Unexpected joys of learning a language

Learning a language is hard. There’s no getting found that fact. After two years of living in Croatia and studying Croatian, sometimes it feels like I know nothing at all.

But then you have unexpected wins. Little flashes of understanding that make you smile.

I was standing in the queue to buy a couple of glasses of rosè. We were at the Mestrović gallery, watching some live music in the courtyard. The woman at the counter ordered a slice of cake, and the lady in front of me asked the waiter what it was made of.

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Watching music in the Meštrović courtyard

‘Waiter,’ she said. ‘What’s in that cake?’

‘Pistachio, sweet cream, strawberries and kiwi fruit,’ he said.

‘Don’t bother putting it away!’ she said. ‘Just leave it out!’

I laughed, and she turned to me with a big smile, her grey curly hair an excited halo around her face.

‘I don’t want to make him more work!’ she said, and laughed.

I understood that, I thought, as I walked back to our table. That was all in Croatian, and I understood it.

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A couple of glasses of rose

Živjeli!

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.

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