My trip to meet with our class on the first day of the program was interesting. I realized that I was going to be late when my maps phone app showed that I needed to take the bus and not the subway, which was the form of transportation that I was most familiar with at the time.
As I finally sat down at the bus stop after schlepping my luggage, a woman walked towards the stop and stood next to me. She pointed to my luggage and asked if I was heading to the TXL airport. Then she continued to speak in German and I asked her if she spoke English. She replied, “No,” and continued to speak to me in German.
We boarded the same bus and she had another passenger tell me that she would help me get to my destination (even though I had the directions on my phone). When we exited the bus, she helped me find my connecting subway train and found three women on the subway platform to confirm that I was headed the right direction to meet with my class group.
Two of these women turned out to be Vietnamese, and one named Tuyết (I sadly do not remember the second woman’s name! Perhaps it was Hà?) offered me a handful of cherries. The cherries were still a bit tangy and very sweet, and I have since been very grateful that my mother taught me Vietnamese when I was a child. I do not know too much Vietnamese, but I certainly do know more of it than I do German; furthermost, I am starting to feel more belonging to this place.