Guten Tag! I am writing this first entry as an attempt to provide an informative prelude to the ensuing blog and, more importantly (and lest my readers think that I got drunk, purchased a blog site, and then forgot about it), because I want to remove the automatic and generic post that was pre-populated by the blog template. I think that if I stumbled across a blog whose first entry was titled “Hello, World!”, I would either automatically start checking my pockets for bar and web-hosting receipts, or I’d think that the author was a newly self-aware computer program reaching out to humanity for the first time.
“Number Five is…ALIVE”! (NOTE: That was, of course, a quote from the 80’s movie “Short Circuit” with Steve Guttenburg. If you are unfamiliar with films from the 80’s, you may want to unsubscribe right now: Many 80’s movies will be referenced herein but before you go, I recommend that you watch “Cocoon”. The magical blend of aliens and old people, combined with the acting prowess of Herr Guttenburg and Brian Dennehy, is nothing less than intoxicating. Make sure you have tissues and that you are not driving.)
Anyway, now that that’s out of the way, future posts in this blog are intended to showcase and share some of the day-to-day normal goings on of life in Germany through the eyes of a wide-eyed (and somewhat eccentric) American. My girlfriend Eve, a German native, and I are leaving in early March with our two dogs to live in her hometown of Bad Mergentheim in the south of the country. In keeping with the blog title, I will post the first (all right, second) entry after we arrive in Deutschland as something interesting is bound to happen shortly after we land. For example, upon deplaning during my first trip to Germany in December, the flight attendant said to me, “Auf Wiedersehen, for Fire Tiger” which I thought was both remarkably friendly and perceptive. It’s not every day that a complete stranger has the ability to so aptly judge one’s character by referring to them as a fiery, lethal jungle cat.
Sadly, I would not bask in the glorious light of my new nickname for long: After announcing my new title to Eve, she informed me, chuckling, that the attendant merely said, “Good bye. Happy Holidays” which, in German, is “Frohe Feiertage”. Oh well. As Frost said, nothing gold (including the golden flames that inflate one’s ego) can stay.
So, until that next post, dear friends (and horrified passersby), I bid you farewell. I am now off to finish my daily German lesson. By the way, you can bet that there will be many posts to come about learning to “spreche Deutsch”. It’s not the most difficult language to learn (once you get past the fact that it is completely incomprehensible and you will never understand it) but it is rather painful. The American mouth was simply not meant to utter such sounds and trying to do so will end up with your tongue tied into a Bretzel (pretzel but pronounced “Brêt-zil” with a back-of-the-throat clearing “I just swallowed a bug” sound) and with both hands in your mouth trying to untie it. If you see someone doing this, yes, they are learning German and, as the quicker of those reading this may have already guessed, this is the origin of the phrase “tongue-tied”. Lend them a hand – literally – but, by all means, but please wash it first. It’s bad enough having a knot in your tongue without adding the insult of influenza to injury.