Mistranslation Monday: Sober

The German boyfriend shares an office with a pregnant coworker. When he came home from work the other day, he was telling me about how she has to get some extra blood tests done soon. “That must be really stressful,” I said. “Yeah, she also has to be sober for the the tests,” Marco responded. “…I would hope she is sober anyways. She is pregnant,” I said cautiously. “Wait, what? What does sober mean?” Do Not Drink if Pregnant After talking it over, we realized that German has the same word for both sober and fasting (nüchtern). So, no worries, Continue Reading

Mistranslation Monday: Married with Children

When American movies and TV shows are translated into German, the titles are usually changed to something completely different. This can make having a conversation with a German about movies or TV shows quite difficult. I first realized this when the German boyfriend was visiting me in Chicago, and we went to see Buckingham Fountain. “Cool! Just like in the beginning of Eine schrecklich nette Familie (An awfully nice family)!” he said. “What are you talking about?” I asked. “You know, the one with Al Bundy!” Then I remembered this scene from the opening credits of the TV show Married with Continue Reading

One Man’s Sperrmüll, Another Man’s Treasure

Imagine all of the worst items you see in a garage sale: ugly furniture, broken electronics, dirty rugs. Instead of people trying to sell this stuff, however, the entire city just sets their junk out along the curb on the same day, causing all of the sidewalks in your neighborhood to look like this: This is actually a special kind of garbage day that is held in Germany once every other month, which is known as Sperrmüll (bulk garbage). Scrappers drive around in their trucks grabbing all of the metal they can find. Students and families may occasionally grab a Continue Reading

Applying for a Master’s in Germany

I have been living in Germany for about one year now, and the majority of my time here has been spent preparing to apply to German universities. From getting a student application visa to taking the TestDaF, it was all in hopes of someday getting my master’s in Germany. Well, now that the applications have been sent, all that is left to do is wait. And although I do not know if I have been accepted, I figured I could still write about the application process and my experience. Required Documents This varies depending on the university, but from the Continue Reading

Mistranslation Monday: In-Laws

Ahh, the dreaded in-laws. I am not married, so I do not actually have any in-laws of my own, yet this is a term I hear quite a lot during my time in Germany. Although I cannot remember exactly where I first learned this term, just like in the US, in-laws are a popular source for jokes in German movies and TV. And since I watch quite a bit of German TV, I had obviously heard the term enough to consider it a solid part of my German vocabulary. So, one day, I was telling the German boyfriend about how Continue Reading

Snail City

While enjoying the beautiful weather last weekend, a surprise thunderstorm hit. The sky opened up and poured down rain for a solid 30 minutes. And when the sun came back out, so did something else… Snails. Lots… …and lots of snails. There were little snails… …and big snails. Brown snails… …and blue snails. Hungry snails… …and flexible snails. Snails with smaller snails attached to their backs… …and, as they are known in German, naked snails (Nacktschnecke). The clothed ones make for much better pictures, however. Are there snails where you live?

Tomato Update: Week 11

I have not posted an update on the tomato plants since week 5. So, I figured I should give a new update on how they are doing. It has now been 11 weeks since the seeds were planted, and they have really developed into beautiful and healthy tomato plants. In total, 8 plants have made it to this stage, most of which have been given away to friends. We have kept 3 for ourselves, however. We planted two of the plants in our balcony’s flower boxes. I did read online that this is a bad idea, but oh well. You Continue Reading

Mistranslation Monday: Bladders

I was cooking dinner recently, when the German boyfriend yelled out quite a strange statement just as I was about to put the meat into then pan: “We have to wait for all of the bladders to pop first!” What?! “I mean bubbles,” he said after a moment. That’s right — in German, the word for bladders (Blasen) is the same as the word for bubbles. And if you are still wondering why he said that, check out this nice German commercial: (for my non-German readers: they say that when using this cooking oil/butter mixture, you know that the meat Continue Reading