Saturday, May 5, 2007

30 March: First-Name Basis

Today Frau W handed me a little card with her name and contact information on it. Her name is Evelyne, and we finally got past the nagging question of Sie (formal “you”) versus du (informal “you”) when she asked me if she could call me by my first name. Tradition has it that once you are on a first-name basis with someone, you can use du. Today we spoke English, since Evelyne is anxious to practice her English and my German skills can only get us so far. Considering the fact that she hasn’t really used her English since she was in school (and has just been to the States a couple of times), her English is excellent. Coincidentally (given my own professional involvement with water quality protection), Evelyne was a chemist at a water treatment plant before she had a family, and her husband is a geologist specializing in groundwater. There are famous mineral baths near Stuttgart and her husband is responsible for determining whether construction projects can take place in areas where the mineral springs occur. Heaven forbid they disrupt the vital Mineralwasser!

Evelyne told me that she’d be going away for the weekend with her husband, but her daughter called later and asked (in German) if she could walk with us on Sunday. I said fine, as long as she didn’t mind walking with my husband and our neighbor’s dog, as we’ve agreed to walk Endor again while Frau D goes skiing.

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