Me: “So what’s the word for a yogurt pot in German?”
Nele: “Becher?”
Me: “Ah, see Roland? You have so many geschlagtensahne bechern here to choose from for your kaffee..”
Nele, laughing at me: “No, no, plural is just becher.”

Michael: “Also Roland, ist concubine eigentlich auch negativ connotiert in der Schweiz?”
Roland: “Uhh…”
Me: “Well you can’t ask a guy that..”
Michael: “Do you even know what I asked?”
Me: “Yes, I do. You asked if the word concubine has the same negative connotation in Swizterland.. but you can’t ask a guy that! Cause of course he’s gonna say.. ‘Ohh… not at all! I think concubines are great…'”
Pierre: “Wait, wait.. so a concubine is a becher?”


(Michael finally hands in his thesis, the last day of the semester comes and is gone, he is no longer a student. He also finds out that he will not be paid wages at Siemens, only a ‘living stipend’)
Michael: “My car won’t start…”
Me: “Oh, did the battery die?”
Michael: “I can’t even take the train… or the Saarbahn… I’m not a student anymore! And I don’t have a job!”

Michael, standing at my door, moping: “I’m just a… I’m just a jobless!”
Me: “Oh Michi…”


Michael: “I’ve given up myself..”
Me: “You mean you’ve given up on yourself.”
Michael: “I’ve given up on English too..”

Michael: “And you’re just making fun of me.”
Me: “Aww, Michi-michi…”
Michael: “And my car is making fun of me. Do you know how sad that is when your car is making fun of you?”
Me: … stifles a giggle…

Primitive Living

Still no internet, two months later.

As I have come to understand it, our landlady subscribed for DSL from a third-party provider, rather than Deutsche Telekom. However, since Deutsche Telekom has a monopoly over the phone line infrastructure, our provider is stuck having to rely on them to activate the line for DSL service. But of course, since they are a monopoly, they are incredibly inefficient, to the tune of losing 5,000 customers a day. And there is absolutely nothing you can do about it: no consumer abuse department, no class-action lawsuits, no bitching on the hot-line (since they never answer).

Long live government-protected industries.

Game Night at Uncle Noam’s Cabin

One of the interesting points of German culture is their love of board games. One of the Canadians in our group, has a passion for board games, even to the extent of visiting Board Game Expos. In any case, a game night is a great way to get people together for something friendly, innocent, and fun, and so that is what we did last night. Twelve of us or so, with wine glasses and munchies, gathered at our kitchen table or on the floor for Bohnanza and San Marco.

Which brings me to some interesting topics in International Drinking Theory:
1) If the wine bottle empties in your glass, you must make a wish, blow it into the bottle, and close it up in there with the cork [Russian/Ukranian]; and 2) If you are drinking Weißbier, not only does one chink their glass from the bottom (as opposed to the top rim with other beers), the men cheer the men first, then the woman [Bavarian]; 3) It’s bad luck luck to light a tea candle from another candle [French].

Memorable quotes from the evening:
A propos Apfelkirsche – “Did we buy church juice again? Church juice is so much better with mosque..”

UPDATE: Matthias took some great shots of the evening. You can see them here.


It has been quite a while since my last post, but that I will promptly blame on Deutsche Telekom and their sorry management skills. Already into the later half of October and still no internet in the house: the minor annoyance is about to become a full-blown frontal assault by the beginning of next week. 5 students, 1 masters program, 0 login ability = catastrophe.

Still, the past two weeks have been incredible for me: in the space of five days, I have managed to overcome a minor existential crises and at the same time, justify the decisions I have made for my life in the past four years. I got a job (a *real* job), found a long-lost friend and made several more, and got a taste of the fascinating things to learn in the coming two years.

After the struggles and self-doubt, I realize now that I was not wrong to take that two year detour from my linguistic studies and that I really will be happy with this career decision for a long time to come. In fact, for once I do not feel as if I must hurry along my education in order to get where I want to be. I *am* at the point where I want to be. So now every moment that goes by feels rich with new ideas and time does not seem to pass by too fast.

Warming up the house

Last night we hosted a small house-warming party in our new, finally furnished, appartment. It was surprisingly tame (compared to the bashes thrown by my French room-mates), despite the amount of alcohol we consumed. Not to mention the shisha – which took a delightful tumble onto the kitchen floor at one point – and the haze of strawberry that left some more mellow than others. In fact, we managed to make it out with only one broken plate and not a single permanent stain from the orange-juice soaked confetti.

Still, partying in Germany, at least for me, was something of a trying task. For the first two hours, I sat around the table with at least ten Germans, most of which I am certain spoke fairly good English. It was almost amusing, really, how their loud and boisterous conversations would suddenly come to a grinding halt as they realized, “hmm, maybe we should say something to that American girl..”, then they would throw wild deer-in-the-headlight stares at each other, trying hard to think of how to say it in English. I was much relieved when Gesche arrived, whom I had met the night before, and who was much more at home speaking English. In the end, however, the alcohol began to settle in, they became much more relaxed, and I had quite a nice conversation with Andreas about gay men and the disabled workers gewerkschaft.