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No, we didn't touch noses like this. But there were lots of smiles, mine and theirs, and for once there were people taking pictures of MEEEEE even though I did not feel at all like I was in a zoo. There were maybe twelve of them and they were eager to share their Dutch and German with me, their teachers stood by and corrected us all [mostly me] when we blew it lol

Started out like this:

Lady Camel was working her Royal Way down the line when a Wise Man came up behind me and attracted their attention. I guess they were buddies on their class field trip, looked like friends too, and I was charmed at that mostly because I bet they did not give race a second thought at all. Like everyone shouldn't. /soapbox

Remembering that kids never stop for you, you have to catch them with your camera and they are mostly a blur anyway:

She tried to climb in the window behind the H-Family:

But there was this nasty dude dressed not like a Roman soldier but like a City Hall Plaza Guard, and a fence and a Kerstmis-tree in the way too, so she settled for a side view:

One of them noticed my Obama cap and said, in English, "Are you an American?"
Brad: Ja [attempting Dutch.]

They all start babbling to each other [in several languages]: Look, an American!

Perhaps I was more exciting and fun than Lady Camel or the Holy Family for a moment, despite my lack of fur.

So they backed me up against the stairway and we had twenty questions:

Brad: I can count to ten in Dutch! [great hilarity ensues.]
Kids: No No !! [Nie! Nie!]
Kids proceed to go to 11, 12, up to 20. In three languages.
They: What is your name?
Brad: Brad.
Kids try to pronounce it in many languages. We all laugh. Shutters click.

Kids: Say something in English!
Brad [slowly]: Today the thick fog is coming from the North Sea. It is coming down the street.
Kids look dumfounded and disappointed: where's the really good stuff like maybe something about definitions of electron spin moments from nuclear physics?

Kids: Where do you live in America?
Brad: Ich wohne in die Stadt Boston.
Kids: You know German! He knows German!
Brad babbles some German, more laughter, they correct his mistakes. And he theirs, once or twice. Miracles happen lol

They {pointing at my cap}: Look! Obama!
Brad: I worked for him. In the election.
Kids: He is the President of America!
Adult: Er is the President-ELECT.
Kids: What is your name?

There is nothing like "Brad" in Dutch, I guess, so they rehearsed it a lot, which made me feel Christmasy.

We all avoided talking about Mr. Bush but I think at that point the camel snorted.
Or whatever it is they do... sneeze?

This kind of thing happened to me in Bethlehem last Fall, the Palestinian kids [same age and a bit older] knew perfect English and taught me how to count in Arabic, of which I remember not one woord / word [Dutch / English]. They surrounded me in the yard and they were jumping up and down and yelling, family members came out and their older sisters wanted to know if I were married... I'd rather talk about fog and camels.

But these kids [and those] are SOsoSO far ahead of me in languages, wish I'd had a lot more when I was in their grade, that early in school.

I wondered if the Oriental grrl in the yellow parka would rattle off some Chinese [or suchlike] at me, but she was very cool with her Dutch.

The whole happy event was a living Christmas Card / Language Lesson and I forgot all about the animals for a bit. After all, I'm not behind the fence every day eating hay, just those almond cookies and hot choc. Which we also shared.

Blessings Be.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 17th, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC)
Note for Nuri if I got here before youuu: this was a gift, to see your Arabic butterfly flitting around again, Arabic or any language you want lol
Dec. 19th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
Reminds me of when my distantly related cousin in Germany tried to pronounce my name. It was adorable. She could not make the 'ay' sound. Instead it came out like an 'i' sound. *giggles* Oh, and she refused to speak any English to me the entire time even though she was learning it in school. Even though I struggled and tried my best to speak German with her. I said "Ich weiss nicht" soooo many times because I didn't know always what she was asking me, hehe. Thankfully her mother was kind enough to speak in English with me (although I was too embarrassed to speak German with her).
Dec. 20th, 2008 12:12 pm (UTC)
Jawohl, ein von der ersten dinge ich habe in Gymnasium gelernt was "Ich weiss nicht." Sometimes I got "Why not?" back in Englisch and then that was fun, I got taught a mini-lesson.

There's a lot of Deutschesprache going on around here, the Dutch language has quite a bit of the same structure and some of the same worten. As I'm sure you know.

I'm finding out that, depending on what word it's in, there's more than one way to say IJ [which is all over the place here.] Sometimes IJ is like A in 'fame' then like Y in 'why', and I get a lot of attention when I pronounce it badly. Guess I'm a major tourist attraction for them, and I don't wanna even be a tourist at all! It's just until they fix me.

There's even a word JIJ here, as in 'what is YOUR evening like without me?' but I have to be real careful with that, because they still wear wooden shoes in parts of this nation and they know how to take them off to bang you if you have inadvertently been fresh with them haha.

Does your cousin still have trouble with 'ay', providing you are talking now?
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


kiota too late for the stars
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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