HERE’S a conversation-ending dialogue I’ve become used to having with Germans I’ve just met:
Them: “Du sprichst sehr gut Deutsch. Seit wann wohnst du hier?”
(You speak German very well. How long have you lived here?)
Me: “Fast sieben Jahre.”
(Almost seven years.)
(I take it all back. Your German is atrocious.)
I swapped London for Berlin to reveal a profound self-truth; that I am ─ truly ─ a useless git. Despite this, on meeting new arrivals to Germany I’m full of advice on how to settle, integrate, and learn the language. They never listen to me of course. Why should they?