“With languages, you are at home anywhere”

Although sometimes there are a few setbacks of living out of your suitcase and staying in hostels (snoring roommates, anyone?), so far I love the freedom that this life gives. I could go on and on about its advantages, but now let’s just take this one: probably the greatest thing in it is to meet wonderful people from all around the world.
Last night we had a little episode: it’s a six-bed apartment, and a small girl, maybe five years old, was sleeping next to me, only the two of us in this side of the big room.

Around 4am, I woke up a bit startled, looked up and this sweetie was touching my shoulder.
I smiled at her, took her hand and said “Hello!” Nothing smarter came into my mind than to ask if she spoke English.

After a second of waiting and thinking, she responded in German and said something where I didn’t fully understand the last word, only suspected what it might mean. But Gott sei Dank, she was talking Deutsch that I do speak, and not Portuguese or Chinese that I don’t!

So I briefly explained to her that I didn’t understand everything in German, and asked her to show me what she was trying to say, and from there on it went easy: ” Alles ist nass.” Everything is wet – she has peed in the bed.

The rest is routine: I arranged her bed so that she could continue sleeping in dry, father woke up and gave her clean pijamas, and by the time I came back from the bathroom, the girl already cuddled up in her bed, sweetly, I stroke her beautiful head, she smiled – ready for Dreamland again.

It’s only a truly ordinary, tiny story, not even super-interesting and it happens every day in families, yet I wanted to put it down as a reminder that it’s great to know languages, because you never know when and where will you use them.

“With languages, you are at home anywhere” – Edmund de Waal

Two Towers in Prague
View from the hostel room: Jindřišská tower and the church of St. Henry in Prague

ps: Mentioned snoring roommates: a few days ago there was 2 boys in the room, from somehwere in Asia, who did make quite some noise with their packing, moving around in the room in shoes with loud soles, and one of them acting as a tractor while sleeping… One afternoon, guess what: they gave me a pair of earplugs as a present! How considerate, isn’t it? 🙂 Thanks guys, it’s working pretty well!

I am curious: has a similar story happened to you when you unexpectadly had to use a foreign language, and you were grateful that you were able to?


More Stories 

More Travel posts

*****Online busking (or more elegantly: crowdfunding)*****
Váci street Budapest, 2019 December. My Guestbook and biscuit box. Yes it’s raining and yes I am singing in the street.
End of 2019:

I decided to settle down in Hungary again, after 20 years of wandering about. It’s a bit bigger challenge to get the show rolling than I’ve thought, therefore I am singing in the streets as a temporary solution, to have food and a decent roof above my head and other such basics, so the beginnings are quite exciting… The whole story: Cup of tea for Andrea!

If you like my work and want to support, there are several ways to give me a kickstart.

  1. For a singer, the best support of course, is booking her for shows,
  2. Listen to and download her songs
  3. You can also throw some love at PayPal.me/GerakAndrea (no registration needed, cards are also accepted), or
  4. Bank transfer: IBAN: HU46 120105320021373500100000 SWIFT: UBRTHUHBXXX Raiffeisen Bank, Gerák Andrea

Thank you very much, Andrea & Karma will love you forever!

Andrea Gerák (text, photos)

Comments, questions, booking or collab requests, fan letters, love letters…:


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