Ever since I can remember, I’ve been (trying) to learn German. I think I was 6 or 7 when I first learned how to count. From that point forward, there have been countless hours of how to construct sentences with “weil”, “dass” and so on. Yes, I know the verb goes at the end, but that’s proven to be so incredibly useless to me now.
We’ve been taught the same grammar rules year after year and not once were we given the opportunity to just SPEAK. That’s how, after all this time, I’m finally in Germany and I still ask people “Sprechen Sie Englisch?” for anything that requires more than “ein Bier, bitte” and “danke”.
We’ve learned about “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”, about the dreadful concentration camps, about the Berlin wall, about ostalgie, about everything… but it was always a story told without making us feel any connection to their present.
It’s been a month since I first arrived here, and so far what I’ve been doing is trying to get to know as many Brazilian people as I can, to improve my Portuguese and also because.. Let’s face it, they’re a load of fun. Recently, I’ve also met a very interesting German guy. During one of our fruitful talks about cans of tuna and other philosophical matters, he started singing a very popular (apparently) and old German song. We saw that as an opportunity for me to experience a genuine part of German culture, so we listened to many old (and not so old) hits that, for some weird reason, actually made me wish I’d understand what they were so joyfully singing about. It’s not like I haven’t listened to German music before, but it was nice having someone trying to explain what those songs meant to them as a nation and what childhood memories they bring, and frankly, this would be the first time I’ve felt close to anything that can be called “German”.
The first step toward this (still) fragile connection, though, must be the night in which Borussia played against Real and managed to qualify for the CL final. Just hearing the pronunciation of “R” in Borussia made my night. Well, that, and the overwhelming joy that flooded the streets of Dortmund just moments after it ended. It’s not like anyone was actually watching the game.
Germany, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.