I've never embraced travelling to a country on my own that doesn't speak English as it's first language. I think it's definitely part of the adventure and completely worthwhile but I tell you what it is tiring. On Friday, 5th December, I had my biggest sleep ever. 17hours! I think that would rival my latest nephew who is 3 weeks old!
Travelling for 27hours (21hours flying, 6 hours of stop over) I managed to get about 12hours of sleep which was miraculous, but to land and be confronted by about 2% of the population speaking English; that was a challenge.
I became so instantly tired trying to absorb and code break as much of the language as I could. Looking for anyone who could help. By nightfall I was keen for television but all I encountered was German. I got excited when NCIS and CSI Miami came on as I thought American TV; downtime for my brain but it was dubbed in German. I resorted to YouTube runs of Karl Stefanovic's hilarity on breakfast tele and listening to music to gain the English I craved.
Still now 5 days into my trip I'm craving English. I feel like a mute, unable to communicate and acutely aware of how an ESL person would feel in Australia. It's tough!
I have regular visions of meeting a fellow Aussie where I can yell, "Hey! How you going mate? What's news? Let's have a beer!" I cannot wait to see my mate in Vienna and speak English. I have been lucky enough to encounter a lot of English in beautiful Lucerne, but I'm still keen for a proper English chit chat, idioms and all.
Yesterday I encountered stunning scenery as my train meandered through the Swiss Alps and ventured through Germany and Austria namely Salzburg before arriving in Vienna. I've been in this stunning city before, I've witnessed the remarkable kindness and good humour of its people and I'm so pleased to be back. I'm also ridiculously happy that today I get the opportunity to chat with an old friend from my London days, whom I can speak incessant English to. Hooray!
It is funny though how as a writer our greatest asset, language, becomes our greatest weakness and we fall at the mercy of the kindness of others. To me that is an adventure and lesson within itself and God's way of forcing us to break down our own comfortability barriers to achieve the basics. Everybody needs humility like that.
Have a good day. Aud wiedersehn!