What brings you here?

For the season that’s in it, I decided to write about something totally unrelated because, let’s face it, I think most of us are Christmassed out at this stage. I don’t think I was ever particularly Christmassed in, to be honest.

Instead I thought I’d write about something far more interesting – me. Or, more precisely, my blog. Expat Eye on Germany has been going for around four months now and I’m pretty pleased with it. While I never expect it to reach the dizzying heights of “popularity” that the Latvian blog reached, I am actually quite happy about that. Pissing off two million Latvians is manageable; pissing off 85 million Germans is a different story.

So, with blog hits heading for 25,000 and close to 3,000 comments, let’s have a look at some of the weird and wonderful search terms that have brought people here.

that expat linda girl

I think the Latvians might be looking for me…

berlinda the expat sausage

I’m offended. And also hungry.

crazy linda in ikea

Yes, that wasn’t one of my finer moments. I still haven’t changed my mind about the place though. NEVER AGAIN.

how many time couple fuking for baby bourn

I’m not really sure why Google sent you to me. I’m hardly an expert on procreation. Still, if I could give you one piece of advice, it would be – don’t procreate. The world has enough morons.

places in germany that look like fuck

I’ll admit that I haven’t travelled that much of Germany yet, but there don’t really seem to be that many places that look like fuck. However, if you’re really intent on this, you could try Marzahn. Alternatively, just skip Germany altogether and head for Poland or Latvia – there are plenty of places that look like fuck there.

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Marzahn. It looks like fuck.
german poo shelf

I know, I know. Despite numerous explanations/justifications, I still don’t get it either. (Splash.)

german word for i’ve followed through

You sound like you might be in need of a poo shelf.

english mans sexs only towel dress image

Sorry, but I’m more interested in German mans sexs right now.

German mans sexs

 

do germans working in america understand our humor

I don’t see why the Germans would have any more difficulty understanding American humour than any other nationality.

why all ppl want to move to germany

Because it’s awesome.

sex with german sweeping maid utibe

I’ll get my uniform and a camera. In the meantime, this will have to do…

Sexy, I know.
Sexy, I know.

weed feels like japan

Um…

am around just a little busy,but i live in buru in german language

Double “um”…

am all tied up man whatsup/old fashioned pictures of women tied up/girls who likes to meet up and being tied up for the evening/girls who likes to meet up and being tied up gagged

I really hope I never bump into this guy.

And finally…

why is expat eye so popular?

You tell me!

So a big thank you to everyone who’s been reading and commenting  – except the gagging guy. Here’s to a fantastic 2015! I hope you all join me for the ride – except the gagging guy.

Happy New Year/Guten Rutsch!

(And hoch fünf)

 

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Our German teacher hates us

Or maybe she just hates all people, or life in general – it’s hard to say.

We’re at the end of the seventh week of the course. In that time, we’ve had three different teachers. The first teacher hightailed it to Düsseldorf to get away from us; we had a really nice teacher for one week who greatly helped our pronunciation and seemed genuinely interested in improving our German in general; now we have the hippy from hell. She seems more interested in picking at the holes in her leggings and playing with her “white person dreads” than she is in us.

She seems to forget that while we may not be very clever in German, we’re actually a pretty smart bunch in real life – a scientist, an economist, an engineer… Naturally, she took an instant dislike to the poor Italian, who she treats as if he has the IQ of a baked bean. I don’t think she’s realised that taking the piss out of him in German, which she does frequently, is totally wasted on him as I’m the only one who can understand her.

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Thankfully, I only have two more lessons to go, as I only booked eight weeks to begin with. Frankly, I’m not overly impressed with the school, the teachers, or the organisation of the classes. As a teacher, it’s pretty easy to spot when another teacher shows up with no idea where we are in the book, or what we had for homework, and this is the impression I get here.

However, I do feel that I’ve gained something from the classes, though probably not as much as I’ve gained from my flatmates, Dietmar and total strangers. I’m kind of in love with the German language so I’m constantly experimenting with the few words I do have, believing that I’m speaking Deutsch, when in reality, I’m speaking Denglish.

Me: Hallo, schlaf-y Kopf.

Hildeberta: What?

Me: Sleepy head. Schlaf-y Kopf.

Hildeberta: Ha ha ha! NEIN, that does not work in German. You have to say “Schlafmütze”!

Me: Schlafmütze. Yes, I like that. 

Hildeberta: Just be careful you say “Schlaf” and not “Schlaff”.

Me: What? They both sound the same. What’s the difference?

Hildeberta: “Schlaf” means sleep. “Schlaff” means “limp dick”.

Me: Right. Well, I guess that could come in handy too… 

On Wednesday night, we were out as it was Hildeberta’s last night before she took off for the depths of southern Germany for Christmas.

Me: Hurrah for delicious Glühwein – hoch fünf! 

Hildegard: What? 

Me: Hoch fünf – high five.

Hildegard: Bah haha! No German has ever said that EVER! 

Me: Why not? It makes perfect sense.

Hildegard: Yeah, I guess you’re right…

“Hoch fünf” is now the running joke in our apartment. I’m hoping it will catch on in the rest of Germany too. Who’s with me?

While the girls are sweet and patient, Dietmar treats my German language-learning like German boot camp. Some evenings when I go round there, I feel like I’m being initiated into the German army, rather than relaxing with a glass of Cognac.

Dietmar: What is that in German? (Points at the fridge)

Me: I don’t know. 

Dietmar: “Kühlschrank” – say it. 

Me: Kühlschrank. 

Dietmar: Gut. What is that in German? 

Me: I don’t know. I’m tired…

Dietmar: NEIN! You will learn! Drop and give me twenty! 

Me: Sigh. 

He then instructs me to get various things from various places in the kitchen by giving me directions in German. He ends up with the toaster, kettle, corkscrew, mobile phone, bread… before I finally hand him the glass he was actually looking for. At least I find it funny.

However, bit by bit, I can see that I’m making progress – though obviously not fast enough for Dietmar. Yesterday evening, on my way to the train station, I decided to stop off at my favourite Glühwein stand on Friedrichstraße for a quickie before going home.

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I got chatting to two really nice German women on their way home from work. Their English was pretty limited, so German was really the only option we had. To my amazement, they could actually understand me, and I could understand around 80% of what they were saying. I’m pretty sure I made hundreds of mistakes over the course of what turned out to be four Glühweine, but we muddled through.

So, I’m going to keep doing what I do – entertaining the Germans in my life with my hilarious German, while trying to make my own particular brand of Irish-German a real thing.

Hoch fünf everyone!

 

 

 

(Christmas) Party of One

The alternative title for this post could be – “I am a massive feckin’ eejit”.

Friday night was my school’s Christmas party. Unfortunately, one of my old friends from university was also in town with his parents that day. As usual, wanting to do everything, I arranged to meet them in the afternoon for a drink, thinking I’d still have loads of time to pretty myself up before the party.

One drink turned into, well, more than one drink so I was running way behind schedule when I crashed back into my apartment later that evening. A quick shower, a quick bite to eat and a quick glass of wine with my long-suffering flatmates and I was good to go. I Googled the address, put my free drinks tokens into my wallet and ran to the U-Bahn station.

Free drinks
Free drinks

I thought that the venue for the party was a bit odd – Wittenau is pretty out of the way. But maybe the school had some connection with the area that I didn’t know about. Yes, I was sure that was what it was.

I emerged from Wittenau station just as the heavens opened. Lacking an umbrella and inspired by German engineering and innovation, I pulled a Media Markt plastic bag out of my handbag and attempted to wrap the handles around my ears to keep my hair dry.

Vorsprung durch Technik
Vorsprung durch Technik

Naturally, I took off in the wrong direction, but a helpful passing German turned me around when I stopped to ask him if I was going the right way. I walked along, thinking I was every killer’s dream, as I’d even brought my own plastic bag to help him suffocate me with.

By the time I got to Oranienburger Straße 67, I looked like a drowned rat. But there was also another small problem.

I walked up to the bar and got the bar girl’s attention.

Me: Entschuldigung, das ist Oranienburger Straße 67?

Helga: Ja…

Me: Aber… das ist nicht der richtige Name… (But… it’s not the right name)

Helga: Was?

The guy beside me at the bar was curious now so he joined in the confusing conversation. I showed him the name of the bar I was actually looking for.

Knut: You know there are at least two Oranienburger Straßen in Berlin, right? 

Me: No, I did not know that. Heilige Scheiße. I’ve come all the way across the city only to end up at the wrong bar… oh well, white wine, please. Um, do you think she’d accept these drink tokens?

Knut: Probably not, no.

Me: No, I didn’t think so either.

After I’d got my drink, I took in my surroundings. It seemed that a) I was the only woman in the bar, and b) everyone else was a biker. Having given up on the idea of traipsing back across the city again, I made myself comfortable and settled in for the evening.

By around 3am, I was on first name terms with most of the punters, and Knut was my new best friend. I’d even had a bit of interest in English lessons. All in all, it was great fun. As I’d arranged to go to Dietmar’s for a nightcap, I started to put on my coat (and plastic bag) and asked for my bill.

Knut wouldn’t hear of me paying for myself so he settled the bar tab, called a taxi, and paid the driver in advance so I could travel back to Dietmar’s neighbourhood in style. Don’t you just love Germans?

The next day, I regaled my stunned flatmates with my (mis)adventures. They now think I should have my own reality TV show.

 

 

 

The first Irish-German Eskimo in Berlin

After a gloriously long autumn, it seems that winter has finally hit Berlin. Despite spending five years in Central/Eastern/Northern Europe, I was still woefully unprepared so an emergency winter coat-buying mission was in order.

20141128_160945[1]I was very pleased with my purchase, until a homeless man started pointing and laughing, saying, “Ha ha ha, es ist ein kleine Eskimo!” Then he asked me for money. I gave it to him as I thought insulting someone was rather a unique way to beg.

Later that week, I was taking some rubbish out to the bins – I know, I’m so German. One of my neighbours was there trying to turn a cardboard box the size of a bed into the size of a matchbox. So engrossed in his task was he that he didn’t hear me approach and jumped about a foot in the air when I let the lid of the bin fall.

Deciding that almost giving the poor man a heart attack wasn’t enough, I proceeded to hop from foot to foot, waving my hands around going “Woooo, ich bin der kleine Eskimooooo…” He didn’t look impressed but he might have been laughing on the inside. It was dark and my hood was over my eyes from all the hopping about so I couldn’t really tell.

Anyway, it seems that despite not being a fan of winter, or Christmas for that matter, I’m coping with it slightly better in Germany. I put this down to the fact that the Germans – as with most things – do Christmas well.

While parents are busy beating the crap out of each other over “Frozen” dolls in my home town in Ireland, the Germans are cheerily setting up wonderful Christmas markets and getting merrily sloshed on Glühwein. I know where I’d rather be.

I went to my first Christmas market, at Potsdamer Platz, a couple of weeks ago with an Australian girl I work with. To say that we were stupidly excited would be a massive understatement. We were worse than kids – kids on Glühwein.

But I actually recommend going to your first German Christmas market with another foreigner. That was you can be ridiculously over-enthusiastic about everything and freak the Germans out no end.

Sheila: Germany is AWESOME! 

Manfred: Really? Germany??

Me: YES! 

Sheila: And Germans are AWESOME!

Me: YES! They’re so friendly and helpful and amazing! 

Ulf: Germans? Really??

Sheila: YES!

Me: And Glühwein is fantastic! 

Continue this line of conversation until you’ve cleared the wine hut – we did.

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The great thing about Germans is that hot wine alone isn’t alcoholic enough for them. No, they have to add more alcohol to it. So far, I’ve had Glühwein with rum, amaretto, brandy, and a cheeky little cherry Glühwein with vanilla vodka. Not all in the same glass, you understand.

One was my friend's - I swear.
One was my friend’s – I swear.

It seems there are 60 Christmas markets in Berlin. So far, I’ve been to three – at Potsdamer Platz, Gendarmenmarkt, and Holy Heimat (hipster heaven Christmas market) in Friedrichshain. I’m not sure I’ll manage another 57 of them before I go back to Ireland for Christmas, but I’m going to have a bloody good time trying.

 

 

 

 

My Mannschaft

Don’t worry, I haven’t had a penis transplant. No, ‘Mannschaft’ is the (rather hilarious) German word for ‘team’. And, in my quest to become a fully-fledged German, supporting a football Mannschaft is an important step. Plus, I’m a big fan of any hobby that you can do with a beer or a whiskey in your hand.

Choosing a team was relatively easy – coming from a country that loses at virtually everything, this time round, I was going to pick a winner, and that meant Bayern Munich.

OK, they're not Bayern Munich but hey, hot Germans with their shirts off... why not?
OK, they’re not Bayern Munich but hey, hot Germans with their shirts off… why not?

This would prove to be an unpopular choice at the Offside Bar a few weeks ago. Bayern were playing Dortmund and it was standing room only, with everyone in the bar supporting Dortmund. Oh well, now I’d get to combine being annoying with beer, whiskey and football – perfect.

When one (bad) German stood up to leave, I shot into his seat and found myself at a table with several jovial German men. Dortmund were winning 1-0 for most of the match so I decided to spice things up a little.

Me: I bet you a whiskey that Munich win 2-1.

Knut: No way! 

Me: Yes way. 

Knut: Ha, OK, I’ll take that bet. 

And then Munich scored twice and I got a very nice whiskey out of it. Football is fun.

A few days later I was chatting to my English friend.

Me: I really want to go to a football match. 

Nigel: I have a season ticket for Union Berlin. 

Me: Cool! Maybe I’ll come along some time. 

Nigel: I’m going to a match on Saturday – Union are playing 1860 Munich.

Me: Count me in!

So, I bought a ticket and we hopped on the train to Köpenick. As you have to walk through a forest to get to the stadium, we decided to get a beer for the journey. My first street beer – how German am I?

We joined the queue at the security area, which is where I made the unfortunate discovery that they don’t let men frisk women. Helga Hammer-Hands gave me a rather brutal seeing to – she touched places my most intimate man friends have seldom gone. But then we were in.

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The atmosphere was electric and the fans were über friendly. We got chatting to loads of people, including two Japanese guys who didn’t really seem to know what was going on most of the time. Luckily, the Union chant is written on the stands, so I was able to join in immediately. ‘Unsere Liebe. Unsere Mannschaft…’ It sounded great roared in an Irish accent.

Me: I bet you a whiskey that Union don’t score before half-time. 

Nigel: I’ll take that bet. 

One more whiskey for me. Clearly I am excellent at this football stuff. In the end, we lost 4-1 but it was a fantastic day out. I think I’ll stick with Munich Mannschaften in future though – there’s less chance of being schafted.