Friday, October 30, 2009

Broken doorbell, broken German

Have you ever had a conversation with someone only to realize long after the conversation is over what the other person was trying to tell you? This happens to me all the time in Germany. The problem is that I currently only speak a little German, but I want to try to converse with people in German if at all possible. My stubbornness often lends itself to confusion for all parties involves. Today, the doorbell rang and a young man was standing there with a parcel. This is how it all went down:

Mail Guy: Hallo! (hello!) Followed by a bit of German that I can only assume meant something like "I have a delivery for Frau Koch"

I take the box from him.

Mail Guy: More German words I don't understand, although I pick out the word hund (dog).

I point at Emma, smile, and laugh.

(Sidenote: Emma was barking like crazy which is how I knew that the guy was at the door)

Mail Guy: Frau Koch?

Me: Ja! (Yes!)

He hands me the electronic signature pad and I sign.

Me: Chao! (Goodbye!)

I begin to close the door...

Mail Guy: Points at something on the side of the door and says something that I couldn't even begin to understand.

I stare at him in confusion as he waits for my reply.

Me: Ok...Danke! (OK...thank you!) Chao!

I smile and shut the door.

I then went inside and sat down only to realize a few minutes later that he was asking about the doorbell. There isn't a doorbell here and I think he wanted me to tell him where the doorbell was. I told my father-in-law this story and he just laughed and said I should have as the guy if he spoke English. Oh well. Maybe next time, or maybe I'll just learn how to say "the doorbell is broken, we've replaced it with a dog." Any thoughts...


  1. I loved this -- I love conversations with the public, and when it's in German, even funnier.

    Keep writing, sweetie.


  2. This sort of conversation happens all the time. I'm sure they will be come more amusing as my German improves.

    The more you know, the more you can confuse yourself.

  3. Amy, I think you definitely need to respond that you replaced it with the dog!! I'm going to use that myself.