Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wunsch abgeleistet

We actually walked by a cab with this sign on top just before we left for our American holiday.

It was great to be home. Even the things that drive me crazy about the US feel comfortingly familiar. My three-year anniversary in Berlin is fast-approaching (when did this happen?!), which means I've lived outside the US for about 4 years now. I am certainly used to Berlin at this point and it is also home, but it still lacks the familiarity of the US.

To answer my mystery reader's question, (side note: why do people keep trying to sell things in the comment section here? I think I have about 13 regular readers...) considering that I didn't speak any German upon moving here (words like Bier and Bratwurst and Radio aside), I have learned a lot of German. It was actually easier to learn than I had been led to expect: the whole deal with putting the verb at the end of the sentence is really not such a big thing to master. I tend to be quick to gain comprehension in foreign languages (although my sample size is pretty small) and I can follow most any conversation (unless it's very technical), watch movies without subtitles, talk on the phone, etc. I can also mostly always say what I need to say in social situations, as well as more formal settings like the doctor or the bank, but I struggle a lot with expressing complex or subtle concepts and I'm still not at the point where I really feel like my personality gets across 100%. In case you're wondering, yes this is frustrating if you are trying to market your small business auf Deutsch. Of course more immersion would do wonders, but I work alone most of the time and mein Mann and I have only in the last few months really started speaking German together at home. If I had a Euro for every person who told me/us that we should have spoken German together from the start, I could buy something of consequence, but they were wrong (and I'm not a good consumer anyway (except at the grocery store)). Of course I wish my German were better today, but I didn't move to the Fatherland to learn German, I moved here to get to know a German and 2.5 weddings (to the same person, of course...) later, I think I did OK. So that was probably way more on learning German that you, mysterious reader, wanted, but there you have it...

Anyway, it was great to be stateside: the food (dungenness crab, broccoli rabe (why in this land of Italy-worshippers and bitter green-eaters, do they not sell this here?), eggnog, multiple Mexican meals, late-night dumplings in Chinatown, olive oil-poached squid, early birthday cake), the people who care about food, the in-house cookbook library, the over-the-top Christmas decorations, having most of my favorite people in one timezone, the tangible New York Times, top sheets, blue skies, snow in Central Park, 2xTerriers....

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