Thursday, 20 September 2012
ON the opposite corner of the table, a group of teenagers and young adults chatted animatedly, involving anyone who might walk past. They laughed. They raised their voices in excitement. Some of them had cake.
In my corner, Rachel, myself and an elderly lady sat in silence.
It was the tea and coffee moment after church; the time when the congregation are encouraged to meet and socialise, for regulars and elders to welcome newcomers like Rachel and myself. This particular church provided something of a step up from the standard urn and paper cup setup, providing neatly laid tables in the church hall, each with their own tea and coffee making facilities, around which people could sit and enjoy a leisurely Sunday morning beverage. This encouraged an intimacy I am unaccustomed to, but one I could invest in, should I ever get over my social inhibitions of making conversation in unknown environments.
But this was not my church. These were not my peers. They weren’t even speaking English. The language of choice here was German, of which I know nichts. And yet, for all of the discomfort at being out of my depth, unable to hear and unable to communicate, there was something rather cathartic about being so exposed.