March 18, 2004

A Fun Night

Tonight was great. After class four of us went out for a beer or two and some food. There was Mason, from India, myself, Eren from Turkey, and our teacher Matthias. It took a while to get a table in the small bar but it was worth it.

Mason and Eren are both in the shipping business, so they talked a lot of business. Matthias happens to be a university student studying literature (German and Spanish literature) so he and I had a lot to discuss. We ran the gamut from American postmodernism (yuck) to Garcia Marquez (genius) to Gunter Grass (old). Matthias said he liked American literature better than German or Spanish, but he didn't like American literary theory, and I had to agree with him on that front.

I also was called upon to represent my country in explaining things like Groundhog Day. We got on the subject of Bill Murray and Matthias said "What do you call it? It's like a hamster, but bigger?" Groundhogs. I was left dangling trying to explain this bizarre American custom. Sadly, I was not able to do such a good job. I mean I know the groundhog looks for his shadow, but what does it mean? I played it off like I knew what I was talking about, saying that if the groundhog sees his shadow it's 6 more weeks of winter. I'm not sure if that's correct but I figured no one was going to look it up to call me on it. Further research reveals that I remembered correctly--shadow = 6 weeks of winter. Phew!

I also was quizzed on Schwarzenegger ("don't blame me, I didn't vote for him") and Bush ("don't blame me, I didn't vote for him either."). My responses were eerily similar.
Matthias: "Germans think that Schwarzegeneggar as Governer is really funny"
Me: "Many Americans feel that way too."
Matthias: "Germans don't like Kerry, but they like Bush even less. Therefore they are rooting for Kerry."
Me: "Many Americans feel that way too."

I introduced them to American oddities.
Me: "It's called Der Wienerschnitzel, but it only serves hot dogs!" (Matthias found this very funny).

Me: "In California, you can't smoke anywhere."
Matthias: "Even in a disco?"

Mason: "I heard that New York is not like anywhere else in the US."
Me: "Yes, that's true."
Mason: "I also heard that about Los Angeles."
Me: "Yes, that's also true. But New York is nothing like Los Angeles."

Me: "In the US you can't take your dog anywhere inside."
Matthias: "Not even in a restaurant?"
Me: "Especially not a restaurant."

Mason: "So did you live near Silicon Valley?"
Me: "I lived in Silicon Valley."
Matthias: "People live there? I thought it was just like a place people drove to for work."

I've been warmly invited to Istanbul and New Delhi anytime I want to come visit. Eren says I have to see the Turkish Riveria. It sounds interesting.

We ordered baguette sandwiches that were very good, except Eren's. It had a mystery ingredient. Matthias tried to explain
"it's like a blueberry, but it's red?"
Me: "a cranberry?"
Matthias: "Yes, cranberry marmalade. Or like marmalade."
Me: "Jelly?"
Matthias: "Yes, jelly."
Unfortunately, Eren wasn't quite sure what a cranberry was either. Her sandwich came out a little odd, but she said it was okay. Mine was delicious. Salami, Gouda, Feta, lettuce, tomato, and an herb mayo, all on a toasted baguette.

We made plans to go out after another class. Unfortunately Eren leaves at the end of the month. Mason is here for 6 months like me. And Matthias said he'll still be our teacher if we continue on with the same class. Ideally I'd like to move to the morning class but if that doesn't work out I'd love to have Matthias again. He's a very good teacher.

And that was my exciting night.

Posted by Shelby at March 18, 2004 11:28 PM

"What do you call it? It's like a hamster, but bigger?" LMAO! That is so funny!

I think its so great to get together with people from different countries and get to ask them things you thought you would never find out about their customs etc. I wouldve loved to have sat in on your night out with you. Sounded like so much fun! =)

Posted by: Ro at March 19, 2004 04:43 AM
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