I flattened the shred of paper I’d been carrying around like a talisman, and showed it to the waitress. She squinted at it, then looked up. Over her shoulder, she loudly asked the diners if anyone knew the directions to the address in question. One woman answered.
Thing is, she answered in Georgian, and… I’m embarrassed to say it, but I never got very good at memorizing directions in Georgian. I turned to my fellow volunteer, but his vacant and mildly horrified expression told me we were pretty much screwed on this one.
I grimaced apologetically and in broken Georgian thanked the lady for trying to help us.
“Sprechen Sie Deutch?” she asked.
You know me by now, right? I can’t drop a conversation short if it promises the chance to practice any language I know. Or don’t.
I dug about in my brain, and came up with the answer.
“Nein. Danke!” I smiled beatifically and made for the door.
My fellow volunteer grabbed me by the arm and whirled me around.
“Are you mad?” he whispered.
“Do you speak Russian or not?” he growled.
Ah. The light switched on.
I turned back to the helpful diner, and got our full directions in Russian. All was well with the world. I’d forgotten, in my wish to only speak Georgian in Tbilisi, that in a pinch I could use my Russian, too.
We, of course, did manage to get lost anyway, but that was more due to the fact that all Georgian street names have approximately 47 syllables too many in them, making them impossible to memorize. 🙂 But over time, yes, we did get there.