I hit a milestone today: I had an entire conversation with a stranger in German over the phone.
You should know that I hate phones. Even in English, I dislike talking with strangers on the phone, and with friends I prefer face-to-face communication, whether in person or via Skype. So a phone call in German has special significance for me!
This afternoon, I needed to renew a prescription. In the US, if I wasn’t due for a doctor’s visit, I could renew my prescription via my pharmacy’s automated phone system. Here I have to call my doctor and pick up the prescription from her office. My doctor speaks excellent English, but most of her receptionists don’t. Up to now I have dealt with this kind of situation by visiting various offices in person—that way our language difficulties can be resolved with gestures and facial expressions. Today, however, I decided to give the phone a try.
Of course, before making the call I thought through everything the receptionist might need to know. I practiced my opening line and made sure I had my insurance card and other pertinent information right in front of me. I even practice spelling my name, just in face. Then I made the call. And you know what? It wasn’t bad! I was able to explain what I needed, give my name and birth date, and confirm when I should pick up the prescription—all without resorting to English. And it may have taken me some extra time to process what the receptionist was saying, but I understood everything.
Thankfully, picking up the prescription should be an easy process; I have already done it once already. My doctor’s office is near my German class, so I can swing by there after my class and then stop at the pharmacy near my apartment to fill the prescription. Reaching these little milestones feels so good, especially when it means that I have made an unfamiliar process feel a bit more routine.