she was just trying to be nice

Sometimes I get the feeling that when (some) strangers speak to me, when I’m not overjoyed at their intrusion into my general peace that they wonder whether or not I can speak or understand German.

Yesterday, after walking a half an hour in the pouring rain, one of the neighbors caught me as I was trying to unload and deconstruct our monster of a stroller. First she asked me if I lived in the building. Then she verified the floor. After staring a bit, she went to pick up her mail. And then she came back…

I figured she was assessing my level of German to adjust her eventual complaint about something for Mittelstufe II or whatever. I hope you aren’t planning to leave your stroller in the hallway. Can’t you get your child to shut up because I don’t want to wake up at 6:30am? Is that your child? I’m calling the Jugendamt. etc.

But all she asked, after peering into the stroller, was: Is it a boy or a girl?

After an awkward silence, she went upstairs. I guess she was just trying to be nice. Who knew all you had to do was have a kid and people start being friendly. I’ve met more old Turkish couples over the past month than I have in the past three years. Maybe it’s also the weather… People don’t usually smile this much in this town, ever.

Our girl is smiling too.




  1. Rezwan said,

    Thursday 10 May 2007 at 1:32 am

    She is a cutie! How old is she?

    I sometimes am baffled by some of the German’s initial communication. A couple of days ago I put my car in front of a busy parking entrance. Suddenly a women came and hurled a number of sentences on me. I was trying to figure out why she was complaining as i could initially only hear the words “Das ist nich in Ordung…ich bin hier fuer ein viertel stunde”. What I could fathom after looking around that she was on the queue (as the parking was full) and her car was parked in the right hand side (I deemed it as stationary). Only she had to mention that to me and trust on my action. I certainly would not supersede the lady. But instead I was so perplexed with her words I did not even had the time to say sorry.

    I think she is not an impolite person only lacking the communication skill.

  2. sattva said,

    Thursday 17 May 2007 at 12:01 pm

    hi rezwan

    she’s now 10 weeks old. and it seems like she’s growing a cm a week…

    i agree with you on communication skills. for some reason “hello” or “excuse me” seems to be an anathema for some folks in this town.

  3. desyl said,

    Tuesday 19 June 2007 at 10:04 am


  4. Rashunda said,

    Sunday 24 June 2007 at 8:49 pm

    Each time I see a photo of your girl my ovaries start screaming. Oy vey!

  5. sattva said,

    Monday 25 June 2007 at 2:24 pm

    lol rashunda

    pics of some crying square headed babies in dirty diapers can cure that problem!

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