Monday, February 2, 2009

Lost in Translation?

Okay, try to picture this:

My sister goes into labor the day her mother-in-law flies in.

I willingly go to the airport to meet her mother-in-law and take her back to my town, and to stay at my dad’s house. Until my brother-in-law/ my dad/me take her to meet her newest grandchild.

So...I’m picking up Oma B from the airport, holding up a pretty decorated “Oma B.” sign and watching for her as she breaks through customs.

“Customs?” you ask.

Yes, she’ll be flying in from GERMANY.

My brother-in-law is German. I love him. He’s great. Very soft-spoken, and heavy German accent. I still struggle to “hear” him, but lip-reading him can be pretty difficult when the gap in his teeth (just like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s) is distracting for a lipreader like me.

His mom doesn’t speak much English...or probably doesn’t speak English.

Anyhoo....see me driving down to the airport in my (hopefully new) car, and waiting for her to break through customs and I’m holding up a big sign, “Oma Beier”.

Maybe she’ll let me give her a warm hug to welcome her to Michigan? Ahh, I don’t know.

Help her with her luggage, and walk to the ends of the earth to my (new?) car...

And it might be a very long, silent drive.

See, at their wedding reception couple years ago, I had to poke my new German bro-in-law to TRANSLATE to his mom for I do not speak German. Nuh huh. German is a bunch of LONG words I can’t even begin to pronounce. Is “danke” German?

“I’m very happy to have met you...” (he translated into German for his mom...)
“Next time we see you, is when they have baby?”


He wouldn’t repeat. I gestured...(signed) “Baby? Me see you when they (I point at my sister & bro-in-law) have baby?”

She understood me! She smiled really big and nodded. I think my brother-in-law wanted to crawl under a rock and hide.

So, The German and the American Deaf....what an interesting scenario....


Hollie said...

Pretty funny. I could Falk laughing in the other room! yes, Danke is german, and no, other than ordering coffee, ice cream, asking for the bathroom and say nice to meet you, there's not much else for her to say in english.
: )

Kirstan said... it WILL be a very long, silent drive.

Eh....well, at least she can understand gestures so you never know!


Danke very much....

It'll be good to see her again, no matter what. I'd love to see her face when she meets her new grandson.