This is my blog. I don’t have to apologise for not posting right?! (she says indirectly apologising by asking a rhetorical question). So I’m just gonna carry on as if nothing has happened. Well from now on anyway.
This morning on my way to the kita I met a Tagesmutter (childminder) with her husband I guess and two buggy loads full of kids. I was with Jacob and said “Morgen!”. She just looked me straight in the eye and ignored me. Jacob then said “Hallo!”, perhaps he felt my retort hadn’t sounded German enough. She ignored that too. I just feel rather sorry that those children have that as an example. If I meet her again I will continue to say hello until she reacts in some way even if just to tell me to bugger off! It is my mission. Those children shall know that there is another way. I will save the world.
On another completely different not I was reminded today of something that happened when I lived in Simorre a tiny village in the Gers. One day a little old lady came up to me who I didn’t know and told me:
– “Um oh, nice. What exactly?”
“Your love story with your boyfriend.”
-“Oh I didn’t know we….”
“I watch you from my window every day and see you together and have watched you falling in love and it’s wonderful!”
We were rather notable in that he is German and I am English and we lived in a village with 700 people average age 65. But I thought it was kind of sad and yet kind of lovely that she had been following our story. And that our falling in love was clear enough through her window peeking a look from behind her shutters, is an idea I like. And that she felt like in some way it was her story too. I guess that is in a nutshell what is so wonderful and yet so frustrating about village life. You’re all in it together.
Well my blog has become like my gym membership, lurking in the background nagging me guiltily to step back in. I miss you blog. The guilt makes it harder to return. This post is the textual equivalent of me popping my head round the door to remind myself it’s all still familiar and why I like to go. I shall return shortly with more verbaciousness. For now toodle pip.
My Nan says this. A lot. I really like it because it is a way of expressing dismay and exclamation without using any form of profanity whatsoever. It comes in many forms but is always a very mild blooming, flipping or such like, followed by Nora. So why Nora? Poor old Nora. Why does she always get it in the neck.
I found a pretty good explanation here: http://askville.amazon.com/expression-Bloody-Nora/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=9490393
It basically explains that the original would have been “Bloomin horror” or such like and that due to accents (those blood cockneys again!) the h was dropped and then the n just ran into the o. Bang!
Ok. Snow is nice. In the winter when it’s been invited to the party it’s nice. In March when it’s bloody well very muchly overstayed its welcome, it is like one of those friends who comes to stay for “a few days” because they have nowhere to live and then they NEVER LEAVE. (Needless to say that particular friend and I are no longer in touch. She was also a vegan. Enough said.).
If you’ve ever walked through deep snow you’ll know it’s quite hard. Have you ever pushed a pushchair with 2 children on it through sand. No, I hear you cry. Why would anyone try and push a pushchair with 2 kids on at the beach. Well that’s quite a lot like what it is to take and pick up my little one from the kita.
The roads are covered in slush. There’s a chilly wind. Oh look it’s the sun, I feel better. Oh no it’s gone away again and we’re left with slightly melted snow, which freezes at night only for a nice new layer of snow to come along and turn everything into a death-trap-like-ticking-time-bomb.
Have I got my point across. I am fed up with snow. So bugger off winter and make room for spring. You can come back next year as long as you promise not to stay as long, and not leave towels on the floor, and not fill up the fridge with your weird curdy meat substitutes. You get the idea.
Of course it’s all my own fault. I did post above photo on FB hailing it as the last sun and snow of winter. Idiot. When will I learn.
Often when learning a new language you come across things or situations where you know a word in your own language and the new one doesn’t have one. (This sometimes happens the other way round though English due to its inclusive language policy has gazillions of words and many more than most of its European cousins!!).
The word for pocket in German is the same as the word for bag. This is quite logical when you think about it. How do you make a pocket…well you sort of sew an open bag into an item of clothing. This means if I say “Ich habe Geld in meiner Tasche”, this could be my bag or my pocket. The Germans get over this with the wonderful solution that gave us words like Zylinderkopfdichtung, they add another word specifying exactly what kind of pocket it is. E.g. Hosentasche, Jackentasche, etc. This is necessary because, if you stop and think about it, most of the time the things you put in your pocket you might also put in your bag, and when else do you converse about these things if not to discuss their contents.
A: Oh Madam what lovely bags you have!
B: I beg your pardon but they are in fact pockets.
A: No offence intended m’lady.
Leaves me feeling rather smug that we have two separate words.
The problem for me comes with Taschenlampe, the German word for torch. This literally translates as pocket light, but is the German word for torch. When is a pocket light a pocket light? How big are your pockets? I have in fact seen many a torch that would not fit in anybody’s pocket. (For all my dear American friends out there I will clarify that what I call a torch is I believe what you would call a flash light, though I personally believe them to be far more useful tools when allowed to illuminate in a continuous manner. Just a tip ;)). They do however have a whole other word for the kind of torch which bears a fiery flame, such as the Olympic one. They beat us on that count. I can’t help wondering whether we would have been obliged to do the same had our word for torch been in anyway related to pockets. Just in case anyone was unsure about how safe it might be to carry an open flame in your pocket, the German word is Fakel. No room for mistakes there then.
I know I am a Gemini when I sit in our Elternabend. (For anyone not au fait with German this is like a parents evening but in this case more like a PTA meeting to discuss organisational stuff for our Kita). One half of me thinks everyone should have their say. This half of me wants to listen, support, encourage other parents to have their say. To create an atmosphere where democracy reigns and every opinion is equally as important as the next.
The other half of me wants to scream out loud “Nobody cares when your child’s birthday is, can we just bloody well get on with this because I’d quite like to go home in the next century or two!!!!”. Obviously such outbursts are frowned upon in such circles. I refrain.
But this inner turmoil is starting to drive just a little insane. Last night I survived with the aid of Haribo sour french fries (ironically an equally double-edged sword of pleasure and pain). What will it be next?
I like to think I might continue to be a constructive member of the group. Chipping in when required. But there is always the danger that my dark side might prevail. Particularly if I allow myself the luxury of expressing an opinion, who knows which twin might take the reigns. And so no doubt I am destined to become one of those parents who goes along and doesn’t say anything, but then complains incessantly about everything.
Change the world. Shrug my shoulders and let them get on with it. Change the world. Shrug my shoulders….
For all you lovely language lovers out there I’ve just been reminded of a lovely French idiom which I particularly love. It is a way of describing dodgy language skills and translates as “like a Spanish cow”. So for example I might say that I speak Japanese like a Spanish cow.
….obviously doesn’t work for Spanish though 🙂