I'm not an international guru or anything but I can certainly say this has been quite an experience for a simple, little country mouse like me. I have learned a few words in German but not enough to really make sense and we still have no TV so it's not like I can pick up the accent stuff from that....but no TV after 6 weeks is driving me bonkers...ok I got sidetracked. My "Pig Latin" version of German isn't pretty but I can usually make what I'm trying to say understood in a round about sort of way. Well add in American Slang and Southern Accent then just chuckle away because you feel very sorry for the poor German people in dealing with me. I got the letter concerning my German Integration Classes and it's 600 hours long. OMG and just the first orientation session is 60 lesson hours long! It also states and I quote "If you have no income of your own, the person who is obliged to pay for your maintenance must pay your contribution to the costs" which frankly I think is just plumb knee slapping funny.
You think you know things have progressed since the 1950's with all the pretty, little ladies not having to worry their pretty little heads about anything except housework. Well not so over hear ladies! They are very much stuck in the 50's and a true example was when the cable guys came last week to get us set up for tv. The guy actually tried, decided the signal wasn't strong enough so they would need to run new wiring and they'd call My Man to set that up. Wait a doggone minute, what is this Call My Man crap!!!! Am I not an intelligent, capable person that can schedule appointments and understand what the hell you are saying? I was hopping mad and they still haven't called back to reschedule that appointment yet. I think maybe, just maybe they are hoping the crazy american lady will disappear or at least go back across the pond.
Now onto the enjoying part of our blunders: Since we can't read German menus yet it's an adventure whenever we go out to eat. Just last week we went to an Italian place and decided that we'd have the "specials of the evening". Mine was a lemon almost picciata pasta and Mark's was a deep tasting mushroom pasta or so we thought....after about the 6th or 7th bite, he realized it was liver! Yucky so he ate part of mine instead. We have discovered what is really the only form of fast food here in this area of Germany and it's called a Doner which is really a turkish food like a gyro. There is a doner place about every block and I have really enjoyed eating at all of them to find just the perfect one.
Grocery shopping is a different beast over here as one would imagine. I'm learning not to stockpile food and shop for just a couple of days at a time but dang that's harder than I thought it would be. I did a huge, really huge first shopping trip last week and I was at the store for almost 3 hours. I was exhausted and could barely push the cart because they've all got those crazy wheels that roll all directions so I was struggling....all of a sudden I realize that I'm singing along to the muzak to Keep The Faith so once again my Bon Jovi men gave me the strength to carry on. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up. It was simply the struggling to understand what packages of food are like instant mashed potatoes or cream of mushroom soup or anything else for that matter. What people might not know about us is that we love us some pancakes( or PamBakes as Rachel used to call them) every weekend and Mark makes the best ones ever. I brought a lot of pancake mix but didn't bring syrup because I thought surely they'd have it here....well actually no they don't....they have a very expensive Canadian maple syrup which we didn't like so I was thrilled to discover an International Section in the grocery store. Guess what I found in the American section? Griffins (right there from Oklahoma) Pancake syrup so all is good again in our little world. I also found Poptarts, Campbells Cream of Tomato Soup, Oreos and other misc junk foods. I actually stood there cradling the syrup while trying to decide if $4.50 Euros is too much to pay for Poptarts and BTW, it is and I left them at the store. I'm on a strict budget of $28 Euros per day for expenses and expensive junk food ain't in that budget.
I'm also minding my budget by ironing Mark's shirts at home. Well I have never been a person that enjoys ironing and just ask my brother Jeff for proof. When we were teenagers and I was forced by the slave driver AKA Mother to iron, I'd gripe and complain until she'd finally just do it herself. Well one Saturday I was being punished for something that I don't even remember now but probably had to do with breaking curfew or having a smart mouth; anyway I was ironing away and Jeff was laying on the couch making fun of me. He kept kicking the ironing board and being...well just Jeff so after I told him several times to leave me alone and he ignored my requests; I picked up his foot and stuck the hot iron to the bottom of it. OMG, did I ever get beat for that but hey he didn't do it again! And I have hated ironing ever since so this is a huge thing that I'm going to iron Mark's shirts. I took 2 of his suits and 4 pairs of dress pants to the cleaners on Monday and that bill was $52 Euros which you had to pay up front. OMG, I just about passed out from sticker shock so I can't imagine what it would cost us to have his shirts laundered.
Well that's all for now but stay tuned 'cause I've set US and German Relations back a few years with all my mistakes. I'm off now to cook some fresh green beans, new potatoes and Wiener Schnitzel which is just another name for fried porkchops...yummo!
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