The last time I used my German language skills regularly was about twenty years ago in college. I was good enough at it to read “die unendliche Geschichte” in the original German in high school, and only had to take a single semester in college to fulfill my graduation requirements.
Since then, though, I haven’t used it at all, and like any unused muscle group, my German has atrophied to the point of uselessness. I can manage easy things like “Es tut mir leid,” but that’s about all I remember. So when I get on a plane for Germany a few hours from now, it will be with enormous excitement, tempered with a bit of regret that I couldn’t do better than be Just Another Dumb American Abroad.
So for my German friends I will soon be meeting: Bitte entschuldigen Sie meine Scheitern zu sprechen gut Deutsch zu Ihnen, wÃ¤hrend ich in Ihrem Land.
(And yes, I had to resort to Google for part of that. *sigh*)