The only times I speak German are in my German class, shopping or ordering lunch and bits and pieces at work. I rarely have spontaneous conversation with strangers on the street. But today I did, with a child.
I was walking through the Platz, where heaps of kids play, on my way home from the U-Bahn station and a little girl about 9 or 10 ran up to me and politely asked, ‘Entschuldigen, Haben Sie Kinder?’ ‘Nein,’ I replied, ‘Ich habe keine Kinder.’ Oh’, she said and thought for a second before asking,’Haben Sie Freunden mit Kinder?’. ‘Nein’ I regretfully replied, ‘Tut mir leid’. ‘Danke schön’ she said as she ran off.
I’m not entirely sure what her enquires were all about. Perhaps she was looking for new kids to play with. But I felt on top of the world having successfully navigated a spontaneous conversation with a child even though it was very basic. Then it hit me that I look enough to have kids that could be potential playmates for this 10 year old – and then I felt very old.