Following on from the previous post…
It’s odd to think that I have to thank two of the most evil men in history for my wife. Her father was a Pole escaping Hitler. Her mother was a Latvian escaping Stalin. They were both welcomed, or at least accepted, into Britain.
The result is that my wife is a somewhat religiously confused Lutheran Catholic, with a scattered family around Latvia, Germany, Denmark and Britain and with an excellent ability to speak ‘Forrin”
Add to that the fact that her brother married a Japanese lady and you will understand that family get-togethers sound like the Tower of Babel, and as the only Englishman in the room I just have to do my best.
Luckily I have a half-decent command of French, German and Italian, a smattering of Swedish, and can say “yes”, “no”, “please” and “thank you” * in most European languages, thanks to my previous work experience.
* And once in Hungarian, “Where are the toilets?” Followed by a rapid revisit with the question “Which is men and which is ladies?” 🙂