnesotans. I'M a Minnesotan, I suppose. It's almost like you got to meet me! :)

5:24 AM  

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