Hats By Katrinka

Kate Brown Pernia is a Milliner on sabbatical in Switzerland. She has been designing hats and teaching millinery under her Katrinka label since the 1980s. Kate is also the founder of Houston Hat Net. View Katrinka hats and hat patterns at www.hatsbykatrinka.com.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Market Day

Wednesdays and Saturdays are market days in our neighborhood. Merchants and farmers set up booths with flowers, cheeses, vegetables, etc. and no matter what the weather people are out shopping.

Last December, my first week in St. Gallen, I was entirely intimidated by this process. Sherman had shown me around for a couple of days then went back to work leaving me on my own so I set out to buy a piece of cheese from a vendor we had visited over the weekend. When I asked ‘Sprechen Sie English?’ this young man said ‘English OK.’ Then I asked how to say 100 grams in German. He told me, ‘Hunnert Gramme,’ whereupon I started to weep (feeling SO stupid in an alien place). Silly! After all, the guy was really nice to me and I did get my cheese.

Yesterday we were out shopping and I saw him again. When he stepped over to help us he nailed us as Americans right off and greeted us with a Hello instead of a Grüezi. I reminded him that he’d been so nice to me when I first arrived that it had made me cry. Then I proceeded to order two pieces of cheese and some freshly made spinach ravioli in German. My reward was a surprised laugh and a compliment on my German. It made me feel like a million bucks (oops) Swissfrancs. My guess is this guy speaks Italian too!
K Q:-)

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At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an accomplishment. You should be proud! Add a few more languages and you can be a tour guide...you already have my endorsement!
How's Esquirer's language coming along?


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