This had never happened to me before. Every time I talk to Hungarians, they are happy that I speak to them in their mother tongue. It does not matter whether it is the vendor at the bakery, who really does not speak much English, the waiter in a restaurant who speaks English well, or my friend, who is fluent in English. They are all happy when they can speak Hungarian.

Not so this time. I walked down a touristic street in Tihany and stopped to look at some sunhats. Immediately, a lady jumped up and, within 30 seconds, presented me with 10 different hats. I couldn´t even think of what I wanted. And yet, I didn´t like the hats. „Nem tetszik”, I said. I don´t like it. The woman looked at me. „We should speak German”, she said in a tone that was clearly offended. „I can speak German.” She had heard me speak in German to my family earlier.

Wow. Here was someone who was offended, because I had talked to her in her mother tongue – in her own country! That had never happened to me before, and probably won´t in the future. How weird. By the way, I did not buy any of the sunhats, the way she tried to sell them to me as too obnoxious.

| This post was written by our director Mechthild von Knobelsdorff who is a German expat herself. All our classes are given by native teachers.