To continue the barrage of posting that I have started today, I had to throw this in there. I discovered this using the online dictionary while going through my German-Jewish Lit notes.

Know the phrase "A penny saved is a penny earned"? Or "Every little bit helps"? I just found out the German equivalent of that:

Kleinvieh macht auch Mist.

To the best of my translating ability, the literal meaning of this sentence is "Even small livestock create manure."

People actually say that to each other? Without cracking a smile? And it means "every little bit helps"??? Wow. To quote McDonald's: Ich liebe es...

Alright, back to homework. If I keep posting at this rate, the spam bot blocker's going to flip out on me. Like a ninja.
So I went out and bought a lot of stuff. One was that membership to the gym I was talking about. It starts tomorrow and I'm so excited! Two was stamps, so I can send my love and musings home to the US. And three:


Yup, that's right. A basil plant. Somehow it is everything I have ever wanted, its wonderful green leafiness all right there in its little pot of dirt. Now I just have to figure out how I can keep it from dying. Since it's winter and the days are going to be getting progressively less sunny, I'm probably an idiot for buying it now. But whatever. I can enjoy it while it lasts...

And I just ate my wonderful afternoon Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake) in the kitchen. it was absolutely fantastic, because in the course of sitting there and eating it, a bunch of my German friends came in (one brewed herself a cup of coffee, too) and we made plans for this weekend. Tomorrow I'm going to a party with them at Fichtenweg 11, and then Sunday apparently we are celebrating my birthday. Not sure how that's going to play out yet, but I think I'll go to the store Saturday, get a crate of beer, chill them in my fridge, and then bring them to the kitchen on Sunday night. I love hanging out with Germans, because I'm getting closer and closer to understanding most everything they are saying. Maybe someday soon I'll be able to contribute to the conversation... right now, it seems like I'll think of something appropriate or even witty to say, but the converstation moves so fast that by the time I think of it, the moment has passed.

But conversation with other Germans, the ones I don't know - that is going far better than before. I had a hold-up for a while there, still kinda do, about talking to German sales people in situations such as at the store or the post office. But I've realized some things about this topic, and the mind tricks I need to pull with myself to get over this. Here's a few:

"The second I open my mouth, they'll know from my accent that I'm foreign/native English speaking/American."
Big deal. Tuebingen has so many international students and residents, they're used to accented German. They might be a little snippy with you because of it, but they're like that anyway, even with most Germans. Plus, since they know you're not native, they'll speak a little clearer, simpler, and slower, which can only be to your advantage. Worse case scenarios: you won't be able to understand what they're saying, or even will start speaking to you in English in some cases. A simple "Noch mal, bitte" can fix the first problem, and the second may or may not be a problem, depending on your German skill level and how flustered you are at the moment.

"What if I use the wrong vocab, or mess up in my grammar?"
Again - big deal. The main thing is to get your point across, and that you and the sales person each understand what the other is saying. I tell myself the following: "Well, at least I'm not trying to buy these groceries in France." Also, I speak too fast sometimes in German, a problem I also have in English. If I slow down, I have enough time to think and usually get the grammar and vocab right, plus I tend to enunciate better, a value which lends itself to the German language. Many Germans speak fast, but many also speak naturally slow, and they don't sound dumb. So sloooow down.

"Crap, I hate asking questions, because what if they just gave me that information?"
Doesn't matter. Would you rather go away and not know the answer to your question? Sometimes that's a tempting idea, but it's better to go ahead and ask.

The bottom line for me is that I just need to reassure myself that I probably speak better German than 98% of Americans, so just chill out and use your skills. Also, if they start speaking English to you, speak German back. Don't give in.

Time for a nap before tonight's activites. If you need some music recommendations, see last post's blurb on Weezer, or listen to John Mayer's cover of Kid A. Or Rockapella's "Don't Tell Me You Do." Ahhh, music.
Going to a concert tonight at the university! A local philharmonic orchestra will be playing Beethoven, Grieg, and Dvorak! Should be fantastic. Afterwards, there is the weekly Clubhaus party, a crowded meeting point for the Uni students. You get mostly the same crowd there every week, but it isn't usually a bad thing. On the contrary...

Other plans for today include grocery shopping, mailing some letters, and buying a membership at Planet Fitness, which is a local gym. The semester special is only 130 Euros for 6 months. Better act now while the offer stands... I also bought some Johannisbeerkuchen (red currant cake) to have with coffee this afternoon. It's a dumb thing to plan into your day and be excited about, but really, did you expect anything else from me? Plus, I think it's really quite German of me, to plan on having cake and coffee at about 3 in the afternoon.

Another very German thing I did today was eat a buttered pretzel and a "belegtes broetchen" after I got home from lecture (about 20 minutes ago). Picked 'em up fresh from the baker's! Delicious. I forget what kind of broetchen I got - the names are all so different and strange and hard to remember - it might have been Malzbroetchen. In any case, I need to remember because it was whole wheat and wonderful. Ashley, the bakeries here give Great Harvest a run for their money... I want to try every kind of bread these people can offer me.

Well, off to start of my weekend. I love having Fridays off! Rah!

music of the day: Weezer - Falling For You (seriously, I have this song on repeat)

german word of the day: mehrsprachig (English - multilingual)


I am worth $1,386,066 on HumanForSale.com
Taking my laundry off the hang-dry thing today, I was reminded of a short conversation I had with a German guy in my dorm about laundry here (in German but I'll translate). This was just after the first time I'd completed a round of laundry, by the way:

Me: Laundry here sucks! It takes so long to wash, then hang dry, and then iron. Does it always take so long?

Armin: It's okay. After a while, you learn some tricks that make it go faster.

Me: For example?

Armin: I don't iron anymore.

Well, that's not what I was hoping for... but now that another round is dry, I don't know if I really want to go through the trouble of ironing, either... maybe Armin was on to something.


Apparently, the riots in France have inspired copycat riots in Germany and Belgium. You can imagine that this is exactly what I want to hear. Hooray.


back from the Kennen-Lernen-Wochenende. Was fun. More on that later.