Thursday, November 29, 2007

Understanding Is Good

Late this afternoon, I went to our friendly little pharmacy (or "apotek") to pick up a few items. Pharmacies in Denmark, incidentally, are kind of like all-purpose well-being stores, and you can get a lot of handy doodads there besides just prescriptions. They're quite official, however, a real take-a-number-please operation. Anyway, I had a couple of questions about some stuff I was buying, and I did it ALL in Danish!!!! No "I don't speak Danish well. Do you speak English?" for me! I got through my whole transaction without a word of English, and it felt amazing.

"Hello. I have these."
"Yes. Do you have the prescription?"
"Yes. It is here."
"One moment."
(Little stock-ticker loop running underneath my thoughts the whole time: pleasedon'taskmeanythingcomplexpleasedon'taskmeanythingcomplexpleasedon'taskmeanythingcomplexpleasedon'taskmeanythingcomplexpleasedon'taskmeanythingcomplex)
"Okay, here you go. Do you want the big one or the small one?"
"Hmmm. That is the small one?"
"I will have it. And I am pregnant. This is okay for me?"
"Yes, it is good."
"Great. Thank you."
"158 kroner, please."
"This is my money."
"Okay. And here is your change."
"Thank you. Bye bye!"

I felt like a freaking Rhodes scholar. I think I was actually smiling. While I am a tiny bit perplexed that there was NO applause when I walked out the door, it didn't matter. I did it! I did it! I did it!


NotQuiteDanish said...

You're doing better then I am, Rhodes Scholar! I made a big effort in a shop this week and was answered in English!

BTW, you've not found any dental floss in your expeditions have you? In my many searches I've found tooth pick things but no floss. I'm starting to get flashes of a 3-day-old used cheese grater.. :(

EKinDK said...

Yes! Go to Tiger -- Denmark's answer to the dollar store. I've seen floss there; in fact, quite a divine selection of toothpaste, brushes and all sorts of dental accoutrements. Let me know how it goes!

Regi said...

Hi, I'm an American living in Denmark too. (I've been here for about a year.) I found your blog through a google search.

Just wanted to drop a note to say that I know exactly how you feel about the 'triumph' of being able to do every day things, like going to the apotek, without relying on English. I took the car in for service a few weeks ago and managed to do everything in Danish -- I was on a high for a week! :)