Traversing around Europe, missing trains and getting on the wrong ones with a constant reminder thumping through my head of the night before. No one’s kidding when they say beer is cheaper than water, it’s tastier too. I met a million people, asking each person I came across three simple questions, where are you from? What languages do you speak? And how do I ask for a beer in your language? After three months I collected a humble list of how to ask for a beer in the language of every hungover backpacker I met: 

– Yum buoy zhou

– Ein bier bitte

– Mot bia

– Una chela porfa

– Mag ik een biertje (klootzak)

– Unite beaver

– Einn bjór takk

– Maegju hanjan butagdeulibnida

– Une bière š’il vous plaît

– Jedno pivo prosim 

Maybe it’s just because I’m stuck worlds away, in a land full of beer (none of it that good), that I wonder now why I chose this phrase to ask everyone? I don’t love beer as much as this knowledge may lead you to believe, even if it was all I drank through the snow-covered villages, I can hardly down a drink and I haven’t a clue what the names of glass sizes are, but here I am. Does beer unite us all? Or do I just want to go back to bars?

I’m stuck in a world away from where I’m meant to be, my five-year plan had me scheduled to hungover-ly lying to ticket inspectors in the old Berlin subways, or maybe I’d be making plans to find a pub in Prague. I’d be far away from the canned beer of my bedroom, in a place with centuries of experience. I planned my 21st to be set in a club in France, maybe this time the roads wouldn’t be painted with the evidence of a beer bottle to a leg (I still don’t think it’s fair we paid for entry after witnessing such brutality, but that’s Paris I guess). I’d be meeting strangers, sharing a swing in a club in Berlin. Getting confused by London’s underground, glared at as we laugh our way through gates. Your early twenties are a time centred around others, around growth and around beer. I don’t want to miss all the good beers, all the good years.

Issy is a student writer from Sydney, a place with not enough good beer, who loves caramel slice, laughing her way through stories, evenings spent with others and is very nostalgic. Find her on twitter @goldingissy

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