When I'm with her my German comes easily and we talk about everything under the sun. She still doesn't understand me very well when I speak English, but if I speak v e r y . s l o w l y . a n d . c l e a r l y she sometimes does. I always do spend some time speaking English with her because I know it helps her to learn, but for everything I say in English I typically need to then explain it in German.
We end up speaking German most of the time which I prefer anyway because that way I can talk at a normal pace and crack jokes and just generally be understood on a deeper level.
Not that my German is perfect. When people want to they can still talk way over my head. People do that in the office when they want to disempower me and it sucks. It's also hard when I'm in a group of people and they're talking fast amongst themselves. My brain gets mixed up and I can't follow, and that's when I get quiet and start feeling like the Ausländerin that I am.
I hate that feeling, being lonely and shut out in the midst of others. It's the worst.