“My name is Emily. I live in Vienna. I have two children. I come from the USA. I like to travel, read, ride horses and dance. I go to the cafe and sit outside. Good morning. Good evening. Thank you. Please. You’re welcome. Goodbye.”
Until now, that’s the rough equivalent of most of my spoken German. Most notably, up until yesterday, I had no way of speaking in anything other than the present tense, which has, at times, caused a fair bit of confusion for whoever is unfortunate enough to have to attempt to decipher my rough attempts to communicate. I recently had a very circuitous and confusing conversation with one of Benjamin’s teachers. She was asking me to pay a fee for a field trip that’d I’d already paid to the other teacher, but I couldn’t say anything other than “I am paying”, at which point she looked at me expectantly. I finally thought to add, “I am paying yesterday”, but that seemed to confuse things more because she thoughts i was trying to say, “I will pay tomorrow” and just butchering it. We finally had to resort to bringing in an English speaking teacher to clarify. (I also don’t have the future tense, which means I always end up saying roughly, “Benjamin is not at school in two weeks because we are on holiday.” But that’s ok — it seems to work.)
It seems like kind of a silly thing, but I am really quite excited about starting to add a past tense to my repertoire. 80% of the time, I get by just fine with broken, present tense German and a lot of patience from the people around me. But it’s nice to be learning how to say things (a little bit more) properly.