Tag Archives: German poo shelf

The Eagle has Landed

I’m finally in my new place. The good news is that it only took two days, six train journeys, six bus journeys, a lot of sweat, some bumps, scrapes and bruises, far too much riding in lifts with screeching brats, and more swearing than Berlin has probably ever heard before. Still, maybe there’s something character building about knowing you can do this kind of stuff by yourself when you have to. I’ll let you know when that feeling kicks in…

Although I’m now living in what most Berliners would probably consider “the sticks”, I couldn’t be happier. This morning, instead of being woken up by blaring Turkish car radios, manic beeping, and sirens every seven minutes, I woke up to the sound of birdsong and distant church bells – something my good Irish Catholic soul finds very soothing. Ahem.

From this:

To this:

For the first time since I moved to Berlin, I have unpacked everything I own. In fact, there’s so much storage space here, I might need to buy new stuff to fill it all. The joy, the utter joy, of not having to move other people’s stuff to the side, or squeeze my things into the gaps that they left behind. I have drawers, cupboards, wardrobes and they’re mine, all mine! The place is spotless and fully equipped, even coming with a 104″ flat screen TV…

Welcome to the future.
Welcome to the future.

Of course, even when a flat comes fully furnished, there are always some bits and pieces that you need, in my case, clothes hangers and decent-sized mugs. So, after hefting the second load of stuff up the stairs and into the flat, I took a stroll to the DM (a bit like Boots) on the corner.

Where the hell were the clothes hangers? I did three laps of the shop and still couldn’t find them. Thankfully, there was a woman stacking shelves so I approached her.

Me: (in German) Excuse me, do you sell… (Shit. Due to the excitement of the day, I’d neglected to figure out what I’d say if I couldn’t find something. What on earth were clothes hangers in German? Deciding that ‘hangen’ was probably a verb, I finished with…) the things for clothes hanging? (Brilliant, I know.) 

Hadwigis: What? 

Me: You know, the things for the clothes hanging! 

Hadwigis: (looking like she wished she had an emergency security button underneath the shelf) What? 

Me: (lots of enthusiastic miming of clothes hanger shapes and hanging things up)

Hadwigis, finally twigging what I was after, or just desperate to get rid of me, pointed to the other end of the shop, said something in rapid German and went back to her shelf stacking.

I walked in the direction she’d pointed in, did another couple of laps but still failed to find anything remotely resembling clothes hangers. Embarrassed that Hadwigis would see my hangerless basket, I shiftily checked each aisle to make sure she wasn’t there and skulked to the till. Once outside, I Google Translated “clothes hangers”. “Kleiderbügel” – what a fabulous word, and one that I will not easily forget.

Kleiderbügel! Say it with me!
Kleiderbügel! Say it with me!

I wandered down the street and came to a stop outside a blast from the past – Woolworths. Pretty sure they’d have everything I needed, in I went. Naturally, the clothes hangers were again elusive, but armed with the correct word this time, I marched up to another shelf-stacker and confidently asked her where they were. My pronunciation might have been a bit Irish because she gave me a huge grin while directing me to the lower floor. I hadn’t even realised there was a lower floor but, oh my god, it was home-start heaven down there.

I finally struggled to the till with two mugs, 20 clothes hangers, a chopping board, a duvet and pillow cover set, a sheet, a dishtowel, a small bin and a scented candle. I nearly fell over when she told me the total – just over €16. As this makes Woolworths my new favourite shop, Hadwigis can breathe a sigh of relief as I’ll never have to darken her door again.

I now have everything I need, but the only thing I was slightly concerned about before moving here was the internet situation. The company I had contacted said that it would take three weeks to set up a connection. (Um, why?) But, lo and behold, thanks to a T-Mobile hotspot that I can pay for for 30 days, here I am. I’m hoping that by the time the 30 days are up, the other company will have got their act together. I mean, Jesus, I need the internet for Scrabble Facebook work. How hard can it be, Germany, huh?

So, before I go and enjoy a glass of wine in blissful solitude on my balcony, I can tell you that I’ve also made a major leap in becoming a real German…

Yes, it's my very own poo shelf
Yes, it’s my very own poo shelf

You’re free to laugh now.

Toilet humour

My hot German flatmate has a thing for British men. Or at least she did until I ruined all British men for her – forever. This was, of course, unintentional. All I did was mention my new favourite topic – the Sitzpinkel.

What you talkin' 'bout, Linda?
What you talkin’ ’bout, Linda?

For those of you not in the know, the “Sitzpinkel” literally translates as “sitpee”, or to pee sitting down, another great German compound noun.

So, what’s so special about that? Women have always sat down to pee – unless they’re Latvian. Ah, but we’re not talking about women; we’re talking about men. Yes, it’s true – proud, strong German men sit down to pee. And, for some reason, I find this massively entertaining.

Coming from a country where the men stand, pee, splash and drip with reckless abandon, I can, of course, see the advantage of the Sitzpinkel. (And Irish men don’t even have the horrors of Germanpooshelfsplashback to contend with.)

toiletsigngermanwolfgang

As I’m probably one of the most inappropriate people you’ll ever meet, I’ve been doing a little survey of my male friends and acquaintances. Here are the results:

Sit Pee-ers:

Ze Germans

Possibly the Swedes

Stand Pee-ers: 

The Irish

The Brits

The Americans

The Australians

The Latvians

The Lithuanians

The Belarussians

The Russians…

Then I ran out of friends.

I know of one British guy who married a Swede. They had a son and eventually got divorced. So now, when Sven spends time with mummy, he pees like a good Swedish boy; when he spends time with daddy, he pees like a proud Brit. Must be confusing.

My flatmates, Hildeberta and Hildegard, were absolutely horrified to learn that the two English friends I’d had in the flat had probably peed standing up. I think that I’m now banned from having non-German men over.

Our loo - where no Englishman will ever go again
Our loo – where no Englishman will ever go again

As they do the bulk of the cleaning anyway, I guess I can live with that. German women expect, nay, demand, that their men Sitzpinkel, while to me, all of this tucking in business is just a little… unmanly? In fact, when I think of the Sitzpinkel, this is the image that usually springs to mind:

Buffalo Willy
Buffalo Willy

And I do not want to think of German men in this way.

But I guess the Sitzpinkel is something I can’t change – German men tuck and I have to accept that. However, for all of you standpee-ers out there, if you ever want to be in with a chance with a German woman, you’d better be prepared to get tucked.

 

Images taken from here and here.