I frequent my local bakeries a lot, mostly for bread and sometimes for pastries or pretzels. And, I have a favorite bakery for each of the above. The bakery is probably where my German skills are the strongest, and even still, I struggle.
I was pretty pleased with two recent German interactions, though. I have been seeing half loaves of bread behind the counter, and I finally figured out how to order one instead of the full loaf. “Ein Pain Boulot halb,” I said, making a cutting motion.
The woman thought I wanted the bread sliced, then realized, “Ah, halbes!” We were just learning this kind of “es” ending in class the other day, so it was perfect timing for me to learn the proper application of it in public from the baker.
I was pleased to find out that a half loaf is exactly half the price of a full loaf, so I will probably start to buy half loafs more frequently to always have fresher bread on hand. My favorite bread bakery is open on Sundays, too, so I can get “halbes” loaves every day.
Yesterday, I bought my new standard half loaf, and when I walked away from the counter, I realized I was shorted a Euro in change. The woman helping me had been distracted, and I don’t think it was intentional, but now I had to try to deal with it in German.
Another woman at the counter asked if she could help me, and this is what my German sentence sounded like to her:
“I want a Euro more. This is 1.20€ (pointing to the bread), and I have 8€ (pointing to my hand).”
Afterward, I realized I need to practice the verb “to need” more, since I overuse the verb “to want.” But, there was a victory here. She understood what had happened and called her colleague over, who promptly gave me my owed Euro. As I walked away, I could feel how far I had come in 6 months. I would have never been able to explain myself like that a few months ago and might have walked away dejected and down a Euro.
I realized that now that I’m going to the bakery more frequently, I will have to speak in German more, too. But, given my recent interactions, it seems like it will be fine. Plus, probably the worst thing that could happen to me is that they could put an extra pastry in my bag.