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Ein guter Vorsatz für das neue Jahr

My “guter Vorsatz für das neue Jahr” otherwise known as my New Year’s Resolution, was to start speaking exclusively in German with my boyfriend. This has proved to be more difficult than I expected. We met in Boise while he was studying abroad and I was just starting to get the hang of the German language. Since he was in Boise to improve his English and I sounded like Yoda with my poor German grammar, we stuck to speaking English.  Once you set a precedent like that and then stick to it for a year, it is hard to break. It feels very unnatural to switch over to German and not just for me. Half the time, he starts speaking to me in English without even noticing. One of the other strange side effects is the lack of good terms of endearment. Trying to find replacements for our English go-to’s has been a bit of a struggle. This might not be groundbreaking information to you readers, but German is not the most romantic of languages. Schnuckiputzi, Hasipupsi, Zaubermaus, Mausibärchen, Knuddelmuddel, Zuckerschnecke?? Half of these I can’t even translate and the rest sound like weird hybrid mythological creates like Bear-mouse, magic-mouse and any other mouse variety. Let’s just say, this is going to take some getting used to.

Me and my Kuschelbär

Me and my Kuschelbär

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How to “versacken.”

After climbing with a couple of guys at the local bouldering gym, we decided to grab a beer. There’s basically nothing better than a good cold beer to wrap your hands around after climbing. We decided we’d just drink one beer and then call it a night. As we were walking up to the pub, Johannes says “Da kann man gut versacken.” Ok. In-head translation.. That’s a great place to ____. A good place to do.. something? What the hell is versacken? Well, I learned through experience. We got into the pub, sat down with some nice people and ordered a beer. The pub was so gemütlich (cozy) and that first beer went down so fast… soooo one more wouldn’t hurt, right? Ok, ok, just one more beer. As we were getting down to the last few swigs of our second beer, some kind German soul realized something terrible was about to happen. We were about be with empty glasses! So, naturally, they bought us a round of beer. When someone puts a nice glass of free beer in front of you, it would be a shame to waste it. Lesson of the night: Versacken is the phenomenon that makes it impossible for one to have just one beer.

Klettern Bouldern Arena in Dudweiler

Klettern Bouldern Arena in Dudweiler

For the Birds

I was sitting at the lunch table with my boyfriend and his parents. They’re all German, mind you. We were making small talk by watching the birds outside in the birdbath and identifying them. In the spirit of learning, boyfriend’s dad whips out the bird book so I can flip through it and learn some new bird names. I managed to identify one of the birds as a chickadee with the help of the book and was ready to drop some mad bird knowledge. I turned to boyfriend’s dad and said confidently “Guck mal, du hast eine Meise.” Boyfriend slapped his hand on his forehead, his mom started giggling and his dad’s eyes got big right before he burst into laughter. Shit. I thought. What did I just say? It turns out, my translation was correct in a direct way. I did say “Look, you have a chickadee.” What I didn’t know, was that what that actually means in a colloquial way is “You’ve lost your marbles.” So rather than dazzling everyone with my superior bird watching skills, I called my boyfriend’s dad crazy.