Friday, January 18, 2013


I go months and even more than a year not speaking Slovak, and then I'm forced to do it twice in one week.  I use the word 'forced' because I'm not like my husband who jumps at the chance to use his German language skills.  I get red-faced and shy when put in a situation where I could access that dormant part of my brain.

Earlier this week, I helped the toothless Russian lady at work.  Today at a party at my kids' school, a lady I know who is married to a Czech guy and knows I used to live in Slovakia, approached me to tell me how she was going to introduce me to their newly arrived Czech nanny who doesn't speak English.

I scrambled to switch that part of my brain the "on" setting, and she quickly appeared to introduce us.  The mom I know speaks excellent Czech, so my face immediately burned red as we plunged right into it.  She laughed at my nervousness and left me to be a listening ear to her Czech nanny.

It actually helped that we were in an auditorium full of blaring music by a professional DJ and about two hundred dancing and yelling children.  It somehow felt easier to fudge my errors if I was screaming them.  It was also helpful when the nanny told me that the only language she speaks is Czech (surprising actually considering how multi-lingual most Europeans are); I felt she was much more sympathetic to my being so very 'nesikovna' (inept).

All in all, I hope she enjoyed having someone besides her host family who could understand her.  I also hope she forgets how I completely spaced on the word for Easter, describing it as that day when boys throw water on girls.  Her eyes lit up as she got what I was talking about, adding,"The day when boys beat the girls with sticks too!"  Yeah, that holiday.

I could never forget the beer.

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