When we were kids back at Central Elementary, our music teacher Ms. K would strum her guitar and lead us all in a song as we clambered into the gym bleachers for an assembly. The song was literally saying “hello” in every different language over and over so that kids could pick it up as they came into the gymnasium. I will never forget it, so I’m sure some of you remember it (and will sing this next line rather than read it),
“Hell-oh, hell-oh, hello my good friends, hell-oh.”
That was it, over and over in several languages. I remember German the best because no one actually knew that it was “Guten tag,” so we all sang,
“Good dog, good dog, good dog my good friends, good dog.”
That was genuinely how we thought you said “hello” auf Deutsch. As snotty-nosed 6 year olds, can you blame us? We didn’t know any better. Most of us were lucky enough to be able to read and speak English, let alone other languages. We thought we were pretty awesome stuff knowing how to say “hi” in another language.
We didn’t learn foreign languages in elementary school and I took one semester of German and Spanish in junior high as an introductory course. In high school, my language options were French and Spanish. I took Spanish (mostly because I knew that it would later involve a trip to Spain) because I knew that a large population of the United States spoke the language and it might come in handy some day. Well, I lived in Texas and never once spoke Spanish so poo-poo to that. It’s not because I chose not to speak it, it’s because I chose not to visit the neighborhoods that were mostly Mexican. They weren’t always what you might call…safe. I didn’t continue my foreign language studies in college, so I have forgotten most of the Spanish that I once knew. After living in Germany for about a month and a half, now I understand how difficult it is to learn a foreign language as an adult.
Have you gathered that I don’t speak German yet? It’s certainly not for lack of trying!
It just doesn’t seem to stick. I can say a few phrases and can probably get by in just about any conversation. Like if I needed to order a car accident, tell someone I am hurt, would like something to eat and drink, tell them how good it is, and then go buy a dog, I can probably handle it. The problem is when they respond. I end up asking them if they speak English because I can’t pick up what they said. Most of the time they speak English very well and I honestly think they appreciate my effort. Sometimes they even tell me my German is not so bad (all the while trying to contain their amusement at how I actually completely butchered their language and managed to ask them if I could buy a train ticket to drink with my schnitzel).
Orientation is over. Our days of being newbies here in Germany are pretty much over. We’ve had the chance to do just about everything once (including figuring out the process of getting gas, coffee, and alcohol with a ration card). My goal now, is to rely less on the American services (American military bases) and do more interacting with the German economy. Forget German Demystified and Rosetta Stone…I’m going to learn the language by osmosis!
We FINALLY (insert angelic sounding chorus singing “ahhhh” here) got our house completely unpacked. It wasn’t easy and it happened over the course of several days. Trust me, unpacking the shear amount of magazines the Viper Pilot has takes several hours. We had to sort them by title and stack them in chronological order. It’s borderline obsession if you ask me…
We all have our quirks and I love him even if we did move at least 500 magazines halfway across the world and will probably do it again in a few years. I just don’t understand it and probably never will see why we have to keep Aviation Week issues from 2007.
Of course, things will move around with time. We still have some wedding pictures to frame and hang on the walls, and I’m pretty sure another trip to Tongeren is a must to fill the empty spaces…but for now, we’re pretty pleased with how it turned out.
Getting the family pictures hung was a big piece of making our house a home. Home is where loved ones gather, and with the majority of our family back in the states so far away, it’s nice to see their smiling faces on the walls.
The weather in our neck of the woods has been in a constant change. Temperatures are declining, each day is noticeably shorter than the previous, and the sun doesn’t shine quite like it used to. Summer is fading and fall is without a doubt making a debut.
If you told me it was going to snow right now, I would probably believe you. Same can be said for the past few days. It’s been chilly (it’s a dry cold, it gets into your bones) and overcast. We’re lucky that we have a wood stove in our house because it’s going to be very useful this fall and winter.
Elle is slowly adjusting to her new territory. She has managed to escape through the fence in the backyard several times despite our attempts to rig and re-rig the fence to keep her contained. She barks when she hears a strange noise which means she knows this is her property and you’d best stay off it. Now that we aren’t moving containers and furniture around, she’s really happy. She doesn’t love the tile floor so much, but we have a lot of big rugs and she pretty well sticks to those. When she zooms around, she leaps from rug to couch and runs in circles on the rug. It’s pretty hilar.
The other night was one one of those nights when sweatpants, socks and sweatshirts couldn’t keep you cozy, enough, so I made chicken tortilla soup, and the Viper Pilot lit the fire.
After dinner, we curled up on the couch with our favorite cozy blankets and watched episodes of Burn Notice (one of the two shows we are currently addicted to) on DVD (that the base library conveniently rents out for free).
Elmer found her happy place by the fire.
It’s finally feeling like home and we’re falling into a routine which is a wonderful thing. We haven’t had a day-to-day routine in months. I’ve even managed to get back into a work-out regimen. It feels wonderful and will feel even better in a few weeks when I can move again…ouch. I got all my clothes unpacked and after wearing them for the past few days, I’ve discovered just how well they don’t fit and maybe it’s time to do something about all that German beer, brats, pretzels, and schnitzel I’ve been feasting on these past few weeks. A daily work-out is a small price to pay for the deliciousness that is German beer and cuisine and everyone loves a healthy heart. 😉
We both had a chuckle when we unpacked the container full of my work-out materials and found that we were down one 10 pound weight.
It was one of a few other broken items in the move, but fortunately, nothing very near and dear to our hearts and we can claim the damages and get new ones. These things are bound to happen in an overseas PCS.
Well, the Viper Pilot is home so I’m going to scramble up some sort of dinner and maybe we’ll light another fire. Check back later this week for another recipe post. Mississippi Mud Cookies FTW! 🙂