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Babel-ing On, Part 2

, , , | Right | August 14, 2020

One summer, I am working at a camping site where my grandparents used to live during the warmer months of the year. I’m the receptionist, so I take bookings via calls or face to face. A couple walks over to me one day. One of the customers says something in Dutch.

Me: *In English* “I’m sorry, but I don’t speak Dutch. Do you speak English?”

The second customer says something in German.

Me: *In English* “I’m sorry, I don’t speak German. Do you speak English?”

Still, they don’t understand. They try French and even Russian without success. I’ve taken both Japanese and Chinese in school, but the couple doesn’t know those languages. I took four years of Spanish before entering high school, though two years have already passed since then.

Me: *In broken Spanish* “Habla Español?”

[Customer #1] now excitedly starts talking in fluent Spanish. My coworker, who is still learning German, comes back from his break.

Me: *In Swedish* “GOOD GODS. HELP ME.”

Coworker: *In German* “How can I help you?”

Customer #2: *In English* “Finally, someone who understands! We’ve been trying to ask the lady if there’s a spot available.”

Me: *Under my breath* “What the f***?!”

Babel-ing On