As my new friends in Germany and I walked out of our classroom, I looked our teacher in the eye and said, “Vielen Dank!” (Thank you very much!)
“Why do you always do that?” my friend asked in broken German. “Why do you thank the teacher every day?”
I paused … why wouldn’t I say thank you? I was a 20-something year old woman who’d just moved abroad, and that teacher was giving me the gift of a new language necessary for my immersion in Berlin. Nobody else in my class spoke English, and I certainly didn’t know any of their languages. Because of our teacher, I was making new friends, communicating with strangers, and performing everyday tasks where language was needed. Granted my German involved a lot of really awkward conjugations and arm gestures. (It still does!) But that teacher’s enthusiasm to guide my classmates and me was amazing—a treasure I’ll never forget.