Germans will be Germans…

I know a lot of people don’t believe me when I say this but the Germans really are very funny people. Unfortunately, most of the time when they crack me up, they’re not actually trying to be funny.

A few weeks ago, I had a lesson with a really nice group. So, I thought I’d torture them with the third conditional, my favourite conditional and the bane of every English language learner’s life. You know the one I mean – if I had stayed in Latvia, I would have gone mad – that sort of thing.

Just kidding Latvia, I love you really...
Just kidding Latvia, I love you really…

Anyway, we’d got the tedious, learn-y bit out of the way so I whipped out a fun exercise I’d found on the internet. At least I thought it would be fun. It should have gone like this: the students brainstorm reasons someone could end up homeless, for example, gambling or drinking problem, financial difficulties, etc.

Once I’d written them all up on the board, the “homeless” students would then make a chain of third conditional sentences in order to convince a wealthy-looking passer-by to give them some money, e.g. If I hadn’t started gambling, I wouldn’t have lost all my money. If I hadn’t lost all my money, my wife wouldn’t have kicked me out. If my wife hadn’t kicked me out, I wouldn’t have ended up on the street. And so on.

The only thing I hadn’t factored in was, well, Germans.

Me: OK, so I’d like you to brainstorm some reasons that someone could end up homeless, like a drinking problem or relationship troubles…

Student 1: Some of them want to be homeless.

Me: OK, but let’s assume for the sake of this exercise that they don’t want to be homeless. Something bad happened.

Student 2: But some of them really do want to be homeless. 

Student 3: Yeah, they want freedom. 

Me: OK, but let’s assume…

Student 4: You’re right. I saw a documentary about it. 

Me: OK, but…

Student 5: And you know what I really hate? When people ask me for money. I mean, I work hard for my money. I have bills to pay. Why should I just give my money to someone on the street? 

Me: I think we’re going a bit off-…

Student 6: Oh! I hate that too! I mean, I’d give someone a sandwich but I’m not giving them money. 

Me: Sigh. Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Good job, everyone. 

He's there because he wants to be. The Germans saw a documentary.
He’s there because he wants to be. The Germans saw a documentary.

A few days later, I had a conversation class with a couple of ladies who are going to England at the end of September. For the first four days, they’re staying with an elderly English couple and they’ve hired me to make them sound normal.

Me: OK, so when you get to the house, she’ll probably put on the kettle.

Frauke: What’s a kettle? 

Me: What? Oh, it’s the thing you use when you want to boil water. 

Frauke: Not a water cooker? 

Me: (Snigger) No, it’s a kettle. So anyway, they’re English. They will put on the kettle. Tea is a national hobby.

Heike: Ugh, black tea. Probably with milk. 

Me: Probably.

Frauke: But we won’t want tea at that time of night.

Me: You’re arriving at 8pm…

Heike: We will be tired. We will want to sleep.

Me: You can’t just walk in the door and go to bed. You’ll have to talk to them for a little while. She’ll probably have made some sandwiches or bought a cake. 

Heike: But I will not be hungry. I will just want to sleep. Can I say I don’t want it? 

Me: Well, you could but it’s probably not the best start. 

Frauke: (Huge sigh) OK, then we will eat A sandwich and have a cup of black tea. Maybe I could ask if she has fruit tea. 

Me: Yeah, good luck. So, when she asks you if you want a cup of tea, what will you say?

Heike: NO.

Frauke: Oh, that would be loooooovely, thank you!

Me: Wow, yes! That’s perfect!

Frauke: Yes, in English, everything is “lovely” – lovely tea, lovely weather, lovely house, lovely, lovely, lovely…

Me: Yeah, you should probably lay off the sarcasm a bit. Are you bringing them a gift? What do they like? 

Heike: The husband likes photographs. Last time, I bought him a book of black and white photography.

Me: OK, nice! What are you going to get this time? 

Heike: A book of colour photography?

Me: Creative.

Heike: Well, what do people think of Germans? Maybe I can get something traditionally German?

Me: Honestly? Beer, sausage, Lederhosen.


Me: Yes, I know that but, you know, people are stupid. 


Me: OK, you can educate the English when you get there. Anyway, what will you say when you hand them the present? 


Me: Jesus.

Sometimes, I really do earn my money.


(If you haven’t checked out my new blog yet, head on over there and let me know what you think.) 🙂


87 thoughts on “Germans will be Germans…”

  1. This is the best conversation I’ve read/heard/had all day! And the homeless bit – ugh. I’d give them a sandwich but not money as well…until you give someone a container of cookies you were going to bring to work, and then pass the corner on your way home to see the container of cookies, unopened, on the curb.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I was furious, but who knows how long they’d been sitting there – the bum said she was hungry, so I gave her food….and I bet she peed on it >.< I left them and figured I'm not giving anything to anyone anymore.


    1. Ha ha! Yes, I really hope they continue after the trip! I’m dying to hear all about it! I’m going to do ‘at the chemist’s’ with them in the next lesson with various side effects – should be hilarious 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hahaha this is FANTASTIC! I get into arguments with the “your people eat cats” and I’m yelling “NO, THAT’S THE CHINESE! MY PEOPLE EAT DOGS!” No one can say you don’t work hard 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. LOL, I can just imagine Heike being offered a cup of tea and saying “NO!”. Not even a thank you 😀 😀

    By the way, Jan’s sister really is called Frauke (and I also used to work with another Frauke). Not as uncommon as some of the other names you’ve chosen 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bwahaha! German’s are so literal minded. That said,their mind-set has allowed them to produce some of the best engineering the world has ever seen. Thank God they didn’t get the nuclear bomb first in WW2 – they were close. I have a great post about a German boss – I’ll write it this week. Thanks for the idea Berlinda.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess the blog kind of makes it so! Today I asked a group to tell me what they thought of Germans – rude, unfriendly, impolite, impatient, sometimes intolerant… but tidy 🙂


        1. Same – and I really wouldn’t want to change that! To me, they’re just funny 🙂 And soooooooooo German! The man they’re staying with is also into model trains so I’ve been teaching them things/lies like “Oh, that’s so interesting…” 😉

          Liked by 1 person

                1. Every time I go home to Ireland, I realise how unnecessarily verbose we are. Anything to fill the silence. I miss Germany so much in those moments! The last time I was on a plane to Dublin, these two men next to me were talking:
                  Paddy 1: Do you remember when car lights were orange?
                  Paddy 2: Bejesus, I do.
                  Paddy 1: I think the first time I saw white car lights was in France…
                  Me: WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING?!

                  Liked by 3 people

    1. Yup! Trying my hand at photography – probably badly 🙂 But it’s fun and it gets me out and about which I love 🙂 Still not giving up EEOG though – never 🙂


                1. I’m not sure how that works! The two blogs are linked in my admin so I’m just following blogs but not sure how to follow as eyeonberlin and not EEOG! Technical genius me 😉


                2. Yeah, just had a look in my reader – there doesn’t seem to be a way to switch blog on my end! I just have a long list of people I follow 🙂 (That doesn’t sound creepy at all…)


                3. Haha when I think about, I’m very lucky she fell for my charm (lol) afterwards – I’m sure a lot would’ve been put off. You two are too kind!


                4. It’s true, it’s me and the knickers, that’s the package! 2016 has been a poor year for it though, I’ve become a lot manlier in this aspect of life BerLinda 😦

                  Liked by 1 person

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