Now that I have been living in Austria for almost ten years and I get around pretty good, it’s come to my attention that there could actually be two of me – German-speaking Debbie and English-speaking Debbie. Because I’ve had people tell me that they notice a difference in my personality when I speak one language or the other. And well… it does make sense.
German-speaking Debbie is more careful – meeker – quieter. German-speaking Debbie thinks far too much about what she should say and often chooses to say nothing at all. This version of me is mostly happy to go along with whatever’s happening and occasionally just makes weird comments that come out of left field.
English-speaking Debbie would be happy to talk your ear off. She wants you to laugh at her jokes because let’s be honest, she’s very funny. She’s quirky but not actually crazy, and she’s very happy-go-lucky. At least I think so.
I’m not sure whether the two versions will ever marry up. I’m not sure they should. Is it just the language or does it go deeper than that?
Have I lost some opportunities by moving to Austria and morphing into two different people? Absolutely. Have I given up things I wouldn’t have had to had I stayed in Australia? Definitely. But I’ve got to look at the flip side, because I have also gained things I never would have otherwise. And for that I can only be grateful.
So if you run into German-speaking Debbie, please be patient with her… and if you run into English-speaking Debbie, please excuse her poor attempts at comic relief… and laugh.