Jadranka meets me at the airport. She asks if I have learned any Croatian in preparation for my stay. I tell her that I concentrated on learning numbers as I thought that would be most useful when paying for things. By learning numbers I meant zero to ten and not much more. She decides to test me and says “Okay, what is 27,408?” I stand there with my mouth hanging open for a full minute before she says “Okay, let’s be on our way.”
Jane looks dismayed. The young woman keeps saying “sorry.” Before she hurries off she gives my bag a good long look to assess her chances of taking it from me in this moment of confusion.