Sunday, November 6, 2011

Those crazy Germans

I'm fairly certain that there was some peculiar astronomical activity this past week. Otherwise I can't explain this run of really crazy German things that we've encountered. Exhibit A:

Babytee, which, as best as we can tell, really is tea for babies. According to the label, it's only for infants that are at least 2 weeks old, so don't get too anxious. And I think the instructions call for it to be made with carbonated water, which is just crazy. Of course, it's all compensated for by the fact that it's fennel flavored, and you're encouraged to let it cool for a minute before serving. (FYI, we discovered this gem in my weekly reading of the advertisements. I love consumerism.)

On my "commute" to work (10 minutes by bike, 15 by bus, 30 by foot), I saw some graffiti that taught me what to say when I want to shoot someone in German:


Yes, that's "BÄNG," with an umlaut. I love it.

Next on our list was a crazy event we attended. Over the weekend, I noticed a sign in a window advertising an "Orgel trifft Pantomime" evening. That translates to "organ meets pantomime." Not knowing quite what to expect, we went to the main Aachen cathedral in the city center on Wednesday night. It turned out to be exactly as advertised--an organ concert (quite well done, I should add) with a 74-year-old man in full white-face and white mime-robes interpreting the music through miming. His performance included a person growing up, falling in love, and being shot and killed in a war, as well as a very dramatic birth of a child from the child's perspective. Unfortunately, I was feeling rather sick that evening and we left about halfway through. It's also unfortunate that it was too dark to take pictures, so sorry there's nothing to show. But if you need someone else's perspective on the evening, it wouldn't be too hard to track another attendee down--the place was PACKED!

We were on a train the other day and saw this sign:


That says:

Bitte achten Sie beim Aussteigen auf den Spalt zwischen Fahrzeug und Bahnsteigkante!

Which means:

Mind the gap.

German efficiency in syllable conservation, ladies and gentlemen.

Last week at her choir rehearsal (I was sick and stayed at home, working on her homework mind you), Sara noticed something very odd in a vending machine. The rehearsals take place in a religious building of some sorts (it has a chapel and several classrooms, but looks more like a school to the American eye), and the vending machine in the lobby had beer. Way to stem teenage drinking.

Last but not least is a crazy "food" item I had at the Mensa (the student cafeteria) at work: Germknödel.


Germknödel (more at Wikipedia) is a yeasty dough, lightly cooked, that is filled with a plum jam and topped with (plenty of) vanilla sauce. It was quite filling and, at only €1,50, quite the bargain. The problem was that it just wasn't very good. I couldn't resist a whole plate of "lunch" topped with a vanilla sauce, but this one definitely won't make it back across the Atlantic for you, our beloved readers, to sample.

As you can see, we are really immersing ourselves in the German culture, craziness and all. In fact, we are so immersed that we had to take a break and fly over to Vilnius, Lithuania for a weekend, which is where I'm currently writing this post. (For those who don't know, Lithuania is where I served a mission for my church in 2002 and 2003.) It's cold but beautiful, and I'm tearing up walking down the streets. So keep an eye on the Meldrumhaus next week for a report on our little Baltic getaway.


  1. I was thinking cream gravy . . .now with vanilla flavoring. Yuck.

  2. True, the Mensa Germknödel isn't a real gem, but cheap and keeps you going... and the tea is not supposed to be brewed with carbonated water, but with boiling (then it will start to "sprudel") hot water. It actually is great, when your little one has trouble with gas.
    Next time you eat fridays at the mensa, try "kaiserschmarrn"! Same price, much nicer...
    Have fun in Berlin!


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