Last night, I had a friend over for dinner. We sat on the back porch, chatting and eating, listening to the birds. Nothing special, just pasta slightly doctored and some cheap supermarket wine, which is usually quite tasty over here.
On the way out to the car (I had to go into the garage to collect my coffee mug off my bicycle for the dishwasher), we (ok, I) got to chatting with Ernst and Helga, who were sitting on their porch, drinking Beer (Bier hier), which Ernst gladly raised to me in cheerful German happiness, as we chatted. A young neighbor was over talking to them from the sidewalk.
Ernst and Helga are intrepid conversationalists with me. I would have given up ages ago and just smiled and said, "Hallo" but they continue on trying to chat every time I see them. Always seeming happy to see me, even if I sound dumber than a box of rocks.
Through my fumbling German, I communicated that yes, I was riding to work, and they asked, "Every day?" I said, "Hoffentlich!" (Hopefully!) Learned that washing dishes was "spülen" not "waschen" and shoveling was "schaufeln" and muscles "Muskel" auf Deutsch as Helga showed me hers from her frequent "schaufeln" activity in the yard.
Much later into the stumbling conversation, Helga announced that their young neighbor spoke English. I thought, a teacher! But Ernst stood up and said, "Englisch ist verboten hier!" I haven't heard that before, but it explains why they lure me over with English-speaking children, but only speak German. I said I didn't want to lose my house for speaking English. So I'll continue in my Deutsch.
I better be studying now.
(By the way, the title to the post is, "Speaking with my landlords")