Around the World on a Few Magical Phrases
As a privileged guest in over forty countries, I always try to pack basic foreign language skills. I’m not talking about investing in a Rosetta Stone course for a two-day jaunt, but rather the simple gesture of memorizing phrases such as: “hello,” “please,” and “thank you” that will seamlessly bridge a pathway to positive encounters. Best of all? There’s no need to stress over the precise pronunciation.
Case in point, on a recent journey through Poland to Hungary to Austria/Germany, I struggled less with my Polish and Hungarian (!) than I did with my German, where “thank you” stuck to the roof of my mouth before oscillating off my tongue in a tangle of incorrect vowels. On more than one occasion (I wish I could blame on Oktoberfest), I actually blurted out what sounded a whole lot like, “Thank you…Donkey,” leaving my husband to shield his red face.
We eventually queried our hotel receptionist in Vienna as to the degree of offense my mispronunciation might be causing. To my delight, he did not laugh, assuring me that no one would be the least bit insulted or confused by my efforts at gratitude.
So take it from the donkey lady herself, give the native language a gallant whirl and disregard any smirks or raised eyebrows (if only from your traveling companion). I promise your display of respect will supercede any enunciation gaffes…
40 countries??!!! You are the world traveler I dream about being.
I am fortunate beyond belief, working for an incredible company that affords me both travel benefits and ample vacation time to enjoy them. I hope your traveling dreams come true… Thanks so very much for your continued support!! XO
I love this… besides a writer… I really wanted to be a flight attendant. In Jr. High, we had a class called Career Exploration This is what I remember, back in my day it required 2 years of college and one forgein language but two was better! My friend who retired from the police dept. became a flight attendant several years ago and she told me that the training was far harder than the one she went through at the police academy! She actually offered to help get my foot in the door at the airlines she was working for and I was tempted but I was newly married and had young children and soooo I will just have to live vicariouly through you!
Come along anytime you want! I’ll save a good seat for you!! 🙂
You hit the nail on the head with this one. I find that if you make an effort to speak to people in their own language, they are usually very forgiving. Thanks for the follow. I am enjoying your blog, and look forward to following yours as well.
Thank you so much Naomi! Am in love with your blog, getting lost in your amazing photos as well…
Thank you for the chuckle this morning, a chuckle of empathy, I might add. So humbling to speak in another language. I feel my brain cells freeze in a gridlock at times.
Yes! The “simple gesture” that is a priceless signal to our hosting countries that we value and wish to learn about them and experience their life, that we wish to connect. Thank you for another delightful and wise reminder to open up. xo