I had never been to an English speaking country before. The Netherlands is the second best non-native English speaking country of the world(sadly the Danes are first). Therefore, I was mostly better in English than the people in the area where I was on holiday.
However, now I’m in the United Kingdom I suddenly feel like a real foreigner with an accent. It’s pretty terrifying that they can hear every single grammar or pronunciation mistake you’re making. For instance, I called ‘lettuce’, ‘léttúce’ – in a French way- until my friend Léa explained that this was not really how you pronounced it. One more embarrassing example was that I asked a girl at a party if she was wearing panties. No!! I didn’t want to know if she had underwear on, I wanted to know if she wore thighs.
Nonetheless, I think it’s really cool to speak the same language as the locals. In this way you connect and adjust very easily. It really encourages me to learn other languages, like Spanish (I hopefully go on an internship in Spain in February). A lot of English people are really impressed that you speak their language so fluently and say they wished they also knew multiple languages. In Holland I was also studying in English but this is really different. Here everything is English. You start to think in English, dream in English, talk to yourself in English (yes I do that:”Okay Mélanie, do you have everything in your bag?”).
Yet, a couple of days ago, I accidentally fell asleep in the middle of the day while I was suppose to change, Skype and prepare dinner. My hall mate, Kristin, woke me up. I was startled by my sudden awakening, jumped out of bed and began to ramble about everything that I still needed to do. After a couple of minutes I realized (I think my exact words were: “Shit!”) that I was talking to her in the wrong language (Dutch) already for a couple of minutes, while she stood there in the door opening not having a clue where I was talking about. So to say: “I had a brief moment of mental aberration”.
I still have a lot to learn..