Thursday, June 01, 2006

The old man at the supermarket

I just had the most delicious thing happen while out at the supermarket ...

I walked in front of a lovely old man pushing his trolley, I smiled and apologised saying I was sorry. He replied with a very English 'That's quite all right' ... words that plunged me down into Alice's rabbit hole.

You see, sometimes when someone unexpectedly speaks English to me it almost seems that I have suddenly become fluent in Dutch, so fluent that I imagine it's English ... my secret dream, learning to speak Nederlands without all this pain.

The old man caught up on us in the frozen food section and began chatting. He had arrived in Belgium during the war and stayed on. He was surprised to find out I was a kiwi ... his grandson-in-law is too.

Despite the fact that there are only 4 million kiwis, we're everywhere ... even on that plane crash in some remote corner of the Himalayas.

We talked a while and I gave him my phone number and email address. He thought his grandson-in-law just might like to give me a call.

7 comments:

Shashikiran Mullur said...

I am not sure that we have a Kiwi community in Bangalore; we would love to welcome some. You appear to be an incredibly friendly people!

Judy said...

I remember as a child of 9 waking up and running excited to my mom.'I just dreamt in Nederlands'I said. We both still remember that moment because I felt so displaced not being able to read any books over here.From then on it got better and better.

woman wandering said...

I'm almost sure there will be at least one kiwi in Bangalore, at very least ... we're everywhere, despite only having a population of 4 million. Friends tease me that there can't be any kiwis left at home.

Dreaming in Nederlands ... lol I think that might be a distant dream for me. I became a little sulky as the 'in process' process dragged on and on and on ... and rebellious as I realised that almost everyone here seems to speak Engels, although Nederlands is going in anyway ...

Lever said...

I just love the notion of being in a foreign land without the comfort of the native tongue being English...

Nice little story, and nice to know an Englishman stayed abroad. Did he marry a local girl?

wandering-woman said...

Hmmm...I wonder if we have a kiwi or two wandering round Salamanca. I'll keep an eye out, just to prove your theory.

Anyplace in particular I'd be likely to find a Kiwi in Castilla?

woman wandering said...

Kiwi's are tricky ... they're often what you don't expect ... a son or daughter in law, the live-in nurse, the gardener, the one sailing the yacht to the new owner, the au pair, the backpacker passing through, the english teacher ... oh yes, various guises and obviously prone to answering the call of our ancestors who sailed to the bottom of the world to begin new lives :)

woman wandering said...

Lever, apparently he married a Dutch woman but has been here since the end of the war.

I must confess, there was a time when I dreamed of family Christmas amongst people who didn't speak english (long story) :) The Belgians definately aren't those people, they speak well, even the ones who claim they've never learned English.