I only understand trainstation

If you a native English speaker you certainly got confused by the heading. The phrase was double dutch to you. But fear not you are not alone.

Traveling around the world

Corona restrictions are easing in many developed countries and air traffic bans are lifted.
Many people plan their next vacation. And with that the comes the question should you only travel to countries where you speak the language? Or are you one of the global cosmopolitans who are at home everywhere.

Regardless of the group you belong to, you certainly know this desperate feeling when you run out of words to make yourself understood in a foreign tongue.

Imagine you next trip to Italy and your hotel suite with a view on the river. And then picture yourself that you arrive in that hotel and are shown to your room. Your host is of the most amiable nature. He opens the door and points to your abode for the next fortnight:
A humid cramped room with a look in the back yard, which is full of waste bins and air conditions outlets.

Desperately you try to explain that this can not be your room. Your host keeps smiling and answers with a long explanation in Italian.

At this point the feeling of despair is rising in you, you holiday is certainly doomed.

Proverbs around the world

Of course travel is something which is done by every culture and this situation or similar situations are known to every traveler.

Similar situation also arrive in daily live. You understand the language you collocutor is using, but not the sense of the words. Be it because he is talking gibberish or because the topic is intellectually over your head.

Most interestingly the pro-verb different cultures use to describe the feeling in these situations vary quite dramatically.

I stumbled on this in a magazine article by Martina Koch, originally written in German. I could not find the article and translate the content here to English.

The drum is in (the city of) Harasta, but the marriage is in Duma.
Harasta wa I ‘irs fi Düma ()

I listen to a book from the heavens.
Wo zai ting tianshu

Eh? I only understand train station
hä? Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof

That is Volapük to me
Tio estas volapukajo por mi
Esperanto; Volapük is another artificial language

I only understand stone plate
J’ y comprends que dalle

I do not even understand oink
Den katalawäno gri

I understand neither upwards nor downwards
Eg skil hvorki upp ne niöur i ~essu

I did not understand any dried fig
Non ho capito un fico secco

I can not attach a tow to it
Ik kan er geen touw aan vastknopen

I am sitting here as in a Turkish sermon
Siedze jak na tureckim kazaniu

I am looking at a new Gate like a sheep
Ja smotrju kak baran na novye vorota
– Russian

That is chinese to me
Me suena a Chino

I understand mushrooms
Tomu jä houby rozumim

If I had understood something, I would be an Arabian.
Anladiysam Arap olayim

There are some similarities. The verb understand appears almost in every language, but not all.
Russian and polish are quite figuratively expressing the confusion. Russian goes so far as to compare the situation a confused sheep.

Next time you are confused when traveling, think about it this way:
the people confusing to you would be equally confused, if they were to visit your own country.