May 11th – Inspiration

Today’s Blog Everyday in May prompt is, “Who inspires you?”

1. My parents – they both work very hard and put aside time to take care of all of their children.  I’ve talked about both of them in previous posts and I hope that when I’m eventually a parent, I’m like them.

2. Authors – Dear people who have written books, how do you do it?  I’m having trouble enough blogging daily, I’m amazed at the dedication that others are able to put into a novel. I want your secrets! I’ve got ideas, but no follow-through.  Maybe I will do NaNoWriMo when it rolls around this year…

Sending prayers to St. Jane for aid
Sending prayers to St. Jane for aid

3. Polyglots – I’m so envious of polyglots and also want to know their secrets – though in reality, I know the secrets.  Speak as much as possible even though you sound like an idiot. Immerse yourself in the new language. Don’t be lazy and speak English with your native German speaker fiance.

Me everyday Itchy Feet by Malachi Rempen
Me everyday, but with German
Itchy Feet by Malachi Rempen
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Leben in Deutschland Questions

In order to apply for permanent residency and/or citizenship here in Germany, you have to take the “Life in Germany” test.  For residency, I believe you need to answer 15 out of 33 questions correctly, and for citizenship you need to answers 17 questions correctly.  Assuming you have a fair knowledge of German and you’ve reviewed the information, it’s pretty easy.

30 questions are pulled from a 300 question catalog over German politics, history, and culture.  The last 3 questions are pulled from a 10 question list that relate specifically to the state the tester lives in.  All of the questions are available here for practice purposes – though going through the whole list numbs your brain.

I found the political questions the most difficult, as I had a tendency to jumble up the different offices a bit.  The German government follows a three branch system as the United States does, so I at least had something I already knew about to compare to.  I found the history section fairly easy, as it focused on 1933 to now, and American history classes loooove World War II and the Cold War.  I had learned most of what was covered already.  The culture section focused mostly on day to day life and laws, which seemed pretty intuitive to me, but might have been more tricky if I came from a culture that was completely different.

Some of the questions were pretty easy – and some were comical.  I went back through my giant printout of question and pulled them out and translated them for your enjoyment. Others who come from a different background might not find these as funny as I do, but I feel that a lot of people who read this will find some amusement from it.

8. What is not stated in the constitution of Germany?
a. Human dignity is inviolable.
b. Everyone should have the same amount of money.
c. Everyone can speak their minds.
d. All are equal before the law.

Unfortunately the answer is B.  The government does not ensure that everyone has the same amount of money.  This could be considered a good thing or a bad thing depending on how much money you already have.

137. Which court in Germany is responsible for conflicts in the work-world?
a. The family court
b. The criminal court
c. The work court
d. The district court

It almost feels like a trick.  It would be too simple if the work court was responsible for work conflicts. Thankfully the Germans are very straightforward and c is correct.

226. Which is the flag of the European Union?

Flag_of_the_United_States.svg

Flag_of_Europe.svg

Flag_of_the_United_Nations.svg

652px-Flag_of_CEFTA.svg

The US wishes the first was the answer! (or not… probably not)  I actually had to take a picture of the last flag from my test paper and reverse google image search it to figure out what it is even for.  It is the flag of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) – thanks Google!

245. Who can not live together as a couple in Germany?

a. Hans (20 years old) and Marie (19 years old)
b. Tom (20 years old) and Klaus (45 years old)
c. Sofie (35 years old) and Lisa (40 years old)
d. Anne (13 years old) and Tim (25 years old)

Oh my lord, Tim is so creepy.

251. If someone beats a child in Germany…
a. that’s no one’s business.
b. that is only the family’s business.
c. they can not be punished for it.
d. they can be punished for it.

This is one of the ones that I’m sure will have different opinions based on cultural differences.  For me, I find all of the answers besides d completely absurd, but I suppose it isn’t like that everywhere.

267. A young woman in Germany, 22 years old, lives together with her boyfriend. The woman’s parents disapprove, because they do not like her boyfriend. What can the parents do?
a. They must respect the decision of their adult daughter.
b. They have the right to take their daughter back to their house.
c. They can go to the police and show them the daughter.
d. They look for another man for the daughter.

Another cultural one.  The parents could do a few of those things, but they would run into some problems with b and d – and get laughed at by the Polizei for c.

276. What should you do if you are mistreated by your contact person in a German office?
a. I can do nothing.
b. I have to put up with the treatment.
c. I threaten the person.
d. I can complain to the office supervisor.

I think this one is here just so that immigrants know that they don’t have to put up with being mistreated when they jump through all their bureaucratic hoops.  This one is funny to me because I didn’t actually know the German word for threaten at the time (drohen), so I had a bit of a shock when I looked it up.

If you are preparing for this test, don’t be too scared!  While I haven’t actually received my results yet, I found it way easier than the language test, and I passed that one!

English in Germany – Awkward English #1

Generally speaking, Germans have a fairly good grasp of English.  Many younger Germans speak English very well, and due to the pervasiveness of the language, pretty much everyone has picked up on phrases here and there.  But that doesn’t mean it’s always implemented well, especially on products and advertising.  I will try to document, to the best of my ability, the awkward English I happen upon while I wander the Fatherland.

image

I can do!  You’re totally right!  Thanks for the inspiration!

German is a silly, silly language

I’ve decided to finally getting around to making a blog for my move to Germany, because I feel like I have great stories all the time.  Unfortunately, now that I’ve gotten the site all organized, I’ve drawn a blank.  So, instead of telling an immigration story, I’m going to make a list of my favorite German words – well favorite literal translations of German words

1. Faultier 

As I’m sure you know from my header, because of course you read it, a Faultier is a sloth and it translates literally to “lazy animal”.  Now, the English word “sloth” does have ties to laziness, but it is an older word that isn’t really used much unless someone is referring to the seven deadly sins.  “Faul” is the current German word for lazy, and it is pronounced like “foul”, which adds another layer of humor.

2. Glühbirne

“Glow pear” – I know light bulb isn’t terribly different, because a bulb is the bit in the ground that plants grow from (Germans refer to these as onions, regardless of the plant), but for some reason the image of glowing pears still strikes me as funny.

3. Handschuh

I know this sounds like “hand shoe” – which is what it directly translates too, but it actually refers to gloves.  Crazy, I know.  I would think that hand sock would be a better fit, but “handsocke” is apparently too ridiculous, even for Germans.

4. Nilpferd

Back to animals, this translates directly to “nile horse”.  The elegant sounding “nile horse” is actually a hippopotamus – which in itself is a silly word.

5. Krankenschwester

Kranken-anything is funny to me, but I find “Krankenschwester” to be the funniest.  Kranken means “sick” and schwester means “sister” – so together it means something along the lines of “sister of the sick”.  This is the word for nurse.  I’ve been told that more and more “Krankenpfleger/in” is used, which means “carer of the sick” and can apply more easily to any gender, but “Krankenschwester” is still hanging in there.  We also have “house of the sick” (Krankenhaus) and “vehicle of the sick” (Krankenwagen) for “hospital” and “ambulance” respectively.

Did I miss any words?  Please comment and let me know!  And if you have any questions or ideas for me to write about, leave them below!