Sunday, April 12, 2015

My week: April 12 ed.

This week was another week of vacation from German classes. I filled it up in other ways.

-I met with my German tandem partner. She shared humorous stories from her time on stage and we had a good laugh.

-A friend, Cl., agreed to show me how to make piñatas since I am having a party soon. We first went shopping for supplies, including balloons and wallpaper paste. It was a lot easier to make piñatas than I had thought it would be. Blow up a balloon and cover it with five layers of newspaper covered with the paste. I need to repeat this process when the first application of newspaper has dried.

-I met up with a visiting researcher and a uni student to give them a tour of town. We ate lunch and walked all over Kaiserslautern. We visited the Gartenschau; I took the opportunity to buy the annual membership offered at a discount through SWK (I wrote about the program here). Meeting up was especially awesome because the researcher lives in Freiburg, which I've been wanting to visit, and she invited me to come by. We really enjoyed each other's company; she was happy to have a tour guide and some company since she didn't know anyone here. I especially enjoyed getting a science "fix," learning more about some topics of interest. It was awesome all around.

On Sunday, we enjoyed a leisurely visit to Mannheim. I always want to giggle when I visit that city because Rick Steves, a widely known (in the US, at least) travel guide author, can't stand the city. I'm always wanting to say, "eat it, Rick Steves, because I like the city." I'm sure he wouldn't care and part of the reason I enjoy the city is because I experience it as more of a local (or regional, at least) visitor. I have friends there and favorite restaurants there. I can see where it doesn't appeal to tourists and that suits me just fine.

Anyway, we ate at Istanbul, which I prefer a bit more to Meydan (both are great though). We basked in the sun as it was quite warm (about 70 degrees) and lovely. We then stopped by Pasa, my favorite Turkish bakery. There were these confectionery roll "thingies." I asked the store clerk, in German, what they were. She smiled and said that they are like Turkish "Gummibärchen" ("little gummi bears"). This totally cracked me up and she laughed too. Of course I had to buy a piece to try it. It was a sweet end to our trip.

What the clerk described as Turkish "Gummibärchen."

-It's coming up on Spargelzeit, which is white asparagus and very popular in Germany. The article I wrote last year popped up on GermanyJa again. Check it out.


  1. I'm does it go with your German tandem partner? Do you speak German half the time and English half the time? Or only German? Denglish? I'm considering starting this, and I guess there are no rules - but I'm just wondering what you do.

  2. Well, when I'm not being lazy, we do half and half. When I'm being lazy (which is almost always), it's not so much. We usually start in English, then 3/4 of the way through, think - "crud! we haven't been speaking German!" and then use German. We also code switch quite a bit. It just depends. This isn't anything official for how we pursue this; we just met up from another group and she invited me over. I really enjoy her company; she's an awesome person and a fantastic speaking partner because she knows German grammar very well and speaks clear Hochdeutsch. I think that I might suggest that we start in German to keep me from being so lazy. Also, since I'm coming after a day of work and frantically running errands beforehand, I'd rather speak German first when my mind is a little fresher. By the end of our meeting I'm exhausted from all the day's activities so my mental processing time is a lot longer.

    1. That makes sense. The laziness factor is a b*tch. I'm sure that's why my husband and I speak English all the time. I'd like to get to where he and his British mother are - they switch back and forth between German and English in mid-sentence and don't even realize it. Listening to them is loads of fun!

  3. A lot of it is that usually our conversations are complicated and my vocabulary is weak. It's hard to talk about many of our interests without the words!

    I have met many ex-military people who have married a German but speak little to no German. At first I was quite surprised; after all, they have a partner with whom they can practice! Then I thought about my experience trying to teach someone in my family something on the computer. I've taught hundreds of seniors how to use computers but for the life of me, I can't do this for my own family, so it makes more sense to me now!

    Would you look for a tandem partner, or just try to speak more German with your friends/family? Do you speak German with your Schwiegermutter?

    1. I've just asked a woman I met recently to be my tandem partner, and she likes the idea. So we'll be meeting to that purpose next week.

      My Schwiegermutter is from northern England, so we speak English also - two different kinds! :-)

      You're right about the family thing. My husband only corrects me when I ask him to, but I know he hears every mistake and that makes me self-conscious. He's great about answering my grammar questions, but I don't think it would work to have German "lessons".

  4. Ah, I just realized that "Schwiegermutter" is mother-in-law. Good luck on your tandem partner meet-up. I think it's never a bad idea to agree with the person to speak x amount English and x amount German. I need to do that myself.