Gute Reisen

dogs, swords, nakedness and numbers

More exciting German children’s books that I’m going to write

As my German slowly improves one thing that doesn’t go away is my enjoyment of words that sounds like other words in this language I’m not so familiar with.

der Schwert Beschwert - The sword complains - a knight fights in many battles, but before each one he has to connive his sword yet again to be sharp and cleave his enemies.

notch night, notch nackt - not yet, still naked - a lazy man, naked in his bed on a sunday morning, his friend calls him to come out, his parents ask him to come over to lunch, his girlfriend begs him to come outside and enjoy the day, but his response is always the same “not yet, still naked”

Laden is the German word (and suffix, sort of) for store, for example Musikladen is a music store. “Marmalade” in the singular form of marmalade and “Marmaladen” is the plural form of marmalade, so I’m going to open an exotic marmalade store called “der Marma-laden.” This might be my first solid German portmanteau. 

I noticed many cafes around the city identify as “Steh cafes” or “standing cafes.” I asked Johanna if it would makes sense if I opened a “Geh Cafe” that was just to-go coffee. She said maybe, but most people would think it was just a “Gay Cafe.” So thanks, English, for muddying those waters.

The last week or so I’ve felt that my German is a lot worse, but I don’t think that’s it. I think it’s moving over into a different part of my brain, like a longer term storage area. I no longer have to think about numbers, someone says a number and I know what they mean. Which feels like a pretty good bit of progress, cause the German way of speaking numbers is really wild and interesting For example: 

154,638 in English: one hundred fifty four thousand six hundred and thirty eight. The number is read from left to right sequentially, building the sum as you move along. 

Now:

154,638 auf Deutsch: ein hundert vier und fünfzig tausend, sechs hundert acht und dreißig

You read the first number then the third then the second, then you identify it’s place, then you read the fourth number then the sixth then the fifth. There’s a system here, but man, it’s required some hefty rewiring in mein Gehirn.

I have plenty of more strange constructions and complaints, but one I really enjoyed was discussing dog breeds. A wiener dog walked by and I asked “what kind of dog is this auf Deutsch?” It is a Dackel. I asked could you say “Wiener Hund?” No, my companions replied, you could not do that in Germany. I then asked, well, what if I get a Dackel and name it “Wiener Dog.” This got no laughs.

So I’ll write a delightful childrens book about a German Dackel and an American Wiener Dog meeting in an airport and comparing notes on their lives in their respective countries. 

It’s still 6 weeks out, but I’m getting very anxious about my visa deadline, though I’ve had multiple promises to write the letter I will need, the letter is not in my hand, and so it’s hard for me to feel fully comfortable.

When I think about returning back to the US, my heart drops. It’s not even about embarrassment, it’s about how close I am, how life here is not out of my grasp, it just don’t have my clutches on it. It makes me realize how bad I want this, maybe more than I’ve wanted anything. It’s invading my dreams in strange ways. Applying to a lot of things, casting the net mighty wide, and keeping my fingers desperately and tightly crossed. 

I know I’ll make it, I just don’t know how, and that gives me the willies. Anyway, I’m sure there’s funny German words out there that sound like other words that I haven’t heard yet, so I’m gonna go listen for those while I continue the job hunt, the German class, the new apartment hunt, and the new friends hunt.