February 12, 2004

She Name Is Scout

Lots of excitement today as we adjust to our new country. I tried out some of my German, and in almost every instance I knew I'd chosen the wrong words or sentence structure, but I got my point across and everyone was very nice to me.

Our putzfrau (cleaning lady) showed up today. For some reason I thought she would be coming on Mondays, so here I am lounging about in my pajamas when the doorbell rings. There are three women, two with buckets with cleaning supplies.

Woman #1: Hallo. Heute [something in German]
I know that heute means today so I took this to mean "Today we're going to clean your apartment."
Me (in English): I thought you were coming on Monday?
Woman: No, we come always on Saturday
I took Saturday to mean Thursday
Me: Okay!

I then made a dash for the bathroom with some clothes to make myself presentable. They shouted that they would be back in 1 hour so I jumped in the shower and changed as quickly as possible. Which was good since they came back in 20 minutes.

Two women cleaned the apartment. One bent to pet Scout and I thought I would try out some of my German.

Me: Sie name ist Scout (translation: She name is Scout. I picked the wrong pronoun.)
Woman: Scout (smiles)

Other woman: [something in German]
Me: Ich spreche nicht German (translation: I speak not German. I picked the wrong negation word.)
Other woman smiles and nods.

So I got my point across and got over the first psychological hurdle of using German. I realize that I'm not so afraid of using German as I am of people using it back to me. My comprehension is 0.01% (like one word in every sentence, if that). I know I just need to get used to it, but it's intimidating.

Scout seemed a little anxious about the house cleaners so I took her for a very long walk. It was snowing, but melting on the ground so it was pretty wet out. Scout is so short that the water and dirt gets kicked up onto her tummy. I think she needs doggie mudflaps. I was paranoid that we'd arrive when the cleaning ladies were still there and she'd track dirt all over their newly cleaned floor. Turned out we arrived after they'd left and I was able to towel her down and touch up the floor.

We walked down to the food area. The food court that I mentioned yesterday is like a mall food court ohne (without) the mall. But that's inside and I wasn't sure about the dog situation. I opted instead for the "Pom House" (they're very big on naming establishments in English. For example, there's the "Grab & Go" coffe house and the "Soup & Friends" soup place. I think they're big on ampersands as well). The Pom House is a small french fry place with a window opening on the outside. I ordered in German, and again got it a little wrong (I pronounced pommes the French way--pom--instead of the German way--poms) but the lady smiled at me and understood my order. I considered venturing out and getting the kase-sauce (cheese sauce) but I was feeling shy and nervous so I just got them plain. I passed on the ketchup/mayonnaise combo as well. And they don't give out ketchup here like in the US--they charge you 30 cents. I think it's free at McDonald's though.

Anyway, we had a very successful little (well, big) walk, and I used some of my German today so I felt very proud of myself. What an adventure!

Posted by Shelby at February 12, 2004 11:21 AM

Hey! The ketchup-mayonaisse sauce is GOOD stuff! Don't knock that until you try it. Ketchup-ranch is better though. I bet the cheese sauce is similar to nacho fries at Del Taco.

Posted by: Sherri at February 13, 2004 11:37 AM
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