I can't make up my mind whether I LIKE the German language or not. On one hand, it sound guttural and harsh. On the other, it's just so... fascinating. I love languages of all sorts. But German is one language I've never been interested in before, and thus, I went to Germany knowing not one WORD of German. Not one. Since it's not a romance language, my basic knowledge of French didn't exactly come in handy. But you know what, you get by. Even in smaller towns, where no one speaks English, one ALWAYS amazingly gets by.
Once you learn the basics, it's easy. Take, for example, how I order food. I progressed from mere pointing to pointing plus 'bitte' to saying a complete sentence - ein wasser bitte, ein bier bitte, ein salami bitte, or if I'm really desperate, I always resort back to 'Ein (frantic pointing) bitte.' It took me a while to learn the numbers, but once I did, HA, I'm all set. I could go, 'Drei wasser bitte,' and later, as I progressed to expert mode, it became, 'Guten tag, drei wasser und ein bratwurst bitte, danke schon.' Woohoo :)
After a while, you also learn the basics of the German language as it relates to train travel. The cute 'zug' means train, and sooner or later, you HAVE to figure out the 'ausgang' means exit and 'eingang' means entrance. My German friends encouragingly taught me a couple of other words and phrases - unfortunately, I cannot share them here as most of them are not for public consumption. So now I'm having this love affair with German. True, it is still harsh and guttural, and thanks to history and Hollywood movies, it also carries with it no faint undertones of Nazism and concentration camps and fanatical Hitler speeches and 'Sieg Heils' - yet, I can't help myself - I find myself utterly fascinated by the language now. So much so that I'll be taking German 101 this fall.