I learned basic German for a trip to Munich, Salzburg, and Innsbruck back in 2017, and really enjoyed speaking it. But maybe I should start before this…
As a kid, my father had friends from his work that were a German couple who had immigrated to the United States. They invited our family over for Christmas every year. It was usually in January before they took down their tree. We had lovely appetizers of cheese, crackers, fruit, veggies, and German cookies (lebkuchen, stollen, etc) together. They played German Christmas music on cassette tapes, had little incense smoker people, and their tree was lit with real candles.
Sure, I know about the country of Germany, their country’s cool history, about German beer, and German food like sausage/sauerkraut/potatoes. But I think one of the root reasons I’m interested in learning German, is because of this lovely couple who is like another set of grandparents for me. The husband passed away a few years ago, but we still visit the wife around Christmas. After I visited Munich back in 2017, I did speak a little German with her and it was very sweet to be able to do that!
When I visited Germany and Austria in 2017, I learned basic German to go on that trip. I could check in to my hotels, ask directions, order food, and have small conversations. Sometimes it felt like my German was great- and I had conversations with locals that turned out to be really cool. Other times, I felt in over my head, people ignored me and spoke to me in English, or spoke very quickly and I had no idea what was going on. In general I liked learning German, but at the time I was already learning 7 languages and didn’t want to over-do it.
So German has been on my languages-to-learn wishlist for a while now! I have a big birthday this year (I’m turning 30! Yahoo!), and I decided that there’s no time like the present to learn German. I wasn’t sure if I would drop any languages at some point, to make room for new ones. But I still enjoy the languages that I’m learning, and have reasons to continue with them.
My plan is to have an every-other-week rotation with my lower priority languages- Icelandic, Polish, ASL, as well as German, and Japanese now. I don’t have any current travel trips planned, or a reason in my life (work, relationship, etc) to learn it at a higher priority. So I’ll learn a little here and there, and enjoy myself. I’ll see where German takes me!