I give myself a 75% for language use today.
We had been considering a day trip to Delft, but ended up putting it off for another week. Instead, I did a bunch of errands. At a few places, I didn’t try to speak Dutch, because I didn’t know the words I needed. Often, of course, you can buy things with no other converstation than the price and “Alstublieft!” (Literally “If you please,” but used when someone gives you your change and purchase to mean “There you go!”) At the wine store, when the man asked “For zelf of cadeautje?”) I understood him but reflexively answered, “It’s for me, not a gift” in English. At the post office, I carefully said, “Ik heb nodig een boek van buitenland zegels”, which is literally “I have need [of] a book of foreign-land stamps,” but the woman looked blank until I repated it in English. I’m sure that’s not quite right – it probably ought to be zegels (or zegelen, maybe) voor buitenland, but I still think that ought to have been good enough to be understood! One thing that’s very tricky is that in English we are so accustomed to turning nouns into verbs (I can say “computer parts” instead of “parts for a computer”) that we forget it doesn’t universally work that way.
Later, when I picked up the boots I’d dropped off for new heels, I didn’t understand the words the woman used to ask if I wanted a bag, but was able to ask “een zaak?” and be answered in Dutch and sign language, and then at the chocolatier, when I asked for “een klein doos” she understood me, even if she did answer in English. So, not too bad all around.
Also, this morning I was able to visit the tailor to pick up trousers I’d had relined, the supermarket for beer and cookies (we’re having guests, US business travelers, for a drink before dinner tomorrow and want to give them some typical Dutch cookies), the bakery, the cobbler, the winery, and the post office all within an hour and a half. I walked. I don’t think I could have done that in the same time in Arizona, even with a car.