Monday, September 17, 2007

What I Learned This Summer

So, truthfully, I don't remember 90% of the things I intended to put in a post with this title, but I'll give it my best '10 minutes after finishing one work assignment, 10 minutes before starting on another' shot:

1.) The way Germans say 'cool' is really cute. No really. It's like 'kuhl' with a bit of a rising intonation (you have to say it with a little smile). Ask Sean. He does a pretty good imitation.

2.) Even more surprising, salad is really good in Germany. In the U.S., a side salad (even in some really nice restaurants) is a couple pieces of limp iceberg lettuce. I've never seen iceberg lettuce in Germany. All the salads have really great looking and tasting greens (sadly, I don't know the names of different kinds of lettuce) and corn. Salad is really good with corn.

3.) Bring cash when you travel. In Germany and a lot of other places, credit cards aren't widely accepted (and bring small coins and make sure you've broken that fifty; no one likes to give you change).

4.) As terrible as I feel for being a stupid American and not bi- or tri- or quadlingual like some people here, it wouldn't matter if I knew 10 languages if one of them wasn't English. It's not just the language stupid American tourists use in Paris and worldwide, it's the language French tourists use in Budapest, the language Italian tourists use in Prague, etc. So, that's something. (Totally unrelatedly, everywhere I went I saw Japanese and Chinese tour groups. But I also saw young Japanese couples traveling on their own. Given what I know about Japan, not all of these couples could possibly be conversant in English, so they must be winging it. Pretty adventurous and impressive.)

5.) D'oh, I totally had a #5 and forgot it as I was writing #4.

[Updated 17.09.07, 11:44pm: Ah-ha! 5.) Did you realize that Canadians, the British, and all the Germans I've met refer to English units as 'imperial units'? It makes sense, but, honestly, it never even occurred to me and I'd never heard the term until I moved to Germany. I once tried to explain to someone that no American would ever use the term 'imperial units,' but they didn't really get it.]


Eugene said...

I actually don't understand why the Europeans call them the "Imperial Units" (and yes we call it such back home, even shorten it to the convenient "IU" "Advanced Thermodynamics (IU)" in book covers). I mean, why would the Germans or French want to acknowledge the Evil British Empire?

Jackie said...

Eugene - I assume Europeans don't care because they're metric and they just call the system whatever their British friends call it.