You sit with a dozen people here. English is the shared language. But at some point, there are several conversations going on, in French and in German. Maybe more than one German. ‘We should speak in English’ said the girl next to me, more for my benefit than anybody else’s.
I was happy, however. The sounds of the language washed over me as I sat in the sun, knitting and listening to the music of their conversation. That was enough. Understanding was not necessary.