09 March, 2005

Wie viele Erdteile gibt es in der Weldt?

When trying to teach a group of people another language, you have to begin with a subject that everyone knows and can agree on.  So my teacher asked the class, "How many continents are there in the world?"

Surprisingly, this is not one of those subjects.

02 March, 2005

Sherlock Holmes und der verschwundene Löffel!

When most of us think of Europe, we think of a land of a generally more accepting people.  It didn't take the national guard to desegregate schools and none of the countries are led by people who actually hate gays, and blame them for all of the problems of society.

Well, a lot of people are like that, but sometimes you come across someone who may or may not have grown up in a hole.

Möchten Sie den Menü?

In conversation with German people, I tend to rely heavily on cognates.  That is, a word that sounds the same in English as it does in German.  For example, Bett is Bed, Katze is Cat, Pflanze is Plant, Bier is Beer, Haar is Hair, and so on.

Well sometimes a word comes up that bites you in the ass because it's a freaking lying cognate.

Der Euro.

As if it's not bad enough that I cannot understand the total cost of what I am buying and must take extra time to read something that the clerk has just said to me, I must fight with the denominations the Euro comes in.

The paper money comes in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 100, and even a 200.  There's probably larger, but under no circumstance will I ever be able to hold one in my hand.

Despite the paper Euro coming in different sizes and colors, and resembling something out of a monopoly game, I can handle it well enough.  The coins, however, were forged in Hell.

Könnten Sie bitte mein Brot shießen?

Here in Germany, every time you turn around there is either a Bakery or a cell phone store.  They're both like Starbucks.  I can't imagine why there is such high demand for cell phones, but one bite of the bread and you understand why you never have to go far to get a loaf.

Usually in Germany, you just go to the bakery (any one of your choosing) and grab a loaf of the bread you want out of a pile of loaves.  These loaves are neither wrapped nor sliced, and are usually still warm.  It's wonderful.  You then take your loaf and, without a word of German necessary, you wave it in front of the clerk and they will eventually tell you how much you owe.  At this point you look at the register, because it has numbers you actually understand, and unlike the clerk, it does not speak to you in German.