One of the best parts of teaching English in Germany for me really has to be the funny mistakes my students make. I have laughed so hard I’ve had tears streaming down my face on numerous occasions. And don’t worry, I laugh WITH my students, not AT them (I was teaching some students today just how important this distinction is). Most of the time. I always remind them that I make just as many mistakes in German (like when I told my German teacher that I cook my TV instead of “watch” it) and that with language learning the best thing to do is keep it fun. I polled some of my other teacher friends and here are some of the greatest hits of English mistakes we came up with. Enjoy!
I once compared my experience learning German to dating a guy that I really want to like, but I just can’t seem to click with. We keep going out, because it seems like we should get along great, but he just doesn’t really do it for me. Everyone tells me he’s actually a really good guy, once you get to know him. I’ve never been a quitter. Ever. In fact, I once won a trophy for “Perseverance” in my 4-H Horse club back in my youth. I also won an award on my field hockey team for “most determined player.” Like I said, I’m not a quitter. But German, well, trying to learn this complex and challenging language has made me want to throw in this heavy, hyper-structured linguistic towel almost every other week, or sometimes every other day.
Got museums? Hamburg sure does. I’m sad to say though, that until this past weekend I hadn’t been to a single one. Crazy? Perhaps. (But I sure know where to go out for a drink though, which is another cultural experience in and of itself.) But, now I can happily say that thanks to Die lange Nacht der Museen in Hamburg (the long night of the museums in Hamburg) I now have had a wonderful taste of the cultural life in this amazing city.
“It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves–in finding themselves.” -Andre Gide
It’s hard to believe that a year ago today I walked off the plane in the Hamburg airport with a mind buzzing with anticipation, a stomach full of butterflies and not nearly enough winter clothing. My cousin and his girlfriend greeted me with giant German welcome signs, much to the delight of the rest of the crowd, and it immediately made me feel right at home. I remember so clearly a moment later that day, when they took me out for my first Kumpir (delicious Turkish stuffed baked potatoes) in Hamburg’s funky Schanze neighborhood.
There are some days living in Germany where I want to smash my head against a very clean German wall and yell profanities very loudly in English for a good ten minutes while wearing shorts in winter (you’ll understand this later). Welcome to expat life. I feel I should preface this post by saying “I love Germany and Germans and this is a wonderful place to live”, but you all obviously know that from my previous posts. Also, it would be really Canadian of me to worry about offending people. After nearly a year in Germany, I’m not quite as worried about offending people as I used to be. In fact, I even smash into people without apologizing now in the train stations, along with everyone else. When in Rome, right?
Happy be-lated New Year from Hamburg! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, and it’s partly because I feel like I’m going through a processing phase of my time abroad. Enjoying the fruits of my culture shock labor from the first nine months and processing you could say! It takes a lot of work to settle into a new country and when a new place finally starts to feel like home, then it becomes just that…home.
How do I love thee Hamburg? Let me count the ways! As an expat it’s really easy after a while to just focus on the negative aspects of your new culture or country. And the thing is, we really do need to get things off our chest sometimes and we need other expats to complain to—this life ain’t easy folks! Every little day to day activity is more difficult in a foreign country, and even though many of us Canadians are descended from Europeans, there is still a rather elephant-sized cultural mountain between us at times. So, since Thanksgiving just passed (well the US one anyway) and Christmas is coming, I thought I would do my best to put on my hat of positivity and focus some of my favorite things about living in Hamburg, Germany.