This week, I attended a travel talk in German. I'd attended a different one in the past and it was decent. This one was...well, it wasn't my style, let's say. It wasn't so much a talk as it was him showing a very long video of him on his journey, and some of the people he met along the way and joined for meals. Instead of interviewing them or providing some personal interest stories, it was more of a recitation of what happened, or just looooong clips of him and his friend en route.
I attended a language cafe and am still giggling about a conversation. I sat with a doctor and a med school student. We were talking about being tired after eating and in German the student told me it's because there isn't enough "Luft" (air) in the head. Huh? As far as I know, air shouldn't be rushing around in there. I finally realized that he meant Sauerstoff, which means oxygen. We had a good laugh about that one.
Afterward, my friend Ay. came over to work on some travel plans. We're going to visit Katowice in February. We're probably insane to visit Poland in the middle of winter, but it's inexpensive to go then and we haven't visited that country yet. Since I'm from Michigan and I like cold weather, it should be fine. I hope Ay. bundles up since she's from somewhere more temperate.
In German class, we worked on what I call "filler" words. These words add to the conversation and give emphasis but aren't integral to the sentence and can be left off (which is exactly my plans for these dumb things because I feel as if I'll never get them correct). We learned about eben, ja, aber, eigentlich, denn, ruhig, mal, and the one that drives me the most nuts, doch.
The latter is like the Swiss Army knife of German filler words (and I will recognize the irony of using something that's Swiss to describe something German). Anyway, doch can mean a seemingly contradictory bunch of things and often one must hear how the word is spoken to determine how it's being used. YourdailyGerman.com attempts to explain it and it takes several pages; you can read it here if you'd like to try to wrap your head around it. Our book in class only gives two sentences. Ha! That's a good one to try to explain something so nuanced. I hear the dang word all the time. I mostly hear it when someone contradicts someone else and it's somewhat like saying, nuh uh!
I was also relieved to learn that eigentlich is a filler word because I hear it all the time and it's been confusing me. In the context that I hear it, it usually seems to mean "really." My friend told me it doesn't mean that and Duden tells me otherwise. However, I've taken it to more mean something like "actually," "in fact," etc. So, can one use eigentlich like wirlich, or is it more like actually only? Leave a comment if you know, please.
After letting all that language learning percolate, the next night I stopped by Ay's house to work on more travel plans. She was cooking chicken biryani and invited me to eat some. I sampled the rice portion and enjoyed the spiciness. She later told me that when she served it to her sister, her sister was asking if I was okay because it seemed really spicy to her. I thought it was perfect. It was funny that the gringa liked the spicy food.
On Saturday night, M and I flew to Edinburgh for a weekend away. I had tried to visit Edinburgh when I was a study abroad student years ago and it was flooded. I was excited to finally see it, a decade later. More will follow...maybe.