Ja. Een beetje.
I am trying to conduct as many interactions in Dutch as I can. So far I’ve seen 2 houses and made appointments to see 2 others in Dutch. Sometimes, though, people don’t seem to understand when I ask them to speak slowly or when I say I don’t understand.
Today, I was on the phone with a woman and I asked her to speak more slowly. Instead, she just rearranged the words she had just said but didn’t slow them down at all. After telling her I still didn’t understand she simply repeated herself again. Often I end up with a quizzical look on my face while I struggle to find the words that I don’t have or to understand words that I probably never knew. I rarely understand everything someone is saying but I can usually pick out enough words to get the gist of what they’re telling me.
It surprises and delights folks here when Americans speak to them in Dutch. Sometimes, though, they don’t even realize you said something in Dutch and they continue on in English. Dutch and English are interchangeable for many people here.
I saw a house this morning and I have another to see this evening and one on Saturday. Tomorrow is the newcomers tour of both bases (the USAG and the JFC) and the surrounding area. This weekend I plan to walk around the neighborhoods of the houses I’ve liked and get a better feel for them.