Tag Archives: Sitzpinkel

Do you give up or are you Hungary for more?

Eight Hungarian men have moved into my apartment block. Thankfully, the only hot one moved into the apartment opposite mine. He has a propensity for walking around half-naked which I find pleasing. We have mildly flirtatious conversations that I can barely understand as he only speaks Hungariman. They don’t seem to go to bars but, instead, enjoy knacker-drinking on the roof of the parking garage which is just below my balcony. I feel like a bit like Juliet some nights, if Juliet had had eight Hungarian Romeos, that is.

On one such occasion, they offered me some Hungarian moonshine. (If you want to know what that tastes like, go and swig some petrol.) We all ended up at a party in one of their flats and I immediately impressed with my one word of Hungarian – “egészségedre!” Where I could have picked up the word for “cheers!” in Hungarian (and around 15 other languages) is a mystery…

Anyway, on Sunday, I decided that a major blitz of my flat was necessary. I had amassed enough paper over the last year and a half to start my own recycling plant. Five sacks of paper and general rubbish (separated, of course) sat in the hall and I proceeded to lug them down to the bins one by one. On my fourth trip, I bumped into the Hungarian who acts as an interpreter for the rest of them. He looks a bit like Chris Evans, unfortunately not the hot Hollywood one.

This one. But less smiley.
(image taken from imdb.com)

He also likes wearing socks and sandals.

He kindly unlocked the front door for me and I trudged back upstairs. I was hoping he’d have finished his cigarette by the time I went back down with bag number five but no, he was still there.

András: Wow, so much rubbish. 

Me: Ja, heute ist Putztag. 

Luckily, he hadn’t seen me schlepping down with the first three bags. He opened the door for me again and then paused on the steps.

András: Em, Linda, can I ask you something? 

Me: Sure, (whatever your name is).

András: I’m looking for someone to practise my German with and I was wondering if you’d be interested.

Me: I’m not sure I’m the right person for that job. I’m pretty sure your German is better than mine. (Educating someone on the art of the Sitzpinkel does not make you an expert on the German language; it merely means that you have a rather unhealthy fascination with the peeing habits of German men and like talking about it when you’ve been drinking Hungarian moonshine.)

András: (peering at me intensely through his black-rimmed glasses) I’d like to try though. I can cook dinner for us. Monday? 

Me: Erm, no, I can’t tomorrow. I have a pub quiz. 

András: Tuesday? 

Me: Erm, erm… Maybe. I have a late lesson though so… we’ll see. Maybe. Byeeeeeee!

On Tuesday, I arrived home, put on my slippers, spooned some beans into a saucepan and started up my laptop. I hadn’t even had time to enter the password when there was a ring at the bell. Scheiße.

Me: Oh. Hi.

András: Are you coming? 

Me: Well, I’m really tired and I’ve just got in the door. (He lives directly under me so he had obviously heard me coming home.) Would you mind if we left it for another night? 

His face fell. More.

András: But I’ve already cooked. 

Me: I’m…

András: It’s 20 minutes out of your life and I’ve already prepared everything. 

Me: (Sigh.) OK, then. 

I then flopped around the flat, sighing loudly, sulkily taking off my slippers again and angrily bunging my poor beans into the fridge. I gave the bottle of wine in there a last wistful glance and walked wearily downstairs.

When I stepped into the living room, I was comforted to see that András had his laptop on and was currently browsing a website full of terrifying-looking knives.

Me: Em, what’s that? 

András: Oh, it’s a hobby of mine. I make knives. 

Me: … Cool? 

He then opened a cupboard and proceeded to show me his collection. Just in case I wasn’t convinced by the glinting blades, he then shaved a chunk of hair off his arm to demonstrate how sharp they were. Tufts of ginger hair floated lazily to the floor.

Me: (Hmm, I wonder if I should throw myself through the window or try to make an attempt for the door…) Um, wow, impressive. Oh, is that a photo of your family?

Immediate crisis averted, we sat down to eat. To be fair, he had gone to quite a bit of effort. He’d even bought wine. I tucked into the goulash while making what I felt were appropriately appreciative noises. We chatted a bit about his family in Hungary, his work here and the joys of learning German. He pulled out the book he was using. It was quite possibly the most boring book I’d ever seen.

András: I’m using this book. 

Me: (Say something positive, say something positive) Bah hahaha! That’s probably the worst book I’ve ever seen! It’s just table after table of conjugated verbs! It’s so dry! 

András: (Peering at me over his goulash) You think your books are better than my books? 

Me: (Say no, say no) Yes, for sure. They have pictures and dialogues and useful everyday German. I can lend you a couple if you like? 

András: OK.

I polished off my goulash and got ready to make good my escape.

András: I’ll get the main course.

Crap.

He set down a plate of grilled chicken and a pot of vegetables. I refilled my glass.

Me: Mmm, this is really good, thanks. 

András: You know, I don’t want to be… wait, I don’t know the word. 

He started typing the Hungarian word into the translator app on his phone. The German word appeared letter by letter:

g-e-w-a-l-t-t-ä-t-i-g

Me: (Gulp) Violent? You don’t want to be violent? 

András: No.

Me: And are you? 

András: I don’t want to be. But when you said you didn’t want to come tonight after I’d prepared everything…

At that moment, I knew exactly how Julia Roberts had felt in “Sleeping with the Enemy”. Door it was.

Me: Well, that was delicious but I really must be going now. Thank you for dinner! 

András: Next Tuesday? 

Me: Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! 

I scarpered back upstairs and gave Manfredas the abridged version over Messenger.

Manfredas: Double lock your door.

Me: Done:

Manfredas: And your balcony door.

Me: Also done. I mean, he has a wife and kids, but then, so did Fred West.

The real tragedy of the story is that I never did get around to eating the beans.

Forlorn-looking beans

 

 

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We did the Münster mash (Part Two)

We left while I could still walk under the weight of all the food and headed for the Altstadt (Old City) of Münster in search of German prettiness. I have to admit, from the area we had been in the night before, I was starting to think that the internet had lied to me about Münster being so scenic.

NEIN!
NEIN!

But, fear not. Yet again, Germany did not disappoint. For those interested in a little extra information – the rest of you can skip this paragraph – Münster is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia and is considered to be the cultural capital of the region. Münster was where the treaty of Westphalia was signed in 1648, putting an end to the Thirty Years’ War in Germany. Today, it has a population of around 300,000 and is known as the bicycle capital of Germany.

For good reason
With good reason

With Manfredas periodically sweeping me out of the cycle lanes, we wandered around while I took photos of the beautiful buildings. Considering he’s been there umpteen times, Manfredas wasn’t much of a tour guide. Instead, he read the plaques on the sides of the buildings to me which, really, I could have done myself… (Ungrateful much, Linda?) Seemingly, there’s also a Latvian high school but, tragically, we missed that…

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Anyway, after walking around for hours under an hour, we’d worked up a bit of a thirst. We found a likely-looking café and, as it was a mild day, sat outside. Germans and their love of Luft and lüften… as long as it’s not lashing rain or below freezing, you’ll find them sitting outside. I huddled up under a blanket and we ordered some wine.

Don't ask me why I'm looking in the wrong direction. That was only my first glass, I swear.
Don’t ask me why I’m looking in the wrong direction. That was only my first glass, I swear.

The great thing about being in a smaller city is that you’re really under no pressure to rush around visiting all the “MUST-SEE” sights. We had had a nice stroll and now we were more than content to relax and chat with a few glasses of vino. The perfect day. Until the sirens started.

Me: Oooh, a demonstration! 

Manfredas: Ja.

Me: What’s it about? No more refugees? 

Manfredas: No, the other side. 

So, I dashed off to take a photo of the 20-30 people in Münster who think taking in more refugees is a good idea.

Not a German flag in sight
Not a German flag in sight

With darkness starting to fall, we decided to head back to the B&B for a power nap before dinner.

Clearly, Barbara had been up to her old tricks with the lüften again and the room was like an ice-box. Still, once I thawed out, I managed to get in a bit of shut-eye and, after a quick change, we were off out for dinner. Café Garbo picked up where breakfast had left off and served me my own body weight in Frikadellen (German meatballs) and fried potatoes. This time, I was too in shock at the size of the portion to take a photo… or I just ate it. You decide.

Manfredas rolled me into a taxi, and we drove to Kittys Trinksalon to meet up with a couple of his friends from the night before. Outside Kittys, I spied what is possibly the best invention I have ever seen…

20160123_235724

You dirty-minded bunch of…

This is what it actually was.

20160123_235747
Still pretty cool, right?

They even have their own website –

tail.de
tail.de

Having laughed myself sober, we headed for Münster’s Rock Factory where, I was told, no tourists ever go.

You lookin' at me?
You lookin’ at me?

We were stamped on our way in and didn’t make it out until around 4am. Well, I had to keep the Berlin side up, after all. The next morning, I woke up with a very fetching imprint of the stamp on the outside of my thigh which will give you a brief insight into how I sleep – if you ever wanted it.

We had booked breakfast for that morning so we went downstairs to see the ever-cheerful Barbara.

This is not Barbara
Not Barbara

Scrambled eggs, fruit in Greek yogurt, more bread than you could shake a stick at, juice, and as much tea and coffee as you could drink. I would definitely stay at Barbara’s again.

Barbara: Say “Würstchen”. (Würstchen = little sausage)

Me: Würstchen.

Barbara: (peals of laughter) I love getting foreigners to say that word!! 

Me: WüüüürstCHEN!

Barbara: (hysterics) 

Manfredas was clearly about to crack a smile but then realised that he would have to spend five hours in a car with a potentially annoyed Irish woman so he held it in. Germans are very sensible people.

Once Barbara had picked herself up off the floor, we hugged goodbye and Manfredas and I hit the road again. Luckily for him, I was exhausted after the night before so I slept for most of the first couple of hours. We stopped off at the Marienborn Memorial, the largest border crossing during the division of Germany. A bleaker, grimmer place would be hard to find.

Luckily, there was a truck-stop restaurant and shop nearby so we popped in for a Sitzpinkel and some food. It seems that where Germany depresses you one minute, it instantly tries to cheer you up in the next…

Mission accomplished
Mission accomplished

Little did I realise that the best was yet to come…

 

 

 

Sleeping with the Germans

Contrary to popular belief, Germany (unfortunately) isn’t all about the Nippel-twisting and Arsch-licking, so when I say sleeping, I actually mean, sleeping. Sorry to disappoint but it’s not my fault your mind went where it did on reading the headline. (Dirty bugger.)

As with most things, sleeping in Germany is a serious business. Don’t be surprised if, when you go back to your new lover’s place and are passionately shedding your smalls as you smooch your way towards the bedroom, you are faced with a bit of a surprise when you get there. You see, practicality trumps romance in a German bedroom. Sure, he’s got a double bed, but you won’t be snuggling up under a double duvet after the main event.

NEIN, this could lead to all sorts of chaotic behaviour. One of you might get more of the duvet than the other, or God forbid, take the opportunity to dice with the dreaded “Dutch oven”. Perhaps if it had been called a “Deutsch oven” things might have been different, but as it stands, you’ll be keeping your Wurst farts to yourself. On a German double bed, there are two single duvets, which, when you think about it, actually makes perfect sense.

Relationship saver
Relationship saver

Germans are also rather early risers so don’t be surprised if, even after the most strenuous exertions, your German is wide awake at ungodly o’clock and slipping his manly German feet into his Hausschuhe. The good news is that he’ll probably make you a nice cup of tea or force-feed you magnesium (to replace lost vitamins) after he’s had his morning Sitzpinkel.

My current Hausschuhe
My current Hausschuhe

All in all, I’m a fan of the Germans’ nocturnal ways; you never have to wake up shivering in the middle of the night, you needn’t worry if he develops a taste for Heinz beans, and you usually get a productive, early start to the day. If I had to gripe about one thing however – and I do – it’s German pillows. Yes, the country that brought us the car, the computer, the jet engine, the pill, X-ray technology, beer and, rather ingeniously, aspirin to ward off the effects of said beer, has failed abysmally at creating comfortable pillows.

I’ve slept in a lot of beds since I moved to Berlin (I’ve changed apartment a lot, OK? Don’t you judge me…) and I can safely say, I’ve yet to find a decent pillow. Pillows in Germany are not your standard rectangular haven of loveliness. No, not content with this, the Germans have created massive square monstrosities that have the approximate consistency of a marshmallow. It doesn’t matter how much you fluff them, pile them, or beat them, as soon as you lay your head on a German pillow, the stuffing retreats to all four far-flung corners and your head is left languishing pathetically on the mattress.

WHY?!
WHY?!

Still, I like to think that this isn’t an oversight on the Germans’ part, but rather, another clever (if tricky) invention. After all, where would the country be if everyone was still drooling into their non-neckbreaking pillows at 8am? Down the Scheißer, that’s where…

Job hunting in Germany

Little by little, I can feel myself becoming more German. This manifests itself in many different ways, but a few that spring to mind are:

1. I now rinse out empty jars. Some day, I might even bring them out to the correct bin.

Badly rinsed jar
Badly rinsed jar

2. I have been known to walk 2 to 3 kilometres out of my way to find an ATM machine in order to avoid paying the ridiculous charges other banks inflict upon the unsuspecting.

3. I say “kilometres” instead of “miles”.

4. I speak German more and more often.

5. I’ve had street beer, park beer and train beer. And I don’t even feel guilty about it any more.

6. I can open a beer bottle with a lighter in under 3 seconds. It took an English friend of mine two years to crack it; I did it on my first attempt. In Germany, bottle openers are for Sitzpinklers.

Anyway, the long and short of it is, I love Germany. I love Berlin. I love the people and the way of life and I want to stay here for a very long time – possibly forever. However, in order to do that, I need to find a job.

With teaching hours as scarce as Germans not wearing Jack Wolfskin, I’m currently job hunting. If I’m honest, I’d been getting tired of teaching English anyway. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy it, and I’ve met some lovely people, but the work itself isn’t that challenging any more. It’s a handy “in” to a country where you don’t speak the language, but I never imagined myself doing it forever. The lack of work right now is just the kick up the arse I needed to start looking for something else. And, by god, am I looking.

Every day, I trawl recruitment websites, looking for marketing, advertising, and especially, writing-related jobs. And there are quite a few out there. As Berlin is start-up city, a lot of them don’t even require German, as the working language is English. Of course, as an Irish person, I’m trailing behind most Europeans on the language front. Some ads say things like “Fluent English is a must. German would be an advantage. Knowledge of Spanish, French, Dutch, Japanese and Swahili also a bonus”. Umm. (Hangs head in shame and has a little cry.)

In addition, for every ten jobs, I’d say nine of them are tech-related. Technical writers, app developers, gaming enthusiasts, SEO, SAP, LINUX, SEM… half the time I can hardly understand the ads even though they’re written in English. I’m thinking of changing my name to “Linda O’Gradysaurus”.

I did, however, apply for one of these jobs – not because I thought I had a chance of getting it, but because they offered “outrageous randy benefits” and I wanted to see what those would entail. They rejected me – possibly because I pointed out in my email that “outrageous randy benefits” made them sound all kinds of dodgy.

Maybe something like this?
Maybe something like this?

If I had my time here over again, I would have started looking for something much sooner. The recruitment process takes an insanely long time. Most companies use sites like “Jobvite”, where you can track the progress of your application. Oddly, sitting there looking at it and clicking “refresh” doesn’t make things move any faster. Still, at least German companies are polite enough to actually contact you to let you know you’ve been rejected. This, unsurprisingly, has happened a number of times.

Still, it seems like my luck might finally be changing. Last week, I had a Skype interview and, on Monday, I’ve got an interview with another company. I would be ecstatic if I got to work for either of these companies so please, cross your fingers for me. (Or press your thumbs – it’s a German thing.)

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.