Wednesday, 21 January 2015
People who know me, will know that I like colour. I like colour on the walls, in the garden, with the furniture, and absolutely, most definitely, in my wardrobe.
Now if there's one thing that's obvious in an European winter, is that nearly everyone wears black. Or, if it's a special day, grey. In fact the only people who wear bright colours are these little ones...
So consequently, clad in actual colours (as per evidence below), the McComb family may as well be walking around with giant flashing lights on our heads which say -TOURIST BELOW-
Of course this is not generally a problem, there's nothing wrong with being a tourist when you are one. However Jon and I want to practise our Norwegian, and Norwegians, being the smart people that they are, see us coming a mile off and switch to English before we've had a chance to utter any horribly butchered Norwegian words.
To keep us motivated, we have decided to keep a tally of the number of conversations/transactions we manage to complete in Norwegian before the local person switches to English, verses the ones where we are immediately identified as English speaking impostors. So, much like this well disguised Bergen McDonalds..
..we need to go undercover.
Firstly, we have resolved, where possible, not to speak to each other in English in the vicinity of the impending verbal transaction.
Secondly, where possible, we need to dress the part. So this morning I transformed from my normal outfit...
<--- WATCH OUT - TOURIST!!!!!
LOOK - POSSIBLE NORWEGIAN !!! (with very poor language skills) ---->
Note my legitimately Norwegian gloves and beanie, both from 1992. My biggest risk here is that I look like I have woken up from a 25 year coma in the clothes I went to sleep in. Oh well.
So, properly attired, my next mission was to purchase a bakery item, in Norwegian, from right under the servers nose. And to make it more difficult, I would need to do it from a touristy part of town (where the staff are super-alert to tourists).
So I acquired my target.. the bakery right at the bottom of the Fløibanen..
And I went in.
I did it ! - Sure I only had to say a few words but the seller obviously tolerated my dodgy pronunciation and didn't feel a need to immediately switch to English. yay!!!! One to me. Still 50 to Norway.
On the topic of my dodgy pronunciation, due to my commitment to watching Norwegian reality TV programs & listening to Norwegian podcasts before we came, I can read & listen & understand nearly everything. However, since I haven't been able to practise speaking at all, my pronunciation is pretty bad. The other day in Drammen I only needed to badly pronounce the Norwegian word for two-'to', before the service station person switched to English. Aside from the pronunciation I'm finding I'm struggling to find the words I want to use, even though I generally know them - I guess it's like anything, learning the theory is a lot easier than actually doing it under pressure. I'll keep plugging away. Jon is doing really well with his Norwegian and whilst he doesn't have my vocabulary, he can roll his rrrrs like a local which is very annoying for me.