I’ve spoken more German in the past week in Mexico than I have in the past seven years.
It started at the campsite in Tulum. Juan’s daughter lives in Vienna, so upon hearing that I’d studied German and have a desire to live in Vienna he switched our conversation into German. I followed suit and we carried on in a Spangermenglish mixture for the rest of my stay there. Also in Tulum, Juan introduced me to his friends who were Mexican and Swiss, so German came back into play. Then on my city tour of Merida the tour guide in training found out I’d learned German and, to my surprise, switched to talking to me in German. So again I carried on with him in German.
I haven’t used my German in years. Last year I was shy to admit that I even used to speak it, knowing that I had no confidence whatsoever in my abilities anymore. So why am I using it now in Mexico? I still lack confidence and don’t speak it with Germans I meet, but something about speaking it with other people whose first language is not German is encouraging me. I also think that since I’m attempting to pick up and use Spanish, the language part of my brain is very active right now. And in my attempt to speak Spanish, I often end up recalling a German word instead of the Spanish word. Hopefully this means that if I do end up in a German-speaking nation, I will be able to regain my faded language skills fairly quickly.
But if you had told me before I left that Mexico would make me speak German again I would have thought you were crazy.